The Millennial's Guide to a Low Waste Holiday Season, Part II

Vintage, Handmade Stockings

Because we all know the ultimate hipster goal is to tout your vintage, local, artisan anything, why not be the hands that made it?  I recently scored a like-new, secondhand Brother sewing machine for $30 (!!) at Ladies of Charity and have been thinking of things to sew ever since.  Although I’ve got my OG stocking at my parents' house, (it’s awesome; felt, got an angel on it, made it with my momma when I was a wee one) I think anyone who knows me knows I’m anything but angelic.  So I’ve decided to make a new one for my place, and went thrifting for some vintage fabric, which, by the way, is a thing, and a very awesome source for upcycled fabric.  At a local vintage store I found some sweet wool plaid fabric from the ‘70s  and gray felt.  Using a fifty cent thrifted stocking as a pattern, I used my brand-new-to-me sewing machine to sew some stockings for me and my dog (trust me, he wanted one).  If you aren’t able to sew your own, or just don’t want to, definitely check your local thrift stores for stockings before buying a new one.  Secondhand made in China is better than brand new made in China.  Maybe you’ll luck into a badass Snoopy one, you never know.  

Crafting aside, the most important thing to remember when trying to reduce your impact this season is to keep in mind that it is indeed just one season.  One of the most heartbreaking things for me to see is the exorbitant amount of garbage out on the curb the day after Christmas.  To quote the great and terrible Grinch, “You wanna know what happens to your gifts?  They all come to me, in your GARBAGE.”  There is something to be said for the unnecessary amounts of wrapping paper, packaging, and cheap or “gag” gifts that get thrown away the same day they’re opened.  Does your family member really need multiple iterations of something they already own?  What happens to the gifts that aren’t wanted or needed?  

Try to consider reducing your upstream waste before you tweak out on the holiday season and all its trimmings.  

Maybe don’t buy an entire Bath and Body Works scent collection for every person on your list because, seriously, who uses 5 bottles of lotion in a year? Use a timer for the (LED!) lights on your house so they’re only on when people will actually see and enjoy them (and won't wreck the circadian rhythm of the squirrels that may reside in your yard).  Reduce the amount of packaging you use by sending a note with your online order for them to use less plastic packing or none at all.  And please, for the love of egg nog, don’t buy that ridiculously shiny wrapping paper that’s plastic foil-based; it can’t be recycled and will be here LONG after you’ve thrown away the treasure it enclosed. The thrift store near my house actually had large amounts of wrapping paper that was partially used, which I thought was an awesome idea.  So I found some brown craft paper wrapping with trees on it that will be easily recycled or even reused.  

Fun fact: that's two  very  spindly trees tied together. Not kidding. And that's Oscar's blanket we're using as a tree skirt, so its his new napping spot.

Fun fact: that's two very spindly trees tied together. Not kidding. And that's Oscar's blanket we're using as a tree skirt, so its his new napping spot.

Bottom line, you don’t have to forgo the Christmas spirit entirely to lessen your impact on the environment, you just need to take a moment to think and make smarter choices about where you get your gifts, packaging, and decorations.  Make some gifts for your friends and family, it’ll help you learn a new skill and be way more meaningful to your loved ones.  Buy locally and ask them to wrap it in that trendy brown paper with some cute twine; instant IG-worthy gift.  Personally, I’m a huge fan of making things people can eat.  Cookies, pre-made mixes in jars, pie, granola, elderberry syrup, etc… they eat it, love it, then don’t have to find a place to keep it the rest of the year.  

So enjoy the holidays with friends and family, don’t get caught up in the material excess of the season, and I’ll see you all in the New Year.