i know what you're thinking- 'but it's a real tree, cut down, for me- ack!'. but here's the skinny- christmas trees are grown to be cut down. and for everyone cut down, usually, another one is planted in january. they are typically grown with little pesticide use and are compostable. fake trees, sadly, are not. i know that people often opt for fake trees as a way to save money, but then end up buying a new one after 3 or 4 years of smooshing it up in the attic. these trees are either thrown away after that, or taking up LOTS of space at a thrift store. and while donating the tree is the better option, giving a thrift store an item it can't sell just gives the tree a detour on its way to the landfill. buy a real, and preferably, a local tree this year. and if you have the space, another option would be to buy a potted tree that you can plant. that's not really an option for us, but i do like this idea... why didn't i think of this??? i could be a thousandaire by now!!!
last year i scored at goodwill. i found 10 brand new canvas bags that were under $1 each. i wrapped my family's presents in these, used newspaper to stuff, and made a simple bow out of tulle and twine. very cute, and it encouraged my reluctant family to start using a reusable shopping bag! and of course, there is always newspaper, the funnies, maps, damaged books-you name it! go nuts with these items you already have lying around the house.
(if this doesn't cut it for you, there are recycled wrapping paper options.)
we are a puzzle family. my kids love puzzles and so do i. i'm always finding cheap puzzles at the thrift store that i'll pick up. inevitably, we lose a piece here and there, eventually sending the puzzle to the back of the puzzle box. i have started using lost/random puzzle pieces as gift tags. i simply poke a whole in the top and attach it to the present using twine. a creative way to reuse something that you (probably) have around the house, and saves the puzzle from going to the landfill. this idea could be applied to other things as well. we have the same luck with playing cards that we do with puzzles, they make great tags as well. take a look around the house, i'm sure you will come up with something!
have you seen the LED christmas lights? we bought a pack a few years ago and really love them. they use up to 90% less energy than conventional bulbs and last a very long time before burning out (some have a 50,000 hour burn life). if you are in the market for new lights this season, go this route (i also saw solar christmas lights at target the other day- another alternative).
last year i made every single present we gave. i had so much fun with it! this year, i'm making lots, but for those that i'm not making, i'm using etsy. i have found some really lovely, affordable gifts on etsy this year. there are so many sustainable, natural options. no plastic or weird chemicals being produced to make these gifts! i feel good knowing that i'm supporting a craftsperson this time of year. with the gifts i'm making, i'm trying my best to use sustainable, fair trade resources. moonpie's doll is being made out of organic cotton, sheep-friendly wool, fair trade merino wool for the hair, organic cotton yarn for the sweater, etc. other gifts i'm making i've found most of the materials at thrift stores. it's so fun to be creative with what you find!