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Merry Christmas! I just wanted to drop a reminder to recycle your Christmas cards and decorations. You will be rewarded many times over for taking a few additional, easy steps while opening your gifts and taking down your decorations.


It only takes a few minutes to tuck your ornaments into a box to reuse next year while you are taking down the Christmas tree. Wrap the breakable items in tissue paper to cushion them and wind those endless strands of lights around a paper towel tube or an old broomstick that you were smart enough to save when the broom itself was past repair.


Here are some tips to keep those beautiful greeting cards from going to waste.

  • Snip the names and handwritten greetings off the card and save the beautiful art, graphics and Christmas poems on the cards for craft projects for the kids to use in their crafts projects next fall. They can enjoy cutting out the pictures and threading a pretty ribbon through a hole to decorate a children's tree in their bedroom.

  • Package them up and recyle Christmas cards by mailing them via UPS "ground" or "bound printed matter" to the St. Jude's Ranch that collects and reuses old Christmas cards: St. Jude's Card Recycling, 100 St. Jude Street, P.O. Box 60100, Boulder City, Nevada 89006.

  • Trim them into sizes to use as gift tags next year.


The most important item to recycle is the Christmas tree. If you cut down a tree to decorate, please take advantage of one of the free programs to recycle your Christmas tree. Here are some ideas of how to get this taken care of:
  • Contact your town's street and water department to find the address of facilities where you can take your tree to be ground up to make mulch for your yard.

  • Check with your local fish and wildlife officials to see if they are taking trees to put in ponds and lakes to provide breeding spots for fish.

  • The most environmentally friendly, green way to have a tree for the holidays is to have a potted, live tree that can be planted outdoors after the decorations have been removed.

While your family is involved with unwrapping gifts, don't forget to remind them to save those ribbons, boxes and bows. When we recycle Christmas cards and holiday items we save trees and in the long run; our planet.

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting Recycling and Environmental Issues to see more ways to make the Christmas holidays more green.



Some Southern family Christmas traditions stem rode over on the boat with my ancestors from jolly Old England, Scotland and France. I’m not sure how my folks picked and chose the ones to keep and which ones to toss to the side but I see more than a few right out of some of Charles Dickens’ stories.

Maybe when my kin decided to flatboat down to Natchez and New Orleans they had to make do with what they had on hand and thus the southern aspect of the holidays was born. Whatever the origin of their festivities, Southerners have their own way of celebrating Christmas. Contrary to popular opinion, not all of them involve discharging firearms into the night sky or sitting around a still waiting on some unsuspecting Yankee to happen by to have a little fun with.

Most of my favorite holiday traditions involve food. For the main meal, the meat has to be impressive. A huge, golden turkey or ham decorated with pineapple slices and red maraschino cherries are the optimal choices. However, one year when I was a kid we had a standing crown rib roast. I can remember wondering if the decorations on the ribs were edible. These Christmas menus could not be categorized as southern family Christmas traditions as they date back centuries.

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting and Environmental Issues to see more Christmas menu ideas and how we are spending the holidays.

However, there is one unique family Christmas tradition that may be completely southern or at least American in origin. That would be our Christmas breakfast menu.

Here is what was on the breakfast menu on Christmas day every year when I was growing up.

  • Quail
  • Angel or Bride’s Biscuits
  • Gravy
  • Homemade Preserves

At times the quail were smothered in gravy and there were times when I seem to remember that they were southern fried kind of like chicken. Perhaps the reason that this meal stands out in my memory is because it was never repeated at any other time of year. I will list more of my southern family Christmas traditions after I mark a few items off my list of Christmas details to take care of before tomorrow.


Homemade Christmas Gifts

Did you hear more homemade Christmas gifts will be given and that sales of craft items are up even in the midst of the financial crisis? Well, that's what the newswires have reported. The increase in sales was impressive enough to merit a press release stating the numbers.

The reason for the spike was reported to be that more people are having to make their own Christmas gifts because of a lack of funding for store bought items. If you are a crafter, you know this is a big bunch of bull.

