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Precious, not expensive

November 20th, 2012 · No Comments

Terri Chu

Halloween is just around the corner and the day after the candy is safely stowed in kids’ underwear drawers, stores will turn their displays to Christmas. If you’re like me, I cringe on the first garbage day after Christmas to see all the waste the festive season generates. However, with a little bit of effort, we can reduce what hits the Greenlane landfill and save a few trucks from making the 200 kilometre journey with our trash.

I learned an interesting thing this summer when a dear friend invited me over for dinner. Pressed for time, I couldn’t make the usual dessert I would normally bring over so on our way out the door we grabbed the plastic container from last night’s blueberries. We filled it to the brim with raspberries from our yard and brought that along with the obligatory bottle of red shiraz. At the dinner, another invitee also brought a bottle of wine, but his was home made! Yes, he grew the grapes, squished them, fermented them, and did whatever it is that magically produces a bottle of delicious red wine.

While our raspberries and this bottle of home made wine were gushed over, the bottle of store bought shiraz sat neglected and forgotten on the kitchen counter. The host graciously commented how much she appreciated the gift, but the reality is that personal effort was appreciated far more than token gifts from the store. There’s something about making something yourself that is so rare in this day and age that when it happens, it’s appreciated far more than any store bought trinket.

Around the same time my neighbour gave me a piece of homemade olive oil soap with an amazing fresh scent. It was so nice to be on the receiving end of a homemade gift. I treasured it, and used it sparingly until it was all gone.

Homemade gifts are not only eco-friendly, they’re precious (but not expensive). If you had a garden in the summer, preserves from the fall harvest would be appreciated by almost everyone. You could easily make your own preserves and gift them in reusable (preferable reused) jars. Lots of stores in the Annex sell tools for baking, preserving, or candle and soap making.

Rather than wrapping your gifts in single use gift wrap that inevitably ends up in the landfill, consider reusing a decorative gift bag. These bags are available in abundance at our new dollar store or Honest Ed’s if you have to buy them. This way the receiver can reuse these bags too! Remember, most recycling ends up in the landfill. Nothing beats stemming waste at the source.

In our fast paced society, I think it’s nice to take a bit of time to get in touch with our creative sides. Rather than the obligatory over packaged Rudolph mug this year for those gift exchanges, see how much better your homemade efforts are received. Go Green without envy.

Tags: Annex · Columns