Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas....

Okay, so I should start by saying that I LOVE Christmas shopping. There's something about the feeling I get from wandering through shops with the specific purpose of finding something that will make someone I care about smile that just makes me unbearably happy.

That said, there are certain things about the holidays that I always find challenging, from an eco-friendliness standpoint. As much as I love gifts and cards (I make my own holiday cards every year as well, which is always one of the highlights of my holiday) and the general spirit of the holiday, the sheer wastefulness of the holiday season invariably depresses me. From gift wrap and bags to the insanity of Christmas decorations and lights that stay on for weeks at a time, the holiday season is often a time when we waste SO much more than is necessary.

Mind you, there are certain holiday traditions that I have never engaged in with any regularity; I have only had one Christmas tree in my adult life, and I tend not to do holiday-themed decorations in general (although I will occasionally get a couple of cute wall hangings or statues that will last a long time and display those during the holidays), and I've never done Christmas lights. I never really had a place where it was appropriate, for one thing, and I've just never been into Christmas lights, for another.

But I love wrapping gifts, and I love making my own cards. And try as I could this year, it was almost impossible to find eco-friendly gift wrap or card-making supplise that were actually attractive in any of the stores I went to. I have noticed that there's a decent amount of eco-friendly stuff online (a quick Google Search for "eco-friendly gift wrap" pulls up quite a few decent options), but a large part of Christmas for me is the flow of things; I tend not to plan very far ahead, but I like to get things taken care of early, and I prefer to do my holiday shopping in stores rather than online. There's something in the process of wandering through a store and finding a bunch of great stuff that will be perfect for the people in my life that makes me happy on so many levels.

So, ultimately, what all this means is that I have a bit of advance planning to do for next year. While the actual gift-buying process can remain the same, certain things (like the stock I use for my holiday cards/envelopes, for example, and the paper I use to wrap my gifts) can be gotten in, say, August or September — or even January, when it all goes on sale — and stored until I'm ready to use them. It also means that I've found an interesting problem that other folks are likely finding as well; eco-friendly, beautiful card and gift-giving options that don't fall into the same paper-with-flowers-in-it rut so often associated with eco-friendly gifts. Something to chew on for 2007, I think.

And I'm still not going to hang Christmas lights.

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