I start to feel a little ill the week after Christmas while driving past row upon row of houses with four or five trash bags full of packaging and wrapping paper out by the curb. Next to them, a now sad looking bundle of sticks and needles reluctantly waits for the trash truck. This year, we really wanted a live tree (roots and all) so that we could plant it after the holidays, but it didn't seem practical for our current living space. Instead, we spent a lovely evening making cranberry and popcorn garland to wrap around a wreath for our balcony. (credit to BlackStar for the cranberry idea) We had a lot of fun turning our fingers red with cranberry juice and hopefully the birds will enjoy a holiday snack. I think these activities are so much more rewarding than a trip through the Wally World "made somewhere else" holiday section. As for packaging and wrapping paper, most gifts will be handmade this year with the exception of a few specific requests. We'll be using recycled boxes and bags to make wrapping material and decorate them ourselves. Who needs another throw away bow when you can be crafty?