Letter to the editor: This holiday season, I’m giving back to the planet

Homemade gift wrap. — erika g/Flickr

By Charlene Lange

A great-grandmother and retired school teacher wanting to help save our resources

To the future generation,

I wish you peace and joy. Yes, it is that time of year to start preparing for the madness of the holidays. This year will be different. I am going to change, to help give you clean air and water. It will be hard, but I can do this. I am going back to Christmases I had growing up, where less is more and my identity is not based on the amount of presents I get or give. Generations of Christmas traditions and buying during the holidays create vast amounts of landfill waste and carbon. Besides, with all the presents being given, kids cannot even remember what they got or who gave what. I will:

  • Give of my time, laughter and guidance.
  • Give the gift of a trip or experience by taking my loved ones to explore the town, county and state.
  • Give a gift of adventure, of another world, through books and magazines.
  • Buy eco-friendly products such as reusable shopping bags, newspaper subscriptions, reusable lunch containers, organic food wrap, reusable straws, etc.
  • Buy local, make gifts and regift things others want.
  • Buy wrapping paper without glitter or metal, or make my own out of newspaper or paper, decorate with crayons, etc., and recycle after use; make gift bags out of old T-shirts.
  • Take recyclables with me when I leave if the place I am visiting doesn’t recycle.
  • Take clean bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts to Mailboxes of Iowa City for them to recycle.
  • Write or email a company that doesn’t use recyclable plastic in their packaging and ask why.
  • Donate to charity and give food and help a neighbor; join the Facebook group “Free Trade – Give & Get- North Liberty & Surrounding Areas.”

So no shopping until I drop, and no stressing that this or that has to be done a certain way. Receiving or giving one small thing can make you happier than receiving a ton of stuff. Instead, I will be spending time with those I love, planning trips, playing games, helping others. Saving Christmas and the Earth for you.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 253.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Iowa City Book Festival

Oct. 18-24

A celebration of books, writing and ideas

Find Out More


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.