Green Giving – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

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When we were young adults, our “wish list” was full of things to buy. Whether it’s the house, the car or new towels, we have saved and bought for eternity. (We still have “things” in use that are over 50 years old.) Nobody seems to be buying something these days that will last a lifetime. People don’t expect to live in the same house for 40 years or continue to drive a 20 year old car. A computer that is more than five years old seems to be a rarity. However, greater importance is attached to intangible values.

Our generation decided on a career before we were thirty, settled in and stayed. Today’s youth are more open to opportunities. Your wishlists are full of experiences: vacations, movies, career choices, video games, and more. This opens up a wide range of Christmas gifts that require little or no packaging.

Electronic subscriptions can be magazines, newspapers, apps, or some form of television entertainment. How about a gift card for a pay-per-view or two or evening entertainment at the Reel Mountain or Park Theater? (If your grandchildren are not there, translate that into their favorite cinema back home). For local kids or adults, consider adding the Mountain Coaster to your vacation list. As a gift for young parents – take their children with you for the day, to local festivals and events – the gift of time alone. Or take the whole family to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science or some other activity. It is not the place here to list all the possibilities.

Every year we ask each family member what they would like to learn. Then we find a book, a documentary, a class or an excursion to expand their knowledge in this subject area.

Children can give parents and grandparents time as a gift, offer a booklet with redeemable vouchers for breakfast in bed, setting the table, doing the washing up or perhaps computer assistance and similar help around the house. Can you imagine a full day without emergencies? The attempt would also be welcome! Speaking of experience, there is something to be said for a gift card dedicated to a specific item, but you can choose the model that you like best. Or, even better, spend the day with them and go on a “shopping spree”.

For something really ecological: if your loved ones live where winter is warm, buy them a tree. Insulated reusable cups keep your drink hot (or cold) much longer than paper or plastic. Last year we put together an “ecology set” for every family household (adult grandchildren), which includes handkerchiefs, terry bar towels, dishwasher-safe silicone bags, some # 5 (recyclable) plastic cups (for storage in the refrigerator) and a reusable shopping bag.

Maybe a composter is a possibility. In our house we have a Vitamix Foodcycler (on a counter in our laundry room) that processes food waste such as eggshells, coffee grounds, leftover meat and peelings in hours, not days, and turns it into a soil additive. Larger, more inclusive composters will also hold garden waste, handkerchiefs, and paper towels – but pine needles don’t compost well, and compostable plastics require industrial temperatures.

Whether the gifts are ecological or not, consider the packaging. Sometimes it just takes a bit of tape and a few pine cones from the back yard, especially when you have a leftover box of something you received. Coffee tins make great gift containers and are both reusable and recyclable. For a year we packed in plastic tubs that consistently supported the need for storage. Reusable bags make great gift bags.

Wrapping paper is often not recyclable, but Simply Christmas accepts it here in Estes (in good condition) for reuse. They also take ribbons and other packaging materials, as well as packaging and shipping materials, with them – and share them with other dealers.

Agree? Disagree? Remarks? [email protected]

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