Nov 212012

Author: Mary Willson

Samantha Beck, Sophomore shows off her table made of caps, which her and her house-mates have been working on for about three months.

Samantha Beck, Sophomore shows off her table made of caps, in which she has glued them onto plywood to make a Colorado flag.

The holiday season many times forces college students out of their natural habitat of cheap food, simple amenities and an overall minimalistic existence. This no-fuss way of life is often times not a conscious lifestyle preference, yet of financial limitations. Concert tickets, road-trip gas and ski-lift tickets seem to become a priority over new socks, a full refrigerator and nice things.

Yet, as the December migration out of Fort Collins and into ones respected hometown for the five-week hibernation period rolls around, a shift must take place. One may find themselves being forced to wear polo’s, small talk with out-of-touch relatives and associate with high school friends they do not miss. And worst of all—being forced to buy stuff as holiday presents, because it is expected.

There are many ways this is hard. One, financially; that extra dough spent on your sister could be used for a New Year’s adventure. Two, what to get; it seems as if your mom doesn’t need another scarf or necklace, yet the big stuff like the latest culinary device is out of your reach. Third, it seems wasteful; joining the hype of more stuff is fun, until wondering if any of those nick-knacks were really needed.

As a way to decrease the initial and long term harm of the holiday-present-blues, there are basic rules for no-harm Holiday presents. For you, and our landfills.

We all have things at our apartment, dorm or parents house that we do not use. Something you can hand off to bring happiness to someone else fulfills the golden rule of re-using.

An example of this gem is making a unique pen-jar, coffee-mug, or vase—all from your kitchen. Grab an old mason jar—this is the foundation. Then, in a mixing bowl add one part flour, two parts water, three tablespoons of salt and mix. There is your glue. Next, find some vintage magazine advertisements, awesome photos, and black-and white newspaper print and hold them onto the jar. Paint the glue over it with your hands or a brush and let it dry. This is perfect for a mom who is sentimental, and it’s virtually free to make.

The next way to be a unique present giver is to make something old into something awesome, or to renew. Take that old pair of I Phone ear buds and use hemp, bright string or basically anything else you can weave together to cover the headphone cords. By following basic hemp rules (and the wonders of Google to learn) you have created a unique, impressive, lasting gift for a sibling that loves music.

We all hear about recycling day in and day out. The basis of recycling is easy: one product being made into another product.  All those beverages you consume, of the 21-and-over categories—that’s right, your beer caps and cans can be made into a useful and creative table. For those lucky nights when you indulge in a bottled beverage, save the lid, then use a hot-glue gun and a magnet (both can be found relatively cheap at a craft store) to create a fridge decoration for your best friend’s apartment fridge.

After engaging the creative mind and impressing your family and friends, you can sit back and realize all of the holiday-waste you have mitigated. A pound of plastic takes 24 gallons of water to produce according to, and a single plastic cup takes 50 to 80 years to decompose according to Along with being on your way to a New Year’s adventure, hitting the slopes or back in the good-ol-Foco, you have also had a positive impact on water use and waste with these gift ideas.

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  1. Yay! i love the picture 🙂 good job

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