How To Not Get Wasted This Holiday
Let’s talk waste.
For many, the “life cycle” of a Christmas gift might look like this. You find the right gift and buy the product on Amazon. Whatever the product, it’s likely wrapped in plastic bubble/box/wrap from the manufacturer. The product then gets boxed and shipped to you by Amazon, probably with more bubble wrap, plastic airbags, or crumpled paper in the box.
Then you take it out, either throw out or recycle the box/paper etc, and then re-wrap it in different wrapping paper. Paper that has snowmen and reindeer on it. Maybe some glitter. Throw on a bow. Lots of plastic tape. Then the gift recipient unwraps it two days later, throws that stuff out, which is likely not recyclable, and says thanks.
Some Traditions Need To Be Killed
I get it, we have traditions. And “presentation” is important to people, both in their $5.00 triple-mocha-lattes and in gift giving. But I’m pretty sure we can do better here.
You can’t change how Amazon ships things to you in most cases, but you can at least buy one of those reusable gift bags when you’re giving a gift instead of wrapping paper. And then kindly ask the gift recipient to actually reuse it. There’s nothing wrong with re-gifting a bag, it’s not the same as re-gifting a gift. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
Here’s the thing, once people start getting gifts in reusable bags then they’ll have a stash of them, and their problems are solved. If everyone did this, in theory, we could just use the same reusable bags that would go on wonderful gift-giving journeys from year to year, person to person, house to house.
I presume the Wrapping Paper Lobby would be opposed to this and see it as a dystopia. I’m not even sure a Wrapping Paper Lobby exists, but I’m too afraid to Google it for fear that it does….
Then of course there’s the bottom line. It’s about saving money. I couldn’t find a more recent number, but according to this article Americans spent 3.2 billion on wrapping paper in 2014. One can only presume it’s higher now. Mind. Blown.
You’re smarter than the average Joe, so show it. Either use a re-usable bag, or better yet, don’t wrap it at all. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.
Are You Gonna Eat That Who-Hash?
Then there’s food. Oh if there’s a topic that triggers me to go on rant it’s food waste. According to the National Resources Defense Council, Americans waste about 204 million pounds of turkey – just on Thanksgiving Day alone!! At an average of 30 pounds a turkey thats 6 million turkeys!
Most studies report that Americans throw out about 40% of their food regularly, and that percentage goes up a lot during the period between Thanksgiving and New Years.
Getting…. close…. to…. rant…
Oh and what does this waste cost the average family of four per year?
Don’t Be An Intolerant Foodie
For the life of me and all that is holy I can’t understand why anyone would throw out good food. Or even mediocre food. Spoilage is the only legitimate reason that I can think of, and you can prevent a lot of that by not making 16 metric tons of string bean casserole for the family dinner.
I try to get in the mind of someone who throws away holiday food from say, a Christmas gathering. Maybe it goes like this:
“Gee, no one touched Aunt Betty’s chili and now she’s gone. I think I’ll just throw that out. Because, ya know…. Me.”
What you’re saying here is YOU DON’T VALUE EITHER AUNT BETTY’S TIME, OR THE FOOD ITSELF. You’ve just devalued a person and a nourishing thing. You’ve also just cost yourself money in having to buy a couple of meals that you had right in front of you for free. Why would you do this?
“But I don’t like Aunt Betty’s chili”
Ok, let’s address that. When you say you don’t like it, do you mean it tastes horrible and is inedible with maggots crawling in it, or is it just that it’s not as good as the chili at your favorite restaurant? In other words, are you being a self-righteous food-diva here? Does everything have to be exactly to your preference, oh precious one? Do you care that she took the time to make it and bring it?
Cliche or not, there are indeed starving kids in Africa and in many other places in the world including right here in America, and it’s just a careless, thoughtless, and indignant thing to do. Besides being horrible for your wallet.
Suck it up buttercup. Eat the damn chili or I will. I swear I’ll come over and eat it.
So there you go, my no nonsense money-saving tips for the holidays. Stop wasting tons of money on paper, ribbons, cardboard, and tape whose sole use is to cover an object for a short period of time. And for all that is good with civilization and humanity stop throwing away food that is edible.