Before you come at me with paint brush loaded for bear, let me explain. Homemade Christmas gifts are BETTER and if you are smart (shall we say crafty?) you can save some money. However, you know as well as I do unless you have been crafting for awhile you can go broke buying supplies and end up spending more than if you had just gone on and bought perfume and neckties as in holidays of the past.

But you would have to kick off your plan to make your own Christmas presents much earlier than late October or November, my friend. That is unless you have only one person to buy for on your list. Homemade quilts, knitted sweaters and crocheted afghans take more than a little time to complete.

What I would like to believe is that people are turning to handmade gifts because
homemade Christmas gifts are unique and personalized, not because they are cheap.


I have been suffering over possible Christmas dinner menus. Somehow the thought of basting a turkey and stuffing myself with dressing so soon on the heels of Thanksgiving is not appealing.

I have polled the kin who will be attending to see if they will be sad without a traditional Christmas dinner. You might be wondering what a traditional, southern holiday meal might include. At our house that would be a combination or all of the following:

  • A golden brown basted turkey to serve as a centerpiece and an extra baked turkey breast so nobody gets mad if the white meat is gone before they get a slice.
  • Two large jellyroll pans full of cornbread dressing with a pitcher of special gravy to pour over it which works wonders if for some reason the dressing is dry.
  • Sweet potato casserole using one of several different recipes
  • A crock-pot full of slow simmered green beans or green bean bundles
  • Molded cranberry salad.
  • Yeast rolls
  • Gallons of sweet iced tea
  • Desserts

Since we had turkey for Thanksgiving and the thought of doing it again is not appealing. I'm researching Christmas dinner menus for baked ham and all the trimmings.

Do you have a website that has a good recipe or some Christmas dinner menu ideas that include something festive besides turkey? Please let me know about it in the comment section, quickly. I need to make up my mind so that I can make a grocery list so that I can go shopping for the ingredients before tomorrow.



A friend of ours recently commented on how few gas guzzlers and how many fuel efficient "smart cars" that he was seeing on the roads. After this enlightening visit where he related his excellent environmentally encouraging news I could hardly wait to fill my semi-fuel efficient Honda with gas and hit the highway. I was so looking forward to riding with my eyes on bright hoping to see the first wave of the new age of consumers and automobiles on parade.

I knew that the earliest possible opportunity would be when we made a short trip out of town to deliver some Christmas gifts. We hit the interstate with high expectations and a carload of excited kids early. On the first leg of the trip there were very few cars or trucks sharing the road with us and there were more gas guzzlers than sippers by a long shot.

However, I still had high hopes as the church crowd had not joined us as of yet. Surely, the spiritual set would be some of the frontrunners for saving our planet for generations to come.

It was easy to see when the last hymn of the service had been sung as traffic increased by fifty percent or better. But I was very disappointed in the number of four wheel drive trucks and big SUVs over anything that could remotely lay claim to being a fuel saving model.

Let it suffice to say that my observations did not equal my friend's by any means. However, I have great hope for the future. Maybe everybody is just upside down in their loan and waiting (like me) for the day they can trade for a greener ride. Or else they think that the tree huggers made up the American gas guzzler myth to put GM, Ford and Chrysler out of business just for giggles.



In the past I have touched upon the casual, unconcerned nature of society as far as keeping the world a safe and uncluttered space. It struck me this morning as I was running a load of pre-Christmas laundry that I had not touched on this subject recently.

You might wonder what washing clothes and the out of touch citizens of planet earth have to do with each other. If you had the opportunity to hear the clunking sound that my washing machine was making you would understand why my foggy brain made the connection.

Let me start by saying that my washer and dryer set is not ancient. They get a workout practically every day but at their young age they should sprint through my family's dirty stuff without sweating. They are not but five years old or maybe even a little less and they sound like they are ready to expire. Even if they happen not to be at death's door, they are gravely ill.

