Tis the season of green: pine trees, Christmas decorations, pine scented candles and spending green (lots and lots of green).  Unfortunately, in all the hyper-consumerism the only green that doesn’t wilt, melt, or rapidly get siphoned off from your bank account is the eco kind of green which can be usurped by all of the holiday advertising and demands that Christmas must cost you at least your first born child and possibly a kidney to fund the spirit. According to Stanford’s website FAQ’s: Holiday Waste Prevention:

“American’s throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tones per week!

If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.”

Scrooge aside, I LOVE Christmas. I love giving and getting presents, baking cookies, buying Christmas decorations and decorating my tree. So perhaps to maintain the blurry line that constitutes my Christmas budget or contribute some holiday cheer to the lone pine tree in my backyard- combined with some DIY ideas and some inspiration from Pinterest and Martha for cheap elegance bottled and bowed with finesse, I’ll manage some “do-gooding” along the way.

Idea #1. Skip the pretty bags that will be thrown away and eat up a small portion of your holiday fundage, the amount of paper that is used to wrap and the resources used to manufacture and deliver the Christmas time wrap are nothing short of staggering.  Instead try opting for a reusable tote or a reinforced storage box decorated with some material that can be used after the holiday.  If you’re gifting wine try wrapping in a sock (preferably new) and stuffing the matching sock at the bottom, again check out the web for DIY ideas- but it’s cute and the recipient will appreciate the gesture of toasty toes while sipping their beverage.

Idea #2.  Canning- I was debating on making some homemade pickles or jam and including in some sort of overall gift basket.  I like the idea of not purchasing something made by someone else and putting a little TLC of my own into the gift, store bought does not mean better.

Idea #3. This may not apply to all but I happen to have little sisters who “like totally” love to accessorize. Sans the Claire’s and Charming Charlie’s, I thought to potentially pick up some cute handmade ornaments from Etsy or a local retailer and make some homemade headbands. They’ll love that no one else will have one and I’ll feel accomplished if I can manage to master this small craft. The main idea is trying to support local business.

Even if I only pull off a few of these ideas I’ll have managed to remove my name from the naughty list to nice and embrace the holiday spirit, the best gifts are free.  Cheers and happy tidings!