This time of year the fun and excitement of giving and receiving gifts is often overshadowed by a certain amount of guilt over mass consumption and wastefulness. And it’s not all in our heads; holiday waste increases by 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. That’s an additional 1 million tons a week dumped in our landfills. So how do you reconcile this concern and set an example for your kids while maintaining the tradition of holiday giving? Well, for a start, you and your kids can gather used books, toys and clothing to give to local charities, hospitals, schools or libraries.
Rummage through that closet or toy bin with your child and pick out gently used items that you don't need anymore. Find places around town like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity that would benefit from your items or pass them on to neighbors in need. Holding a rummage sale is another option. Earning hard cash will help kids realize that their castaway toys and books still have real value.
Passing on unwanted items to those who can use them is crucial for keeping our lifestyles sustainable. Everything we buy is made from valuable materials from the earth. Harvesting these materials, manufacturing them into products and shipping them around the world take a tremendous toll on our planet both in terms of resources wasted and energy consumed. Giving those items a second chance at life will go a long way in protecting the planet and remembering what the holidays are really about.