The boxes, oh, the boxes!

My Christmas Amazoning has begun.

Every year I make a bargain with my conscience.  I’ll pack waste-free lunches, bring my own bags to stores, buy in bulk, reuse dental floss… all to reset the bad environmental karma I get when I wrap Christmas gifts.

Wrapping Christmas presents is fun.  Unwrapping them’s even better.  There’s something to the act of guessing what’s inside, shaking the packages, and discovering… oh, it’s another sock… that makes the season complete.

The idea of Christmas is to take a bunch of things and wrap them so they look bigger than the window display at Macy’s.  That’s why Madison Fifth Avenue invented the holiday to begin with.

Now that pre-black Friday is here, followed by an hour or two commercial break for football and turkey, and Cyber Monday’s around the corner, I need to get my Christmas Amazoning done.

For the past two years, I’ve Amazoned my whole holiday. (I’m not receiving any compensation for this post.  But I’d like to, I’m not gonna lie.  I’ll take a coupon or credit or lifetime Prime…).  I rarely go to the store–so rare, in fact that when I went to a real grocery store last week followed by the local discount chain to pick up a few small gifts, my credit card got flagged for fraud and shut right down.

“You were in…a store?” Fraud Guy asked.  “I see farmer’s market, farmer’s market, vegan co-op, ecofriendly cleaning products, Netflix, Amazon, Amazon, fair-trade tea…farmer’s market… but a… store?”

After a careful review of the store security tapes to confirm it was me followed by a precautionary taking of my fingerprints, Fraud Guy turned my card back on.  I determined to avoid all stores for a long time.

This leaves me with one small Amazoning problem to resolve.

Box guilt.

As someone who wrestles with living sustainably, the use of wrapping paper is a big moral question.  Sure, I can buy overpriced, recyclable wrapping paper that can then be reused as TP, but it’s too expensive.  Like most of America, I’d rather buy gifts.  Instead, I cave and get rolls of cheap, colorful, made far away paper.

But it’s not recyclable.  Who knew?  You can’t even burn it in the wood stove, because the inks are made from toxic heavy metals that’ll I’m told will kill spotted owls.  It’s why there’s a warning that says, “Do not unwrap gifts with mouth or lick wrapping paper.”  It can’t be composted for fear of putting toxins in my garden ecosystem.  It can only be thrown in the trash, in big non-recyclable garbage bags that’ll take longer than disposable diapers to break down.

That’s bad enough.

But the magic of Amazon Prime means I’m shopping whenever I have a minute.  Idea? Checkout. Idea? Checkout. Idea? Checkout….Wishlist, Checkout, Add to Cart. Ship.

It all comes in two days, nearly wrapped for me…in an elegant Amazon box.

A ton of boxes.  They’re already piling up by my door.  That’s a lot of dead trees.  A lot of waste.  A lot of sobbing rainforests…

But it sure makes for a big pile under the tree!

This year, I’m going to use The Box in my holiday decor scheme and try to find better uses for The Box after Christmas is over.

I might tie each box with a pretty reusable ribbon and throw it, brown and all, under the tree, or make decorative stamps  out of potatoes to decorate the boxes without wrapping.  I have a call in to Martha Stewart to see which she’ll approve.

Then, I won’t have to use the ink-contaminated wrapping paper any more.

After the holidays, I’ll compress the boxes, spray them with waterproof boot spray, make walls, and turn them into a writer’s retreat. It’ll be a good start in getting rid of my box guilt, guaranteeing a joyful holiday space, and making a space to write where the boy can’t disturb me every time I have an idea.

Meanwhile, the pre-Black Friday sales have begun.

Let the Amazoning begin!

PS:  If you have teacher or edtech friends, you can start your Amazoning by gifting my book “Don’t Sniff the Glue: A Teacher’s Misadventures in Education Reform” for Christmas, value-priced so even educators can afford to read it.  Don’t have time to read?  The audiobook is out now–read by me!  What better gift could you give to parents, teachers, students, or principals?