Plastic Free Christmas: A Success!

On Christmas morning, I received a text message from my friend Neal asking, "Did Santa bring you any plastic this year?" With all the holiday excitement I forgot to respond to him, but I should have said: "Yes, Santa brought me some plastic...but not much."

So now you know.

My Plastic Free Christmas wasn't plastic free. My family gave me a few gifts containing plastic, and I gave a few gifts that had some plastic packaging.

Then why was my Plastic Free Christmas a success? Because my family and I tried our hardest to avoid plastic, and we did a darned good job at it. Read on to learn about a few of our plastic free successes, as well as the few gifts that weren't so plastic free.

Plastic Free Gifts


  • Two one-gallon glass jars (no plastic coating or seal on lid)
  • Wooden cutting board
  • Book on home canning
  • Book on bread baking
  • Gift certificate for a class at the Old Town School of Folk Music
  • Wooden hair comb
  • Owl mug
  • Eyeshadow and lip gloss in metal tins
  • Burt's Bees rosemary mint shampoo bar
  • Dr. Bronner's soap bars
  • Lush deodorant bar (my sister hates the way this smells. I'll have to test it and see what I think)
  • Sappo Hill soap bars (very yummy smelling!)
  • Socks (held together with tiny metal clips)
  • Bottle of fancy corked beer from Trader Joe's
  • Lindt chocolate bars
  • Chocolate chip and molasses cookies (although I just learned that my family ate these while I wasn't there. Curses!)
  • Electronic gift certificate (admittedly, this will result require a plastic envelope for shipping the t-shirts)
  • Electronic itunes gift certificate
  • Outdoor planter
  • Books on woodworking
  • Issue of Tools and Jigs magazine
  • Bulk candy from Whole Foods (wrapped in paper bags and tied with pieces of ribbon)
  • Bottle of fancy Italian soda
Gifts with Difficult-to-Avoid Plastic

  • Pizza Stone - This was the worst offender because it had Styrofoam to hold it in place within the box, as well as a bag around the metal rack that came with it (sorry to out you, Mom!)
  • Bike pump - My new bike pump is made of metal, but a few parts are made of plastic.
  • Two one-gallon mason jars - These were shipped in bubble wrap and sealed in plastic.
  • Two pairs of socks - These has a plastic binding to hold them together.
  • Plastic gift cards to Whole Foods and Starbucks - I told my family it was okay to get me gift cards since ultimately I would get to use them for less "plastickie" stuff.
  • Five pairs of nylon undies - I looked it up and I'm still not sure if nylon is technically plastic so I'll list it anyway just in case.
  • Four sweaters - Each of these had a plastic binding to hold the tags on.
  • A veggie steamer - It was hard to see it, but legs for the steamer were not pre-attached and were wrapped in a little plastic bag inside of it.
  • A small bottle Captain Morgan's Rum - My brother-in-law is obsessed with Captain Morgan's rum, and it was a necessity that I buy this for him even though the bottle had a plastic cap.
  • T-shirt - I bought a cute t-shirt for my baby nephew online a while back, and forget that it would probably come shipped in plastic. It arrived in a thick plastic envelope.
As you can see, there really wasn't much plastic involved, and I'm proud to say that I had a mostly plastic free Christmas.

To my family: Thank you for all your support with this! It really meant a lot to me!


Anonymous said…
I have a question for somebody who knows something about plastic - I've already searched everywhere online and haven't found an answer.  My boyfriend bought me a composter for Christmas ... and it's made of plastic (recycled plastic!!).  Is that bad?  Are chemicals going to sneak into my compost that is going to be used on my tomato plants next Spring??  Or am I just being paranoid.  If you know, can you please email me at  Thanks!!  Kate :)
Jeanne said…
It's well accepted that the chemicals in plastic leech into the things that they come in contact with. That said, since your compost bin is made of recycled plastic, it is probably made of plastic #1, which doesn't seem to have the negative health effects that some of the other plastics might have. I would recommend contacting the company that sold you the composter (or the manufacturer) to find out if it is definitely made of plastic #1.

Since you're an adult, though, you probably don't have as much to worry about. However, children and unborn babies would be highly susceptible to the possible bad health effects, so if you have a family it's good to be cautious.
Anonymous said…
Hi. I'm surprised I missed this post, as I think I've already read just about everything you've written!

Nylon is plastic. However, I found out in my plastics training that it's actually biodegradable. It breaks down. So while it is made from oil and carries some of the problems of plastics, it's not quite as bad as most.

I'll try and find the reference for you about the biodegradability of nylon if you remind me. I have to go to bed now.

Going Crunchy said…
Ooh, good one! We did decently over Christmas, but did give some plastic. It was however USED plastic since I'll only buy toys that are recycled.

The Hungry Hippo game was an example.

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