Saturday, December 26, 2009

Easier Than You Think

In the spirit of my new mentality, my boyfriend and I decided to make Christmas as non-consumer and sustainable as possible. Absent family aside (both our families live abroad), it turned out to be an absolutely fabulous Christmas.

Here's what we did:

Decorations - I love Christmas and could not deny myself a real Christmas tree. I had hoped to purchase one from a sustainable farm, but I missed the order deadline by 3 days, so I decided to purchase my tree from TROSA, a residential program in Durham that provides comprehensive treatment, work-based vocational training, education, and continuing care to former substance abusers. What better way to enjoy the holidays, then giving back to the community.
After they trimmed the tree, I took the extra branches home with me. I had always wanted to make my own wreath, but had never really known how. It turned out to be simpler than I thought! I sorted through the branches and found a few long ones that I tied together at the base. I wove them into a circle and tied them again at the top. I stuck some more branches in to thicken it and added some recycled red berry stems. I also took some other branches which I flattened out and tied together with a rubber band to create a card holder for my Christmas cards. I can't tell you how easy it was to do and it looked so good!

Christmas Dinner - Except for the wine and a few other ingredients, we kept our menu organic and/or local. The menu consisted of brie and organic fig spread on pumpernickel toast, oven-baked ham, stuffed chicken, potato gratin, green beans with bacon and shallots and a fantastic apple tart with ice cream for dessert. The ham and bacon used in the gratin and green beans was local North Carolina pasture raised pork. The chicken, pineapple, potatoes, green beans, apples and sugar were all organic and we attempted if possible to purchase them locally or from the states closest to NC. The cheeses were imported from Europe, but also organic and rBST-free. The milk, whipping cream and ice cream were organic and/or local. We had two friends over and everyone loved every single part of the meal.
(Recipes can be found at "Uncomplicated Recipes")

Gifts - In the words of one of our friends, we were very "low-maintenance" this year. We got many of our traveling friends carbon offsets from Native Energy and My boyfriend got me rechargeable batteries (a re-gift I was totally happy to accept), a Precycle Kit - a program that reduces your junk mail, plants 5 trees and sends you 2 CFL light bulbs and a reusable shopping bag- and Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood -which is not necessarily a non-consumer gift, but Atwood's focus in this book is the environment and through the book she is raising money for a variety of environmentally focused non-profits. Together with my mom and his sister, I got my boyfriend 2 Bontrager Grocery Bags that fit on his bike and eliminate the need of a car when grocery shopping, and I filled the bags with some local art, a water bottle (my re-gift to him), home-made dog treats, BioBags, and home-made almond butter. Maybe low-maintenance, but we were both very happy!

Merry Christmas!

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