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

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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.

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