Now What? What to do after Christmas

Now What?

The gifts are all open, friends and family have returned to their respective homes, the ball has fallen, and the kids are back in school. The holiday season has officially come to a close, leaving us with the annual question of “Now what?”

 

Although this question can be an ominous one correlating to all that life may hold for us in the coming 12 months, for many it also applies to right here and right now. The sudden calm after Christmas can leave people dazed or even in a state of shock when they realize they have a bit of post-holiday cleanup to complete. It can be hard to know where to start or what to do when it comes to reorienting your home back to normal. We are here to help with 5 After Christmas Activities.

 

  1. Donate Old Toys

If you’re like most families, the quantity of toys in your home this time of year probably spikes quite a bit. When new and exciting Christmas gifts join those that came before it can feel like you’re living on the Island of Misfit Toys. Sneaking unplayed-with toys out of their room in the dead of night may be the easiest option but encouraging your children to choose which toys they would like to donate can help teach generosity, the importance of cleaning up, and critical decision making skills. Once you and your kids have decided which toys they can bear to part with there are a few choices on where you can donate. Below are some of Whidbey’s second-hand shops and charities that accept lightly used toys.

donate, toys, reuse, more life

 

 

  1. Recycle Your Tree

Now for that (maybe less than lush) tree currently gracing your living room with its presence. It’s always a little sad when the time comes around to take down the Christmas tree, but the end of its needle droppings is usually welcomed. What’s not welcomed is the question of what to do with it. If you live in a house with a wood burning fireplace it might be a little tempting to chop it up and throw it in, but this is a BAD IDEA. When pine needles catch on fire they don’t burn slowly like wood, but instead spark out in all directions which can be a huge fire hazard in a home. Instead, what you should do is deposit your tree at one of the island’s Solid Waste drop-off locations where they can be put with other yard waste and recycled properly:

Recycle your Christmas Tree

  1. What You Can and Can’t Recycle

“Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s?” (King5) It’s little wonder why this increased waste occurs. However, it doesn’t make the statistic any less startling. To put that in perspective, since the average American produces about 4.5 lbs of waste a day (EPA); Whidbey Island theoretically produces an additional 3,500 TONS of waste every holiday season. If there was ever a stat to make you want to recycle, that should be it! However, in order to be an effective recycler you need to know what can and what can’t go in that little blue bin of yours. So here’s a quick rundown of what can and can’t go in your recycling bin.

Recycle wrapping paper

CAN Recycle

●       Cardboard boxes

●       Plain paper boxes and bags

●       Plain wrapping paper

●       Holiday Cards (w/o embellishments)

●       Tissue paper

CAN’T Recycle

●       Bubble wrap

●       Cellophane

●       Tinsel

●       Plastic Bags

●       Holiday Lights

●       Ribbons

●       Bows

●       Foam Packaging

 

 

  1. Give to the Food Bank

During the holidays it’s very easy to get caught up in the good cheer and generosity of the season. But the time immediately after the holidays can be especially difficult for charities and food banks. The financial exasperation many experience directly after the holidays can cause an all out stop to donations for a while; but unfortunately, needs don’t cease just because Christmas is over. Donating to charities and especially food banks is something critical to do throughout the year and not just in November and December. Below are some local food banks who could do a great amount of good with your post-Christmas donations.

donate unused foods

 

  1. Throw a Regifting Party!

We all have that one gift (or 5) that we simply didn’t want or need. Yes, Aunt Kathy meant well, but what on earth are you going to do with a crochet pillow of her cat?? Often these gifts are begrudgingly placed deep into the depths of our closets never to be seen again (or at least not for a few years). However, it doesn’t have to be this way! We know you aren’t a fan of seeing Whisker’s face on a pillow every day, but who is to say your friend Bethany might not LOVE it? Unwanted gifts don’t need to sit gathering dust in the closet, especially when there’s a simple solution of how to find someone who might actually find use or enjoyment in it.

