Jane Mulberry wrote:Nice, Lisa! My hubby is also one who carefully peels off the tape to reuse the paper - though he's never resorted to the razor blade idea, he'd be sure to think it a very sensible plan!
I'm wondering about the colored inks in commercial wrapping paper - is that likely to be an issue? I'm thinking next year, I'll use plain brown paper for wrapping, maybe with a few natural ink stampings. Then we could recycle it as guinea pig bedding.
Fungal composting may cope with nasty stuff better than worms or bacteria, so keeping more questionable ingredients in a separate bin that can then be finished under mulch around trees is an approach I use. My big concern about cards is that "sparkly" stuff is probably micro plastics and I have *no* good solution for that problem right now. I know there are a few bugs out there that eat plastic, but I wish people would use the KISS principle and go for plain!
Jane Mulberry wrote:Long composting can probably deal with most things.
Jay Angler wrote:1.Fungal composting may cope with nasty stuff better than worms or bacteria, so keeping more questionable ingredients in a separate bin that can then be finished under mulch around trees is an approach I use. My big concern about cards is that "sparkly" stuff is probably micro plastics and I have *no* good solution for that problem right now. I know there are a few bugs out there that eat plastic, but I wish people would use the KISS principle and go for plain!
Jane Mulberry wrote:Long composting can probably deal with most things.
2. "What Christmas Paper?" We use cloth sacks, most of which are at least 20 years old - reused, reused, reused...
3. "Cards as gift tags" - we save our gift tags to re-use each year also. Within family and friends, we collect and distribute to the giver for re-use. Yes, we do occasionally get funny looks, but I figure it's "Permaculture 1.0" and at least for one friend, it led to her actually starting a small veggie garden. That's still a drop in the bucket, but the same friend actually made Oregon Grape Jelly this year, so we're at drop two! (Actually, I think she's at drop three now - her husband made her a new raised bed and she put punky wood at the bottom to hold moisture - I'm infecting her brain!)
4. Of course, principle one is to "reduce" - does your great Aunt *really* need a new plastic sweater for Christmas? I know we joke about socks for Christmas, but at least they wear out faster than sweaters do. Hubby raises meat chickens and we've encouraged some of our customers to give a frozen, locally raised chicken as a gift, or a dozen of our eggs. It's a matter of changing mind-sets. Mind you, a few home-baked cookies to go with wouldn't hurt.
Jane Mulberry wrote:We don't do the sparkly stuff! Yeah, I'm also thinking glitter is microplastics. Sadly, it's hard to control what others give us. One reuse option for the sparklies is that preschools, seniors day centers, and churches doing Messy Church may be able to use them to make new cards and keep those sparkles out of the landfiill an extra year.
Cloth reusable sacks are a fab idea!
Andrea Locke wrote:I decided back in 1984, my first Xmas in my own place, to establish less wasteful Xmas traditions. At the time I was absolutely hard-line that all Xmas decorations had to be homemade and the tree had to be either a living potted tree to be planted in spring or an artificial tree I made myself. This was based on a very sad aluminum-foil tree I bought at an estate auction for 25 cents in 1984, stripped the peeling shiny aluminum fringe off, and replaced with fringed green felt I made from strips of felt bought at a fabric mill-end store. I painted the shiny silver trunk brown. Six foot tree for under $5. I still have that tree and the upper half of it gets set up some years, but in 2004 we started using a different tree as our main tree. My daughter had major back surgery that year and we spent 3 weeks in a children's hospital just before Xmas and bought her a ticket to a hospital fundraiser raffle which she won. The prize was a big stack of Xmas decorating stuff including an artificial tree. So since then every year we have used her tree and I had to relax my rule about all the decorations being homemade. It is now a mix of homemade and the stuff she won in 2004.
Most of our gifts go into cloth bags that I sewed out of recycled clothing pieces or cheap mill-ends in 1984 and have used every birthday and Xmas since then. These all live in a big cardboard box and are sorted by size from tiny drawstring bags to pillowcase size. Anything bigger than that gets wrapped in a sheet or towel.
Outside the family, special people I know will reuse them are sometimes given gifts wrapped in cloth bags, otherwise they get reused paper gift bags that I save from gifts that we have been given...I honestly can't remember when any of us were given a gift in single-use paper.
Any fancy paper gift bags coming in are saved and reused - I have bags that have been in use since the early 1990s. Same for ribbon. We don't generally bother with tissue paper unless there's some in decent shape saved from an incoming gift.
I made permanent gift cards out of old Xmas cards years ago and these reside in big envelopes sorted by the giver/receiver names so they are easy to find/use. They are on loops of yarn with safety pins so no tape required.
We don't receive many paper cards - mostly email. Incoming cards are usually able to be reused to supplement the gift tag collection - for example to make blank tags for gifts to non family members who don't have a permanent tag.
On Xmas morning, everyone passes their gift bag and tag to me as they open their gift, I disassemble the tags and ribbon from the bag and it all goes back into the gift wrapping box for reuse. We have remarkably little garbage from Xmas, just whatever packaging a purchased item may have come with. And since a lot of gifts here are handmade even that is kept to a minimum.
What did I get for Xmas this year? Why thank you, I'm so glad you asked :)
- a fancy European steam juicer (an awesome score, brand new in box, but bought for half the price of a new one from someone who advertised it on the local internet ads and obviously couldn't find a use for it - we will use it lots! And have already steamed a rooster and red cabbage, yum - I know that's not juice, but a nice bonus use!)
- a natural goat care book by a member of permies
- the farmers almanac
- a calendar - goats in trees
- a coupon for help in the garden
- a coupon for welding lessons
- a homemade birdhouse
- homemade 'yart' = yard art, made from all repurposed stuff we had on site
Does giving a garbage can of fresh duck shit to my neighbor for Christmas qualify? He's retired and he and his wife have had major health issues. He looked very happy with it!
Andrea Locke wrote:There are a lot of folks on this forum and elsewhere who celebrate a no-impact or positive-impact holiday. I'm especially thinking of those who take the opportunity to give back to society and/or the planet by cooking or serving dinners for people in need, donating to charities that provide livestock to people in the third world or support conservation/reforestation etc., or otherwise helping out.
Jay Angler wrote: Does giving a garbage can of fresh duck shit to my neighbor for Christmas qualify? He's retired and he and his wife have had major health issues. He looked very happy with it!
Lisa Brunette wrote: I'd love to see some images of these if you'd like to share, especially if you made them yourself!
Hester Winterbourne wrote:I sometimes make bunting from wrapping paper and garden twine. I was thinking this year it would make a small gift to post to friends. Like others on here I also make gift tags from the greetings cards. I seem to be building up a stash - it would be nice to bundle them up and sell them for charity.
Andrea Locke wrote:Hester, I like that bunting!
Here are a photos of a few of our clth bags and labels that get used every year, in some cases since the mid 1980s. I made most of the bags and a few came with gifts from friends. Our older tags are repurposed cards but the more recent ones are cut from stiff scrapbooking paper.
You may notice the fabric is a mix of Xmas-themed and non-themed. This was an intentional decision so we have some less obviously Christmas-y bags that are appropriate to use for birthdays too. On the other hand no one in our house has ever turned down a birthday present just because it came in the wrong kind of bag!