Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - After Christmas

In any given year I like to start pulling out the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. My reasoning is such that if I'm going to go through all of the work of decorating the house, then I want it to stay up for a good long while.  This year, I didn't even get the tree up until mid December. I don't know why, it's not like I was remodeling an entire Inn or anything!  Nonetheless, the tree was up and sparkled brightly through the holiday and a few other favorite decorations came out as well, but as I explained in my prior post, it was not a year for the full regalia.  And here it is just 2 days after Christmas and I am already planning to put it all away.  Alas, the floor guru is returning on January 2nd to spend 2 weeks stripping and refinishing all of the hardwood floors, which means absolutely everything must be cleared from the downstairs rooms, the stair case and the landing at the top of the stairs.  So, as I start to put away what little Christmas cheer I brought out, I am reminded to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Several years ago in an attempt to not only cut costs, but also to reduce how much paper we wasted used each Christmas season I started to collect special wrapping containers, which allowed me to reduce how much wrapping paper I bought, reuse from year to year my collected containers and recycle what finally breaks down.  I am not a Grinch, nor Mrs. Scrooge as I do celebrate Christmas quite well. Over the past several years though I've figured out a few things and I thought I'd share a bit of what I've learned.

Peanuts and Whitman Chocolates have had a long-time relationship and we have had a long-time relationship with all things Peanuts.  Hence, I started collecting the Whitman tins and boxes in which chocolate resided.  I cannot say that Whitman is my favorite chocolate, although I do love the maps printed on the lid of the boxes, but OH, I do so love their tins and boxes! 

These fun-loving tins are just right for small books, gift cards or other fun treasures!
In the early 90's Oreo packaged their cookies in a designer tin for several years in a row.  I collected several years worth. Sadly, we are missing a lid to one of our tins. I refuse to let go of the 5th tin, just in case someday the lid once again magically appears. It has become a family joke that if you find one of these tins under the tree, with your name on it, there is a pretty good chance you'll receive a CD or DVD, as the tins are the perfect size.

A good number of years ago (too many to count) box companies started selling decorated boxes.  I don't know why, but even though the boxes were already printed, I still wrapped them.  As I said, I have no idea why I did such a thing except that maybe it was a double-wrap gift, more fun.  I no longer wrap the printed boxes and as a matter of fact we laugh each year when we decide if a particular box can be taped together yet again, or it's truly beyond it's time.  This year, we only recycled 2 boxes.  Not bad!  Tissue paper also gets used and reused until it can no longer be folded in ways to hide the little shreds of excitement from Christmas morning.  And bags, who doesn't love bags?!

We said good-bye and recycled the 2 snowman boxes.
And the gift tags... it's not like the names are going to change from year to year, right?!  Every now and then one of us might not be paying attention and we stick a tag on a tin or box, and it just doesn't come off.  The solution?  That person gets the same tin every year! 

These tags have been with us for a lot of years!
And the storage?!  Where to put it all?  On the rare occasion when I do buy something to add to our collection, (or replace the recycled) I only buy after Christmas.  Yesterday, we bought 2 more red/green tubs for storage purposes.  $2.99 per tub.  Back it all goes to the attic to wait for another year to be reused.  

And in the end it doesn't really matter, does it?  Christmas is ageless and the joy the holiday brings cannot be wrapped in a box or tin or bag because every year when my son steps through the airport "arrivals" gate, I have everything I could possibly want for Christmas!
Boxes and bags purchased at 75% off sales, enough to last for years to come
Our collection of favorite tins and boxes

Tissue, wrapping paper and curling ribbon.  Curling ribbon is the one thing I will purchase when I find it on sale because good curling ribbon is essential to good wrapping.  See that package of 3-rolls of paper?  I have no idea how long we've had it, but it keeps coming out each year.  Now, I'm kind of wanting to see how long we hold out before one of us is forced to open it.  Sometimes, a gift just won't fit in a tin or box or bag.

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