A Less Wasteful Christmas
December 9, 2020
This blog has always been about helping us live a more sustainable life. I had a particularly creative day yesterday making four mini-figurines partially from gathered ocean plastic waste. I had made them during one of our middle management meetings, along with a tofu container turned soap dish, an iPhone cradle (actually two), and a robot with a plastic brain. I was really pleased with myself and sent pictures of my mini-figurines to everyone and posted in everywhere on Facebook. I got some reactions from folks, and hopefully raised some awareness about plastic waste. I was creative at breakfast and sauteed some bell peppers and placed it in a warmed pita bread with a bit of real mozarella cheese for our teen son. I used to give him so many Eggos, and it is satisfying to give him something wholesome, vegetable-filled and non-processed after all these years.
Life is more creative now. Except last night. I have two special people in my life, my niece and nephew, who are the only ones I particularly make sure to get something for Christmas. It’s really important to me. Everyone else in the world really does not need more things and I don’t expect things in return, so I’ll dispense with the frivolous buying. But I was trying to buy gifts for my nephew and niece on-line, and it was frustrating seeing the infinite options of most things I did not need on amazon, target, walmart and even the official lego shop. I hardly shop these days, and scrolling through page after page of things for cooking, things with a certain Theme, things for a certain age that amazon tells me I need – I could feel the creativity being sucked out of my soul. I had not online shopped in months, and it literally spiritually hurt me. Especially after spending the day living an unconventional life reimagining beach trash into something useful, and then being presented with pre-packaged things – I just shut the computer off after a useless 90 minutes and did not buy anything.
I instead brushed my teeth and drank some water, and I turned on a Yoga by Adrienne YouTube Video. I did a 20 minute video as it was pitch dark except for my iPhone, and I felt so much better. I slept deeply last night as I listened to some ocean waves. And this morning, I’m in a much better mindset to have a less wasteful Christmas. And here I am spending my money and trying to be mindful of the earth.
- Ordered Christmas Cards on Unfinished Paper via Canva Regular Shipping: This is the first year we are doing Christmas cards. We have never really been into it, as I had this irrational desire to be different than the rest of the world and it seemed so wasteful to spend money on postage. But now that I am doing more environmental work, I realize it is very important to be connected to my community (friends and family) if I want to save the earth. Plus, in the whole scheme of things 50 photo cards is not going to destroy the world. Plus our tween daughter wants a set this year, as she is more aware that her friends’ families send Christmas cards and wants to give them out as well. I had done an easy one on Canva and paid $1 for the PDF, but then looked at Costco.com and other options to have them printed. But Costco requires a separate login, and then I’d have to do another card design. I had done the design already with my daughter this morning. I was going to order them last night, but in my brain daze after seeing all those ads on amazon – I just couldn’t take it anymore. So I logged off. This morning I decided just to order it from canva directly which was a bit more expensive. But I’ve used their services essentially for free for an entire year now for work and home use. So it seemed like the right thing to do. Plus logging onto costco.com, would just prompt me to buy more things I don’t need. Christmas Cards on Recycleable Paper: $38 for set of 50 with envelopes.
- Nephew’s Christmas Gift: He is very into Legos right now. His family tends to keep their Lego sets intact and values them. I now know they can be reused as we’ve donated them back. Back in March 2020, we said good-bye to 2/3 of our son’s Legos. They are going to get reused at least one-more cycle through www.givebackbox.com https://givebackbox.com/lego/. I know because I keep track of most things on this blog! So useful. So I got our nephew the Lego set I really wanted to get him, that will hoefully inspire his STEM and creative side. I tried not to use amazon, but it was not available on the legostore and it is a specialized set not available at target or walmart. So amazon got our money. Jeff Bezos did donate recently $10 billion to the environment, so I fell less guilty. New Lego Set: $99.
- Niece’s Christmas Gift: I also tried to order something on amazon, a specialized hoodie but it won’t arrive until after the New Year. Since these gifts are meant for Christmas, that is kind of useless. So I ordered a smaller gift that is meaningful that I’m pretty sure she will wear. Her mother can make most things but it not a metal-worker! She is older now, so I think I’m going to instead contribute to her slush fund for a big experience that she wants and make a special effort to make her something. Our tween daughter is working on it now, and I can include the family present in it with the special note and send her mom (my sister) the money for the slush fund. Smaller gift $10, slush fund for tween experience undisclosed (it’s not unreasonable folks! just adding an air of mystery to the blog by not disclosing the amount).
- Stashers. I had already ordered Stashers, the silicone replacement for ziplock bags for my other family. I ordered like five sets! I went a bit overboard! But I know these are 100% part of the circular economy. They haven’t arrived yet but should be hear soon! I’m really excited. I spent that money a few weeks ago so not listing it again.
- Chrismas Decorations: We are reusing decorations from past years. I have often mentioned the thrice-inherited artifical tree that still works great that we’ve had for over a decade. It’s our tree now and we are attached to it, so we’ll use it forever. Because plastic is forever. Same thing with an artificial wreath we bought over 5 years ago. It’s a fancy artificial plastic one we bought at Costco before we avoided plastic. And lights we have from years ago, and they are all LED and powered by our solar panels anyway. Costs, $0.
And that is all we will spend for Christmas. $147 for recyclable christmas cards and Legos that hopefully will be kept forever. Also a small gift that our niece can wear. We will give some cash but then it’s up to the receiver to decide how she will spend it. It sounds like it will go to an experience which is what we would love. This post is a reminder to me that we need less THINGS. It’s not that I’m being cheap. We’ve paid for very expensive experiences for my niece and nephew and my children, and those built memories. I just don’t think we all need many more things. When we see them next, we’ll splurge on a beautiful crab shack dinner. I still remember that wonderful dinner we paid for over a year ago. It was SOOOO good. My kids still remember the hush puppies from that dinner. My brother-in-law can eat a lot of crab and that dinner was not cheap, but so worth it for the memories.