I am now faced with making the decision of calling the appliance repair service and hoping that the fix will be a quick and easy (read: cheap) one or biting the bullet and buying a new washer. The dryer seems to be heating and fluffing just fine. So, a replacement for the washing machine will be all that's required for the time being.

This hits me wrong as I am going to be stuck with a mismatched set for no telling how many years. If I were to follow suit and go along with the disposable nature of society, I'd kick them both to the curb, buy one of those cool front loading models and let future generations fend for themselves.

However, being an individual that is concerned with environmental issues I'll probably just call the repairman, let him replace a couple of gears and suffer with a noisy washing machine for a few more years. By that time I'll probably be so sick of the rocking and knocking that I'll succumb to the temptations and buy something new. Even environmentally conscious individuals such as myself show weakness in hard times.

It would also help if factories would stop manufacturing junk. I don't want new to keep up with the people next door. All I want is to be able to wash my family's sheets and clothes without the threat of going deaf or having to dip sopping wet clothes out of the tub that quit spinning before it was finished.

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting and Environmental Issues to read more of my targeted rants on the unconcerned nature of society.



Don’t let the title fool you, the term "baby deer hunting" is not about grown men out hunting fawns. At least not in this article. What I’m talking about is little kids out hunting deer with guns taller than they are. Allow me to say that I am not anti-gun nor am I anti-hunting. It’s my personal belief that there is a time and place for both. That being said, only an idiot could think that high powered rifles and kids are a good mix.

When I saw the latest in a number of pictures in the local newspaper of kids holding the heads of dead whitetail deer up by their horns, I gave one of my women friends a quick call that is known to have a trophy rack or two hanging over her fireplace. Being less than knowledgeable on the subject, my goal was to find out what was up with parents who were taking their five year old kids out to kill animals. Knowing that she is a responsible mother, I felt that surely she would consider kindergarten age children hunting with guns a severe safety hazard and I wanted to hear her opinions on the subject.

I told her the reason for my call and after a minute of silence, where in retrospect she was probably wondering if she might be risking losing her privileges at the camp house, she informed me that the practice was called by those in the know "Baby deer hunting." Before going any further, knowing that I maintain a blog, she made me swear that I would not mention her name or tell where I got my information. I could easily understand where she was coming from. When you are prone to hang out in dense forests filled with crack shots, you can’t afford to have a lot of enemies.

After I was sworn to secrecy, she started to unload on the topic of baby deer hunting. Here are the basics of what she shared with me. WARNING: if you are one of the guilty parents who have been hauling your kids under the age of 12 with you into the woods, her comments are not going to make you feel very good about yourself.

She said:

Kids who have never taken a gun safety course should not be hunting. There have been studies that baby deer hunters (under 19 years of age) are responsible for 50 percent or more of firearms accidents. Children have trouble making the distinction between real guns and toys and point accordingly. Furthermore, dads (and moms) who would put the gun on the shoulder of a their child so that he or she can kill an animal are irresponsible idiots.

And here’s another little tidbit of information; your fellow hunters don’t enjoy the company of baby deer hunters. The animals they kill or the ones that you bring down and say that they killed fail to impress. If you are doing this to make your friends think that you are a big man to have raised such a mighty hunter; please know that it has the opposite effect. Your fellow club members may not show it, but they dread the sight of you and who could blame them? Buying deer rifles for kids is not cool.

My friend said that she remembered one such incident where a man in her club pulled this stunt and while bragging in the clubhouse, the baby deer hunter seemed to reflect his father’s enthusiasm. Later, she heard the child crying in the bathroom. How traumatic would it have been if that same young person had accidentally killed another hunter?

The moral to this lesson is that it might be best to teach kids about deer rather than take them hunting while they are young. Spend time with them and teach them to appreciate nature. Take them into the woods and show them the scrapes, rubs and tracks and prepare them for the day that they will be old enough to join the hunt. Leave the guns at home. Your fellow hunters will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

If your toes have been stepped on, I apologize. You are welcome to your opinions and I wish you the best success with your parenting methods.

Return to Family, Parenting, Environment Issues and Kids to see more articles on the challenges facing the modern family.