Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Crafting for the end of the world

Six days till Christmas.
Or two till the end of the world, if you’re into the whole Mayan thing.
I think I’m done going to the store for a while (I am so tired of driving and parking and going into stores and driving some more…), and we are moving into the family tradition part of our holidays. We made roll-out cookies last night and will decorate them tomorrow, we are making labels and cards to go on teacher-gifts—mason jars of homemade granola or apple butter from fruit the kids picked last fall—and the day care center’s Christmas Pageant is tomorrow night. Lots of singing and noise and bowl-licking, and an unbelievable amount of garbage generated.
I have been doing my best to do the Green thing, to avoid disposables and not drive more than I have to and step back from the Huge Consumer Whirl of Doom…with limited success, but more than I have in some years, so it’s sort of a wash, I guess. What is both exasperating and glorious is witnessing my little girl, though, who takes delight in the simplest things that I would otherwise throw away. We were cutting paper circles out of construction paper to go under mason jar lids today (since I’ve run out of labels), and when it was done she looked at the graceful curves of the remaining scraps and proceeded to cut and tape them back together into a long garland she draped over the tree’s branches. (My husband hasn’t seen it yet. If he takes it down, I’ll knock him upside the head.) And she has, in her room, a collection of 30 empty toilet paper tubes. Because she likes them. And might be able to make something out of them.
Turns out, there are a ton of crafts you can make with used toilet paper tubes. An x-wing fighter. Cute animals. And check this site out—the possibilities are endless. (I wish I’d seen this one before December hit!) Which makes me think…how much of the stuff we will acquire over the next week or so could, if nothing else, be transformed into something cool our kids would enjoy, even if it has no other earthly use? The Climate Crusader put up a great post a while ago about the whole reusable gift wrap/bags issue, which will get us a long way (my family still has gift wrap and bags that have been passed from family member to family member for more than a decade; my mother still has some boxes from clothing stores I think closed when I was a kid.), but how far can we take it if we give up a little on “useful” and just go for “fun”?
We will very likely, in the next few days, make paper chains out of cut-up strips of wrapping paper from gifts too small to realistically re-use any further. We might try making a village or doll bed or something out of boxes (with toilet paper rolls as turrets or legs). I desperately need to clean out my sewing room—I bet I could make a cute rag doll or sock doll for my daughter, stuffed with scraps or felt bits too small to save, and let her decorate the face, or even explore some of the adorable no-sew rag dolls on the internet; she would love that. Maybe we’ll even move into making those cool recycled paper beads.
It’s tricky, balancing the “I need to not be weighed down by all this stuff” with the delight of a seven-year-old who doesn’t want to throw anything out, because she sees something beautiful in it. So this year, this week, when I suspect we are all holding our little ones a little closer than we might have a month ago, we will revel in the found objects of the holiday. We’ll cut snowflakes, we’ll craft and glue and gather and build, and we’ll see something beautiful in stuff others would just throw away.
I love it when my kids teach me stuff.
Wishing all a blessed Christmas, a happy Solstice, a joyous Hanukkah,  a safe Mayan end-of-days, and a Happy New Year!
--Jenn the Greenmom


robbie @ going green mama said...

So true! It's amazing what children see.

For my son's party this weekend, we cut up a box for a "race track" for the Cars-themed party. So simple, yet the kids loved playing for hours - and my son discovered his creative side while painting the track.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

I have a TP roll Pinterest board for myself -- I will be adding your links! I often give my kids boxes and things to get a little more "use" (aka play) out of them before they go to recycling.


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