A friend got me thinking. She and her husband have just begun to build wooden children’s toys in their garage basement. They use local wood, and sell to people in our town. The toys are cute – animals on wheels attached to a string, reminiscent of something my grandmother might have played with growing up. And in our current consumer culture, the constant commercialism of Christmas, it is refreshing to think back to a simpler time.
If you are going to try to cut back on stupid plastic crap, Christmas seems like a prime opportunity. One way to spread the Christmas cheer is to pass along your child’s outgrown Thomas the Trains and lego sets to a friend’s younger children. There seems to be no point in buying more plastic when kids outgrow toys faster than their belief in Santa Claus.
As far as gifts go, I found websites advertising items made from recycled materials, like on thedailygreen.com, but I like Beth Terry’s idea on fakeplasticfish – Give time or services. Gift certificates for indulgent meals or spa services are a great way to cut back on gifting unnecessary items. And they are guaranteed, practically, to be enjoyed.
Also, who needs to buy more plastic Christmas decorations when it’s a prime time to use traditional items from nature – evergreen branches, pinecones, dried berries? And don’t forget the ever-popular popcorn and cranberry strings.
This Christmas presents a new opportunity to celebrate what’s really valuable to all of us – the companionship of people we love and the astounding beauty of nature. It’s a tremendous gift to have a hand in preserving this incredible planet.