Have a Trash Free Christmas, We Do!


We have trashed the world and lost our star

Our star was supposed to lead us to goodness and light. Also, peace on Earth, goodwill to men — er, human — kind.

Yet, today, if you even got up off your device to go look into the night sky, you will not see a guiding star, or hardly any guiding stars. Light pollution from our glowing presence outshines them, and if you do see a spark, it’s likely a satellite.

The satellites guide commerce, capitalism, media, and consumption.

Where does that leave our goodness and light?

Christmas gets trashier every year, but you can take control.

Whether your holiday is sacred, or secular to you, you can make it meaningful by remembering the light in the darkness.

You don’t have to sacrifice, but indulge

Our holidays are nearly, but not quite, zero-waste.

We have an elaborate, over-the-top lavish holiday with tons of gifts, but here’s the secret: the gifts are stuff we would buy anyway. Think of a can of soup, in a sparkling gold box. Or, that small box may contain a relative’s hand-me-down pendant, (real silver gems!) but it may also just contain a bar of soap.

We also do hand-made gifts and decorations. Some fancy, some not. Some are recycled and re-gifted. All honor one another, our creativity, and the creation.

We laugh at each other. We connect, and we goof around. A large, or major purchase is put off until the holiday. Last year, a new computer, this year, prescription glasses.

We don’t waste time or money on wrapping. That’s trapping. It makes the world disposable — trashy, not classy. We have about fifty solid boxes in shiny gold or green. They are durable enough to reuse over and over. And over. Some are wooden boxes, and some are tin, but most of them are sturdy pasteboard that nest easily away for next year.

They are truly the gift of the Magi because their durable meaning never goes away but is recycled year to year.

No need to buy gift tags. Just tell the recipient, “All the green ones are for you” Or, “All the gold ones with red ribbons (or another color) are yours.” This makes it super easy to never, ever have to make gift-giving confusing.

Our tree has been with us for 22 years. It seemed expensive at the time but then paid for itself in four years. It’s sad that it is petroleum-based, perhaps, but what is not these days?

Having an artificial, but Grand Norway fir, doesn’t kill any trees, farm/woodland inhabitants, or require a messy, gas-guzzling trip to the forest, or monoculture.

For the scent of pine, fir, cedar, or spruce, pick up some branches from the November storms. More on fragrance, later.

At the time we bought the tree, socks, underwear, and even clothing could be made of cotton, wool, blends, and other natural fibers. Now most everything you buy, even linens, is oil-based junk. Today, fast fashion is polluting and immoral. To find quality clothes, you must go to second-hand shops to pay less and find real fabric. It’s worth the exciting hunt and money-saving self-satisfaction.

Classy kitchens and sensuous scents

Don’t live near the woods? Grow some holly, collect some pine cones, find some dried berries, cinnamon, rosemary, or thyme.

Be creative. Bake some cookies for the sweet scent of gingerbread with real molasses.

For the love of our great and glorious savior, (or any living beings made in God’s image), don’t buy any chemical, toxic “air fresheners” in plastic plugs requiring batteries, or any other trash. It’s an insult to our living, and lovely Earth.

Just don’t buy any plastic unnecessarily. It doesn’t make your holiday merrier, but it does make our mutual home planet scarier.

Cut back on meat and grease. It’s easier to clean up. (You should avoid housework on holidays, too). Cook days before. Share, and/or give away leftovers, even to the visiting birds and squirrels.

Appreciate the season, it’s better for your mental health.

Setting a holiday table? Get out the real china, crystal, silverware, cloth napkins, and serving plates. Only use disposable trash on those planets you find disposable. Make all guests feel special. You love them. Usually.

Surely, they are “worth getting out the good stuff.”

Compost all food waste and scraps. Do not make your trash stink. It’s easy; never put anything that rots in there. Why would you do that? Use the money you save by never buying paper, or trash bags, or toxic scents, on buying extra treats to gift under the tree.

What about the joy of little ones screaming and ripping through packages on the big day? Well, there are always some free newspapers, and grocery ads, still around, and usually crayons and packing paper.

Make it fun.

Is zero-waste, doing good, and ethics harder with children? Yes. Ask yourself what lessons you want them to learn.

This post was previously published on medium.com.


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