Home > Parenting > Hold on to your Cheerio boxes!

Hold on to your Cheerio boxes!

Don't recycle them just yet...

I am no queen of green.  I try to do my part to reduce my carbon footprint – I have about a 50% hit rate of actually using my reusable bags at the grocery store, I always choose “no” to printing my receipt at automated checkouts, I attempt to amalgamate errands to reduce driving – but I would be the first to admit I have a long way to go with helping Mother Earth mend herself.

Like anyone in this day and age, I don’t like to see flagrant abuses of the environment. Every Christmas morning I was sickened by the waste produced for the landfill from our household alone, until a few years ago, when I stumbled across a way to help in my own small way.

Christmas is a time to pack some punch into my husbands otherwise drab wardrobe, so I always give him clothes, and girls being girls, my children are likewise excited to receive clothes.  But clothing stores are infamously short on those nice boxes this time of year, and a shirt wrapped without a box just doesn’t have the same fancy effect, not to mention it announces what it is by its limp texture and size, whereas when housed in a box the sky is the limit: a bathrobe! sexy underwear! ear muffs!  Really, anything could be in that thing.  So on Christmas Eve a few years ago, while frantically wrapping my heart out and my fingers off, I ravaged my kitchen cupboard of cereal, cracker, and granola bar boxes, and used these to keep my family guessing on Christmas morning.

Now I set aside boxes in the beginning of December, knowing they will be put to use in the next month, either to disguise hockey tickets for my father in law or jelly beans for my child’s best friend.  Under our tree there now is a plethora of interesting shaped boxes, and if a wee bit of wrapping paper is accidentally dislodged after my daughter has shaken it mercilessly, there is no way for her to guess what treasure it holds.

Be forewarned, you are setting yourself up for a chorus of “You got me waffles?”, “Cheerios, just what I always wanted!”, “Reduced fat cookies – are you trying to tell me something?”, but boxes that were destined for the recycling bin are put to one last good use.  When I survey the scene mid morning after the tornado of wrapping paper has ripped through, the end result does not look so disastrous, knowing much of it would have been previously recycled anyway.

Merry Christmas, Mother Earth.

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  1. Laurie
    December 23, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Gosh darn it. I just finished wrapping, and this brilliant idea is a tad too late. Is it too early to start eating cereal for next year?

    • December 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      Our paper recycling has been empty all month – and I have been cramming books and sweaters and pajamas into Eggo and Special K boxes all week. It will make for a heavy recycling bin next week.
      Thanks so much for all of your insights and support, my inspiring friend!

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