This is Day 314 of the Green in 365 series!
By Renee from Joyful Mom, Contributing Writer
Here I am: 6 weeks away from Christmas, and I don’t quite have a plan! How does this happen every year?
Last year I downloaded a “six weeks to the perfect Christmas planner” and did not use it. I looked at it – each and every day. For me, all that planning and boxes to check off, that system to enjoy the holidays… did not create joy.
So here I am. No plan.
The best part of not having a plan is that I won’t get Thanksgiving and Christmas “wrong”. I can move forward creating an intentional season.
This is what I have so far:
Holiday Cards are almost ready.
I remembered to take the picture during vacation last year! I used Shutterfly last year and used the option of writing a little blurb about our year on the back of the picture.
The idea of writing out a Christmas letter is just too much (my husband as my editor does not make either of us happy). This eliminates extra paper of a Christmas letter! I also send way fewer cards – instead I use social media and email to send a picture/note. Feeling very green with these choices!
We have toned down the gift giving!
The kids get 3 gifts – it represents the 3 gifts the wise men brought to Jesus. Only 3 gifts? Well, I have 4 kids, so 3 gifts is really 12. Then Santa brings a small gift IF you write a letter!
Then add into the mix the “secret Santa” gifts they get for each other. The kids also get gifts from Grandparents and on occasion friends. That is plenty. If you could see our playroom you might say 3 is too much! Less consumption is always green.
We volunteer our time.
I want my kids to joyfully serve others. My husband models this by working in a food bank, the kids help me organize and cook meals for the homeless shelter and this year we are going to “Feed My Starving Children”, an organization that allows the public to come in and help package up boxes of food.
I have noticed that when we volunteer our time the kids are more appreciative of what they have. A mindset of being intentional is the first step to being green.
We give homemade gifts.
My girls love to bake. They make cookies, bread, biscotti, sweet breads and candy to give away. My son makes jam each year to give to his teachers for Christmas.
We save jars, decorate them, and fill them with peppermint laundry soap. We make homemade gift tags from Christmas cards. For our younger friends we make homemade playdoh. Our goal is to recycle, reuse and rethink.
We make our own wrapping paper.
When we lived in MI we had a paper mill that gave away the end bolts of paper. We used that to wrap our gifts and make individualized wrapping paper.
We do not buy ribbons or bows. Did you know the amount of ribbon thrown away EACH YEAR would wrap around the earth with plenty left over?! That is crazy! The kids fold paper into cool origami shapes to adorn the packages.
We really try to only have wrapping that is recyclable. Paper, markers, and imagination give way to many years of green wrapping.
Have a place to put the gift bags that you want to recycle. Have a box for bows that might come on packages. Both can be easily used year after year with proper storage.
Give practical gifts
This year, I wanted to get new towels, but I have waited until Christmas. Why? I want to give each kid two towels of different colors. I might even use the towel as wrapping paper.
Two of my kids are getting electric toothbrushes. I will get them each their favorite flavor of toothpaste. My 12 year old boy is getting his own kit bag with some fun deodorants and body washes – he spends his life sweating and showering so this will be perfect!
Last year I made them each a coupon book – they loved it! With 4 kids all two years apart, we want them to feel special, loved, valued, and like they are the favorite! I tell all my kids they are my favorite – sort of a running joke.
Plan your meals
I love having a table brimming with food–but if it ends up going to waste because of travel plans that’s no good. I make two pies not six. This is a huge challenge for me each year. My plan is to create a menu and stick to it.
I also need to keep track of when we are eating. Last year we had breakfast late, but had lunch ready by half time of some game, but no one was hungry. I want a plan for the whole day and how everything fits together.
Ok, so I guess that I really do have a plan! When I write it down, I am organized and ready to celebrate a green Christmas. Here’s to a wonderfully, organized, green, healthy holiday season!
Do you have a plan? Do you just go with the flow and hope it all works out? If you have a planner that you would like to recommend add it in the comments. I love to read them but I’m not good at following them!
Renee is a wife, mom of 4, writer, speaker, creative artist, joy-seeker, a student of life and a teacher of universal lessons. She writes about it all at Joyful Mom–in everything give thanks.
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