Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Little Holiday Recycling

I'm always looking for new ways to creatively recycle or reuse things that I would normally end up throwing away and I came across this tip (from the always excellent Sierra Club Magazine's The Green Life series) St. Jude's Ranch (3 centers for abused and neglected children in Nevada and Texas) has created a recycled greeting card program. From now until February 28, 2010, you can mail your used cards (any occasion: Christmas, birthday, thank you, etc…) and they will turn the “old” cards into new—removing the front of the card and replacing the back with a new blank card. Children at the center also assist in the recycling process. A great way to give new use to something that most people throw into the trash bin once the holiday season has wound down.

You can mail your donations to:
St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV 89005
877-977-SJRC (7572)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Skipping Christmas

A few years ago, John Grisham wrote a crappy little book called “Skipping Christmas”-in it, a couple of empty-nesters decide to 'skip Christmas' because their college-age daughter isn't coming home that year. Instead they decide to take a cruise, leave the decorations in the attic, and avoid the malls. (It was made into an even crappier movie starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis called Christmas with the Kranks.) In theory, their self-imposed ban on the holiday seemed like a nice peaceful way to celebrate… but their obnoxious neighbors belittle and berate them for their choice. They manage to hold out until (spoiler alert), the daughter announces she really is coming home. Then mayhem ensues as the couple spins out of control trying to recreate their usual standard of holiday festivities, decorations and gift giving in less than a day. See the comedy? Sigh.

This year I decided quietly that I was going to truly 'skip Christmas'. Aside from the 'avoid the malls', no decorating, no holiday cards, I wanted no pressure to be anywhere, to do anything… just be. And when you step back, you see how overbearing Christmas has become. It's now a cliché to say “we've forgotten the true meaning of the holidays” because the “true meaning” still involves commitments and traditions that can easily spiral into too much to do, not enough time to do it and not worth the stress in the long run. So this year, I said 'no' to Christmas and 'yes' to peace and simplicity instead.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Cobblers Live!: Resole America

Everyone's got a favorite old pair of shoes that they love so much that they won't get rid of until you can see right through the sole to the street below, but shoes are so cheap and easy to buy that resoling is a lost art. Scan the Yellow Pages for cobblers and you're not likely to find many listings. Now though, an online service called Resole America is setting out to change all that. Using their website, you can search for your brand and request a mailer. Ship your shoes out and they agree to have them back to you in 8-10 business days. Currently there's not a huge selection of shoes listed, and the prices range between 1/3 and 1/2 the cost of a new pair, but this is a great way to give your favorite pair of shoes an extended life.