Progress: Holidays

Happy New Year! Now’s apparently the time to look back on 2007 and reflect on how far I have, sustainably, come. Seeing as I do that about once a month anyway, and I’ve only had this deal going since September, I’ll spare you the complete recap for now. I hear tell that others also use this time to make resolutions. That’s not how I roll, but I’ll go ahead and at least make another monthly goal.

After a 3-state Christmas tour, this eco-tryer was done. Mostly. Done enough to write about it, but not done enough to stop playing that Christmas music yet. I’m hoping my loved ones will stage an intervention soon, because I’m getting sick of it.

There were some pretty sustainable aspects of my season. I purchased no wrapping paper or boxes, but I did use wrapping paper left from last year (it’s not metallic, so it can be recycled). Once all that stuff is gone, I’ll reconsider how I wrap gifts. I padded all my shipped gifts with my shredded papers. Bows and gift bags were saved for reuse. Most of my decorations were left over from last year- I only purchased two strands of LEDs. Since they were a funny color, I didn’t use them on my tree, but I did use them. I did use strands of inefficient lights, but I plugged them in infrequently (It helped to not be home very much for the holidays).

I worked hard to make the gifts I gave as low-impact and useful as possible, and it paid off. Talking with folks kept my list guess-free, and for far-flung relatives my mother was an invaluable source. Since the number of places selling eco-friendly/fair-trade things is still limited, the shopping was pretty simple for me, and I was done much more quickly than last year: that added sustainability of a non-environmental kind. I am especially proud of giving my very conservative grandfather Gingrich’s “Contract with the Earth” for his Dec 26th birthday- excellent compromise. As for my haul, well: my indoor composter will arrive any day now! Soon, I’ll be reducing “up to 120 lbs” of food scraps a month to useful garden crud! I also received a wonderful movie, The Day After Tomorrow (tagline: This year, a sweater won’t do), which is sort of a documentary of climate change occurring, only it’s entirely made up. I also got The Core (We killed the planet), which might not be about climate change, but certainly involves ridiculous weather. Everything else was pretty, useful, and appreciated, especially the abundance of soups.

At the same time, I did a lot of driving (three states worth!), and I threw away much more than usual (wrappings for new things, fast food containers, staying in a home without recycling access). The LED light experiment was disappointing, and I need to work on that more wisely next year. Also, my Christmas tree started to smell funny a few days ago, sort of like inappropriately aged cheese, but I dumped in some lemon juice in the tree water and then an large amount of vinegar, and either I’ve gotten used to it or the vinegar did the trick.

So, new goal for the month: I was going to do something with my composter and food waste, but since that’s not together yet, I’ll wait on it. I have a bunch of stuff, and I just got more stuff. I’m going to spend the new few weeks reducing the stuff I own- clean out my closets. Appropriate for the new year, and necessary if I’m going to be able to put any of my new stuff away.

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6 Responses to “Progress: Holidays”


  1. 1 Biking Person January 2, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    So for my New Years I kind blew through a lot more stuff than I’d expected… energy, booze, fancy things, and bags of trash. During prep for the party I ended taking out about three 13 gal. bags of trash – about three times my weekly usual, but that did include a lot of cleaning up, and I’d rather put some of that stuff in a landfill than live in it. We produced one more bag of trash over the course of the party – what with spills and some broken plastic cups and some candy wrappers.

    So besides the trash thing, I think we actually pulled off a fairly low-impact party – we made all our own hors d’oeuvres (or, as I like to call them, ‘orderves’), we got semi – reusable plastic martini glasses with those detachable bases, and we even got huge bottles of wine so that we wouldn’t need as many!

    I am also getting a composting unit for a late holiday present… my mom really likes her vermi-composting unit in her science classroom, so she’s getting me one of the same model. I’m thinking we should have a race at some point! My worms against your… regular old composter! If we’d had it during the party prep, my bet is those three bags would have been only two.

  2. 2 virescent January 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Hey, you’re on. I am interested to see how your worms fare- are you going to keep them in the house, or outside? I’ve read that they don’t smell so bad indoors, but I have a very hard time swallowing that. Let me know when yours is together, we’ll do a comparative study! And the race thing.

  3. 3 millie January 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I am looking forward to your competition – I am starting a compost pile outdoors near the woods that will be sure to attract those earth worms – maybe I can add some comparative notes to your study?

  4. 4 virescent January 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Wait, I thought you already had a compost pile? Are you building a second one just for the side gardens? Actually, I think you could give us some pretty interesting notes right now, since you’ve been composting for years.

  5. 5 millie January 3, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    We did, but we took down the fence-like structure around it and are going to rebuild to make it more user friendly – I have begun reading up on efficient composting piles. In the meantime we are emptying the compostable waste in the vicinity of the old pile, near the garden. This may or may not be the final location – my research should indicate how much sun, air circulation, etc is best. We are saving the shreddings from the shredder we received for Christmas and there are a great many leaves available.

    My great Aunt Ruth and Great Uncle Albert (Mississippi) had a 60 year old compost pile near their garden. They grew the best peaches in the world.


  1. 1 I’m moving! « Virescent Trackback on January 19, 2008 at 4:19 pm

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