Monday, December 22, 2008

#35 Craig's list is your Holiday friend

Yes, I've already posted about shopping yard sales and thrift stores. This is similar, but I am giving this it's own post because of the relation to Christmas shopping! There is something about gift giving that makes us all want to run out and buy all new, nice things in all those nice new boxes and plastic packaging. Perhaps that's because there is a stigma associated with giving a used gift that says "cheap" (in a bad way.) I admit, a lot of the gifts I sent off to family were new, but for my own kids-- Ammon is getting an art desk (bought on Craig's list), Talia is getting a home-made wooden chest for dress up clothes (purchased at thrift stores), and Jarom is getting a wooden rocking horse (Craig's list).

Next year I am going to strongly suggest that we make it a rule in my own family's sibling exchange that we buy something used. It really is fun to see what you can come up with for a great price!

Pros:  Cheaper, and a great way to reuse things.  Less waste and less new packaging.

Cons:  Sometimes harder to find what you want.  Sometimes I have to travel farther to get the item I want.

Friday, December 12, 2008

#34 Alternative to paper wrapping

How much paper do you waste to make packages look pretty for Christmas?

This year I am beginning a gradual change over to cloth bags to wrap things in. And it will be quite a gradual change because I have scads of leftover wrapping paper from the last few years. But no new paper for me. I bought some cheap Christmas fabric (and plan to get more after Christmas when it's on clearance) and am sewing some simple bags to wrap in. I made one with a drawstring (shown above) but decided it's easier just to make the bag and tie it with ribbon or string. These should last indefinitely. I even made some for some of the gifts I mailed out to family members, hoping they will keep them and use them next year.... and the next year.... and the next year...

Other alternatives to traditional wrapping paper: comics from the newpaper, brown grocery bags, Christmas pillowcases (double use-- I like that.)

Pros: Less paper produced and wasted. I'm not a good wrapper, and it is SO much easier just to stick the gift in the bag without having to package it so it can be wrapped in paper. The bags are going to be useful in wrapping up my fragile decorations when it's time to put them away. They can be made in any size you want, and it takes me the same amount of time to make one as it does to wrap a present nicely.

Cons: Initial cost is higher than paper. It can be easier to tell what the gift is by feeling the bag. My kids might notice that Santa doesn't bring gifts wrapped differently (I had this problem with paper anyway-- I just told them that I helped Santa to wrap his gifts.) It also doesn't quite have the same effect as ripping off the paper when you are opening the gift.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A new name!

It was a tough decision, and I was hoping to get a little more feedback, but I've chosen
Green at Home Mom (obviously). I've notified the winner. The suggestion was actually "I'm a GAHM," but I just chose to write it out. Thanks for all the clever suggestions!
Life has been crazy with trying to get ready for Christmas and trying to finish our kitchen-- I will get back to posting soon, hopefully.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

#33 Green your Holiday packages

My next few posts will be about how to make your Christmas a little more green and a little less in the red.

I was just thinking of this as I packed up the prizes for the contest (one is addressed, one is not-- I'm still thinking on the name contest.) At Christmas time I end up sending out about 10 packages, with my family and my husbands 2 families being spread across the country, and each having their own means of gift exchanging. So during the year I save padded envelopes, and in the fall I start saving boxes and packing materials, for shipping. If the end of the envelope is torn, you can cut that part off and tape the end shut. Boxes can be expensive (and wasteful) if you have to buy them. My husband is pretty good at taking the boxes we have and cutting them down to exactly the right sizes. If you don't have any boxes to save, get them from a local retailer. If you don't have packaging material for the inside of the box, use newspaper.

Pros: You don't have to buy packaging. Less paper and plastic waste. The materials can be recycled just as easily after they've been used several times.
Cons: The USPS is picky about labels and writing on packages, so make sure it's all scribbled out or covered up

Monday, December 1, 2008

A New Winner, and Help, please!

Well, the winner of the random drawing did not contact me, so I have picked a new winner! The winner is circustimes! I will contact this person via email.

Okay, so I've managed to narrow down the list of suggestions to a few of them:

More green for less green
Living Green. Loving Green. Saving Green.
Mean Green Mommy Machine
Green Frugality
Adventures in Growing Green
Efficient Earthlover
Green at Home Mom

It's much harder than I thought to decide on one. Please, if you have any input, help me out.