A friend recently shared a link to a New York Times article about the amount of plastic accumulating in our oceans. She captioned it with a plea: “Before you buy all those plastic toys and stocking stuffers for Christmas, please consider where it will end up once they’re thrown away.” The accompanying photo was horrifying: a pile of plastic debris on a beach in Portugal, so thick it obscured the rocky shore underneath.
The photo, and my friend’s request, resonated in light of—of all things—our search for personal, useful, and earth-friendly wedding favors. Wedding magazines offer an abundance of what folk musician Nancy Griffith once referred to as “unnecessary plastic objects”: giant “diamond” key-chains, wedding-cake shaped candles, nesting hearts salt and pepper shakers. All sweet to look at, but—let’s be honest—likely to end up in the landfill. Traditionally, favors were foodstuffs, and something simple and edible like Jordan almonds or truffles seems much more earth-friendly than miniature Lucite chairs. That is, until you dress the truffles up in multi-layered packaging, little brown boxes with raffia ties and tags, or festive cones in cardboard stands. So cute! And sadly, sure to be tossed as trash as soon as the guest has enjoyed the treat within.
Some thoughts on the thought that counts
Though I’m not so keen on unity sand, I like the tradition of wedding favors, maybe because I’ve always loved choosing (or making) just the right gift for someone, whether it’s big or small, silly or sweet. My relationship to gifts has changed a little in recent years, however, in concert with my shifting relationship to “stuff.” I’ve become increasingly aware of the costs, both to our planet and to our psyches, of an excess of objects cluttering our minds and homes, our waters and our world. Continue reading