So it's our 12 year wedding anniversary this week! It feels like only 2 years but somehow we have reached 12 years of marital bliss, with some downs and challenges thrown in there too. But our marital bliss or the ups and downs of the last 12 years is not what this blog is about...it's about living green day by day, right? So what does a wedding anniversary have to do with living green? In my opinion...alot!
You see, part of living green day by day is being aware of what the impact is of even the simplest things in your life. So for wedding anniversary gifts, which often include a cheesy card that would make your kids barf and perhaps some flowers or even jewelry, I can't help but think of the impact of those anniversary gifts. The card is made of paper, which usually is made of trees (or sugarcane or other plant material), and unless it is FSC certified or made of 100% recycled paper, it has an impact, right? What about the dyes used for the ink? If it's made of soy-based ink, not too bad, right? Then you get into the whole money thing--now I'm not a cheapskate (ok, yes I am, I admit it!), but paying $3 or $4 or even more for a card that someone looks at for a few minutes, maybe displays on a table for a few days, and then throws away (or recycles hopefully!), I find it a complete waste of money and resources. I'd rather get a handwritten poem -- written on scrap paper of course :) -- or a funny card made from scratch with something silly on it. Or bake me something delicious with chocolate or make me a wonderful handmade cappuccino with love poured all over it. But that's just me...or is it?
As for flowers, sure they are pretty, but please, pick some from my garden and bring them in for me. Even better, how about you weed the garden for me as my anniversary gift? Just whatever you do, please don't buy flowers that are obviously dyed to be more "vibrant" or flowers from a store who imports them from across an ocean. It makes me jittery just thinking about the carbon impact of transporting those flowers all around the globe. And are they sustainably grown? There is no FSC equivalent for flowers like there is for paper that I'm aware of...anyone know of any label or "certification" for fair trade or sustainably grown flowers like there is for veggies? There are still transportation CO2 emissions associated with however "good" they are labeled.
And jewelry...ah yes a very common gift from husbands to their wives for anniversaries and other occasions. I love rocks, but they usually consist of the kind I find in my backyard or at the beach or on a hike in the Shenandoah Mountains. Please don't give me a diamond harvested from a country that is poor and exploits its workers. Why should people have to die to give us diamonds? I have a diamond...my engagement ring...but other than that, please no diamonds as I can't bear the thought of someone dying so that I can have something sparkly and shiny. I'll just clean my handmade glass vase from a local artisan if I want to look at something sparkly and shiny, thank you very much.
So on my 12th wedding anniversary, why am I feeling like the luckiest woman in the world! Because I was given a cute card with hearts on it? Because I was offered flowers shipped from overseas? Because I was surprised with a little velvet box of some shiny diamonds? No. Not at all.
I am the luckiest woman in the world because I have a husband who, while not exactly the most "green" person I know, knows me well enough that he is ok with spending our anniversary hanging out and enjoying our time together as "enough" of an anniversary present. He gave me time and laughter. And that is the best gift of all.
And when he does get me an anniversary gift, it is something like this for our 10th wedding anniversary (10 year "traditional gift" is aluminum):
Yes, those are roses that he handmade out of aluminum foil, in my old glass vase, with green fake grass from who knows how many years ago from an Easter basket that I reuse every year. Foil and plastic Easter grass is so not "green" in and of itself, but these "flowers" have been sitting on my kitchen windowsill for 2 years now. Well, they haven't been just sitting there. They have been serving a very important purpose...as a drying rack for plastic bags that I wash and reuse. :)
So what's the best "green" gift you have ever received? Was it an actual item, or an experience? A day spent together? Our best memories aren't the things we receive, but rather the experiences, the laughs, and the time with those special people in our lives. And for that I am truly grateful for the wonderful memories my husband has shared with me over the last 12 years.