Regifting Party

Throw a Regifting Party!

 

Regifting Parties are basically White Elephants thrown after Christmas with the intention of finding better homes for those unwanted gifts. The concept and rules for the Regifting Game is simple and match White Elephant almost exactly. So makes some warm drinks, grab a few good friends, and have a great time discovering new treasures!

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Posted on January 14, 2020 at 12:18 am
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O’ Christmas Tree, O’ Christmas Tree how ever did you come to be?

O’ Christmas Tree, O’ Christmas Tree how ever did you come to be?

  Every year around this time families all over America participate in the annual ritual of putting up the Christmas Tree. Laughter, joy, wonder (and sometimes a little fighting) ensue as we pack ourselves into the car and drive to our nearest tree farm (or store) to find the perfect tree. Have you ever looked at the gleaming lights against those evergreen needles and wonder why we do this?

               The truth is humans have been decorating their homes with evergreens for as long as historians can tell. It’s believed the evergreen pine’s ability to survive the coldest of winters served as a reminder that one day spring would come and the world would be green again. The custom was especially resilient in Germany where many continued to decorate their homes with these trees well into and past the renaissance era. It is even believed that the Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, was the first to place lit candles on this winter tree.

The Christmas Tree, as it’s known today, really gained popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria. Victoria’s German husband, Albert, brought the tradition of the evergreen tree into Buckingham Palace and caught the attention of the entire world. Soon there was not a home in all of Europe or America without a Christmas tree donned with ornaments and lights. 

Want to know where you can get that perfect tree? Below is a list of local farms and stores that can help!

 

Pacific Wind Tree Farms – 2870 N Torpedo Road, Oak Harbor

Ready for some family fun? Pacific Winds Farms has been beloved local Christmas Tree farm for generations. You have the option between looking through precut trees place conveniently close to the entrance or you can brave the forest, saw in hand, and put those high school woodshop skills to work! While friendly staff help to bind your tree, feel free to visit the gift shop and sip on some fresh hot coco and cider. They will be open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 6pm.

https://www.facebook.com/pacifivwindsfarm/

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A post shared by N I S H I A M A T T H E W S (@n.i.s.h.i.a) on Nov 24, 2018 at 10:18am PST

 

A Knot in Thyme – 4233 DeGraff Road, Oak Harbor

When you drive up to A Knot in Thyme you might just feel like you fell into history. The gift shop’s vintage green farm building has a warm rustic charm and the horse drawn wagon adds a romantic feel to exploring the 60-year-old groves. Be sure to ask the store clerk about their “Kissing Balls” and grab an ornament or two to go on your brand-new tree! They are open Monday – Saturday from 9am – 5pm.

https://www.facebook.com/aknotinthyme/

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A post shared by A Knot in Thyme (@aknotinthyme) on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:30am PST

Oak Harbor Lion’s Club – 32630 WA-20, Oak Harbor

You may notice every year, directly after Thanksgiving, the patch of forest next to the Chamber of Commerce gains a few more trees. That is because Oak Harbor’s Lions club pitches up tent there every year to sell Christmas trees! The club sells trees of all kinds from to the public through their pop-up shop and all their proceeds go to their non-profit. It’s a great way to get a tree and give back this holiday season! They will sell every day from 10am – 7pm until every tree has a home.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community-Organization/Oak-Harbor-Lions-Club-256993564350765/

 

Hennrich Tree Farm – 1650 Hastie Lake Road, Oak Harbor

Want a winter weekend adventure? The surrounding forestry at Hennrich Tree Farms makes your tree hunt feel an adventurous nature walk. Breathe in the fresh air and let your wild side out as you forage for your perfect tree. Hennrich opens their doors December 1st and are open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 5pm while supplies last.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Farm/Hennrich-Tree-Farm-143484279035656/

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A post shared by Caleb (@cal2eb) on Dec 3, 2017 at 4:34pm PST

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Posted on December 10, 2018 at 11:11 pm
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