ONCE THE GIFTS are opened—after we’ve played the steal-the-presents game—gift wrap and trimmings are scooped up in a furious rush to rid the room of rubbish.
And if I’m not quick enough, I miss the opportunity to salvage ribbons and bows, tissue paper and gift bags.
I cannot bear to see these items trashed. My extended family knows this about me and they laugh as I hurry to gather in the goods at our annual holiday get together.
But I was raised right, by a Depression era mother who saved everything. As the eldest daughter in a family of six children, I assumed some of her saver traits, including the recycling of holiday trimmings.
I do not, however, rescue wrapping paper as Mom did so many years ago while a farm wife guarding every penny. She would fold each piece of gift wrap with great care, attempting to remove strips of Scotch tape without ripping the paper. And then she would pack the pretty paper away with the previously used bows to reuse the following Christmas.
Like my mom, I also learned to recycle holiday greeting cards into gift tags. Why not? With a few snips of the scissors, I have a lovely tag to adorn a present.
I like to think, as I’m clipping cards and gathering the pretties ripped from presents, that I am honoring my mother, honoring an entire generation of Americans who saved and scrimped and got by as best they could with what they had.
We could all learn from them.
Long before recycling and going green became trendy buzz words, they already understood the importance of reusing/repurposing.
HOW ABOUT YOU? Do you recycle anything from the holidays?
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling