5 Creative Tips to Rejuvenate the 2011 Holiday Season

At age 10, no feeling in the world could compare to the juvenile exultation of Christmas morning. I still remember the overwhelming excitement that snapped my sleepy eyes open. Thirteen years later, I may not have the same urge to tear open every shiny box in sight, but the holiday season still brings back fond memories. However, I find that nostalgia can cloud judgment and contribute to a lot of unnecessary holiday waste. Here are 5 holiday tips that can lessen the impact of the holidays on your wallet and on the environment:

Give more creative presents to your loved ones - they will appreciate it. (photo credit: chatirygirl/Flickr)
  1. Use what you have. If your closet is like mine, you have boxes of old mementos and treasures that can be transformed into something beautiful. A personalized gift says so much more than “I picked this up from the store”. Convert old T-shirts into a soft rug, make coasters out of notes and photos, or create a Dali melting record clock. Don’t forget sentimental gifts that require only a little creativity – retouch Grandpa’s childhood photographs, organize Mom’s recipes, or edit that dusty “Disneyland 1998 family vacation” video.
  2. Gift experiences. Work and school can prevent families from spending much needed quality time together, so the holidays offer the perfect time to catch up. Families can find escapes and adventures on deal websites like Livingsocial and Groupon which can save them money to spend on more important things. Time is the most valuable gift you can offer, and the added savings are a welcomed bonus.
  3. Find alternative wrapping paper. Your works of art have been created, and now it’s time to wrap the gifts. Finish those half-rolls of wrapping paper hiding in the back of your closet and resist the urge to buy more. Use recyclable bags and spruce them up with some festive cheer (you can also use Silk Furoshiki Gift Wrap, but remember, the point is to use what you have – the less you bring into your home, the less you ultimately have to recycle or throw away!). BONUS: Add some colorful flair to your packages by replacing your unrecyclable packing peanuts with shredded strands of discarded wrapping paper.
  4. Photo Credit: sdminor81/Flickr
    Know where your Christmas tree comes from. Real Christmas trees have a distinctive smell, but they can be shipped from far away farms and your tree leaves a high carbon footprint before it arrives at your door. On the other hand, fake Christmas trees can be reused, but they are not recyclable and require high amounts of petroleum for their production. Thankfully, there are alternatives – you could find a nursery and chop down a tree or you can build your own Christmas tree.
  5. Donate to your favorite nonprofit. This is the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. The National Wildlife Federation’s new Choose Your Cause campaign allows our donors to choose the cause where they want their donation to be used. In addition, NWF is a member of Earth Share, a nationwide federation of the nation’s most respected environmental and conservation charities. Donate NowWe’ll put your donation straight to work where it’s needed most in our conservation programs across the country.

‘Tis the Season from the National Wildlife Federation:

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Published: December 9, 2011