Be Your Own “Elf”
By Amy Lignor
Martha Stewart is not the only one who can come up with those great ideas that help the environment while also producing something extremely holiday-‘esque’. In fact, even though toy companies are making gobs of cash off ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia right now, it is a far greater feeling when you make your very own projects and gifts for Christmas. These gifts involve family fun time, and they are also all about recycling so that next Christmas you can save even more trees.
Christmas crafts are a huge industry: just look at the gazillions of holiday bazaars, Christmas holiday tag sales, silent Christmas auctions, and you will see a plethora of ways to recycle the old by putting a brand new face on it and bringing its beauty back.
Take advent calendars. Millions of households have one hung in the kitchen. Some even have chocolates stashed behind the tiny doors you open as you count down to the night Santa will arrive. However, you can help the environment by recycling magazines and catalogs to make your own advent calendar for the house. Cutting out some of the most beautiful ads (and there are millions of them), you can use these as decorations for the small doors and make the actual tree shape out of toilet paper rolls, so that those chocolates have a place to sit!
How about this? In one hand you hold an empty bottle or can. In the other, a sock that probably lost its ‘partner’ a long time ago in the wash. What can you do with this? It’s garbage, right? An extra two items to fill up those overflowing landfills even more. But…there is a very cool Christmas gift/decoration you can make from these items. Simply by pulling the colorful sock over the bottle/can, you can then use items like buttons and construction paper to decorate and create a cute little snowman that everyone can enjoy.
Gingerbread houses are getting more and more expensive. The kits are rising in price, and when the project is over there is a whole lot of plastic, paper, packing material and more that heads right into the garbage can. But why not make one of your very own and avoid the trash? Using empty cracker or cookie boxes, covered with some cocoa to create that lovely dark brown cottage, you already have the materials on-hand to do it. And by making it yourself, it will end up being the most beautiful gingerbread house you ever had.
You know those bright metallic CD’s you have? The ones that probably sit in a desk drawer and have never even been opened? These are the CD’s that will be tossed in the garbage when spring cleaning rolls around. But what if you use that shiny metallic surface and decorate them? Or, perhaps, even use the CD as a fantastic background for a family photo. You can make awesome Christmas tree decorations that way; they will last forever and the reflection off the Christmas lights will make the house shine even brighter.
There are so many arts and crafts projects on the Internet that you and your family will have a ball doing. From crafting a really cool Christmas tree to hang on the wall from empty egg cartons, to recycling Christmas cards into stunning gift tags that can be used on next year’s Christmas presents so that even less garbage will be created – you have your choice of many. And, let’s face it, if you can actually spend time with the family, laugh with the kids, make something beautiful, AND be saving the earth all at the same time, you will experience a truly great feeling. I’m sure that’s exactly how the elves feel in Santa’s workshop. They use their skills, talents, creative imaginations and expert hands to make sure that the gifts Santa carries can be cherished, and the world can become a cleaner and healthier place to live.