Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm dreaming of a GREEN Christmas!

Being a design diva and thinking practically when it come to such an OVER THE TOP holiday can seem oxymoronic, but it can be one of the best things for your home and your wallet. And who made Christmas into the money sucking, super glitzy spend fest that it is now anyway? Uh, RETAILERS of course! They want us to spend, spend, spend and shop til we drop and pepper spray people in the store on Black Friday while trying to get that last X-box…(can’t believe she really did that, lol). How often do we ever sit back and think of the true meaning of the holiday? Have you ever considered alternate ways of GIVING? There are more ways to give than just hitting the mall.
The art of being “green” can be mastered in so many ways. There’s composting, reducing your carbon footprint, shopping locally and buying things made from sustainable materials. The D-I-Y diva that I am, I took to my favorite treasure hunt to kick off my green Christmas, beginning with the decor- on craigslist. Yep, that’s right- craigslist is one of the best ways to go green, save money and give- all at the same time.
There are some things that just don’t really have to be new. We had a pre-lit Christmas tree. It was 6.5′ tall and was a beautiful blue spruce and it worked out well, until two years ago when the middle section’s lights decided to go out. We tried to find the culprit dead bulb and when we couldn’t we strung a set of lights around the middle and called it a day. This year I longed for a taller tree, but the ridiculous cost of a new one sent me right to craigslist. There are so many great finds on there, in good or even like new (sometimes entirely new) condition. People sell their things for all sorts of reasons. I snagged a 7.5′ tree in like new condition with the box for just $20.00 because the guy’s wife decided she wanted a small, real tree instead of setting up and decorating a fake one. Their toss out is my gain and no one is the wiser! Best of all, purchasing on craigslist is also giving because that person makes money which in turn allows them to buy their own tree or presents or whatever else they will get as a result of your purchase. Buying from craigslist is green because you are buying locally and also recycling a used product. WIN, WIN, WIN! I saved $140.00 on a tree and helped out a local resident.
Craiglist can work for far more than just trees. I’ve seen outdoor and indoor lights and decorations too. How about younger children’s electronic gadgets? My seven year old wants an ipod touch or an e-reader. I’d never dream of spending $200 on something for someone so young who may lose or break it. However, I would buy a used one online for $50.00 and guide him on taking care of it in training for a real one one day. You can also find unbelievable deals on televisions or gaming systems that people can’t keep for financial reasons, even great laptops that only require you to wipe their memories clean. There’s an endless sea of goods that you can acquire on craigslist- clothing, toys, accessories, jewelry and furnishings. Why buy new when you can save money and buy used? Now, of course, there are situations when new is best- gifts for family members outside of the immediate, gifts for friends or others that require original packaging and the item in new condition.  But there are many times you can even find (especially right after the holidays) that people have duplicates of items that they will sell online. Maybe they received two laptops or two cameras and they obviously can’t use both.
So this Christmas consider going green. Search your local craigslist site and see what hidden treasures you discover. For an added bonus, check the FREE section under ‘For Sale’. You never know!

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