‘Tis the season for spending too much money on too many things that you and your loved ones don’t really need. Oh, how I’m longing for the holidays to end. Every year I resolve to make things easier the following year. And every year, I still send over 200 Christmas cards, bake at least six dozen cookies, and make plans to see as many family members and friends as I can during a two-week window.
I recently had a blog post published on Literary Mama, one of my favorite mommy webzines, and it’s about making room for moments of being, something we can all use this time of the year. I am going to take my advice over the next few days and chill out with my family–play board games, ski, watch movies. If things don’t get done, so be it. Happy holidays to all, and to all a restful time!
I have struggled with how to handle street corner panhandlers for years. I think a lot of people struggle with the same thing. You see someone clearly in need. You want to do something. Your heart hurts for that person. Yet you don’t know what the right answer is, so you do nothing.
The holidays are here, the year is drawing to a close, and it’s a time for gratitude and reflection. I have had a lot to reflect on lately. One of those things is this: by ignoring those in need right in front of my face I am justifying and teaching my kids charity with conditions. One of my resolutions for the new year is to break that cycle.
One of my uber creative friends is always coming up with amazing ways to upcycle. She’s way into mid-century design and has outfitted her gorgeous home – that was just on the cover of Modern in Denver– with mostly vintage pieces rather than modern reproductions. And she helps clients retrofit their homes too. Her latest upcycling projectis philanthropic to boot. She takes vintage furs, upcycles them into really cool hats, and donates a large portion of the profits to Clothes to Kids of Denver.
Spending time with her makes a girl think about how to keep materials out of recycling and landfills. In her honor, I’m sharing a few simple things you can do during the holidays to cut back on waste. I’ve also included an upcycling craft that I love: vintage Christmas tree ornament wreaths.
Reuse your wrapping paper and ribbons. I love wrapping presents and making large, beautiful bows. After we’ve finished opening them, I scoop up the ribbons from the Christmas morning carnage and tuck them into one of my holiday storage bins to reuse next year. I also save gift bags. If they’re too crumpled to regift, I keep them to use anytime I need to return an item to a friend or carry baked goods to school.
Keep holiday cards and make gift tags out of them. In spite of the trend to send a family photo card, I still get some old-fashioned, store-bought cards that I’m going to keep and make into gift tags next year.
Be creative and use your garbage to store ornaments. After you bake your last batch of holiday cookies, instead of tossing the egg carton in the recycling bin, use it to store ornaments. And you can use that leftover wrapping paper and gift box you saved to do the same thing. Your ornaments will be just as happy cradled in torn wrapping paper as they would be in new tissue paper.
Use your Christmas tree for a neighborhood bonfire. Our neighborhood has a tradition of carrying our holiday trees down to the little lake where we congregate all summer and ice skate during the winter. We use the trees for a bonfire on family skate night. Leftover trees are weighted and placed in the lake for fish habitat.
Last but not least, use vintage ornaments to make a holiday wreath. What you need: metal wreath form, tinsel garland, vintage ornaments (I get them on Etsy), ribbon for hanging the wreath, and a hot glue gun. Invite the girls over and make it a craft night. These wreaths sell for a small fortune online. With very little effort, you can make your own for a fraction of the price.