The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

birthday party aftermath

on August 26, 2012

The birthday party was a success! Family, friends, kids, food, cupcakes, pool, bouncy house… from what I could tell, a good time was had by all! Of course, we were overprepared as usual and will be eating the leftovers for the next week. Schy had a great a time, although quite overwhelmed for the first hour or two. She warmed up quickly when the gift unwrapping ensued. Bright colors, joyful tunes and activities perfect for little hands! She was spoiled and enjoyed every minute of it. I quite enjoyed it, too. She is so loved and that always makes me feel awesome.

BUT, with the showering of gifts comes an unfathomable aftermath… trash. Holy $*&@! What does one do with all of the trash from said gifts? Everything is heavily packaged, fastened, taped and wrapped. Some of the packaging seems adult proof and I have at least one injury from freeing Violet from her cardboard containment. While we were unwrapping, a friend of mine actually said “you’re going to need a dumpster for all of the trash.” He has a seven year old daughter and knows this birthday aftermath all too well. This is a tree huggers worst nightmare. Much of the cardboard will be recycled, but I feel a heavy sense of guilt about all of the plastic, styrofoam and other miscellaneous items that cannot be. What does one do with this heap of madness?? And is there an alternative?

(We were fortunate to receive plenty of great books. Most of these came in little gift bags that have taken their temporary place in the gift bag stash to be reused. These really come in handy, so no complaints there!)

So, my daughter is just celebrating her FIRST birthday and I feel ashamed to say that I’m already ready to boycott the Toys ‘R Us/Fisher Price world of excess trash. From this point forward I am vowing to do my best to support local crafters and artisans when it comes to the plethora of birthdays and holidays that we always seem to be celebrating. I practice this in other areas of our lives, why not with gifts? And wouldn’t the creative, unique and handmade gift be more exciting than the same plastic wrapped clone that everyone else has anyway? It may be a bit less convenient than driving the two miles to Toys ‘R Us, but it will be beneficial for everyone involved. It will certainly benefit the small, local business, the parents of the gift receiver and the environment. Not to mention that it will make me feel better as well.

I guess this is one of those ‘AHA’ moments that I will experience throughout this joyride that is parenthood. I had no idea that this sort of thing was taking place after every. single. birthday. celebration. every. single. day. WOW. But now I know. And now I can start a revolution! Haha… maybe not, but I can change my actions based on what I’ve learned this weekend. Phew.

Now, the next issue is how to avoid receiving all of this madness again next year.

Suggestions are welcomed!

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