A Usable Feast



For the annual National Geographic Education holiday party, event specialist Jamie Bosley led a team in creating festive decor from recycled materials. Windows and wreaths on the walls were constructed out of old carboard, newspaper, and paper towels; candle holders on tables came courtesy of used wine bottles, and table clothes were fashioned from flannel shirts.

For a number of people around the world, winter is a time of gift-giving. In the U.S., the holiday shopping season is often a madhouse of sales, checklists and wrapping paper. After a few decades of presents–every birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day–you end up with a whole lot of STUFF. That’s why, this year, whatever the occasion, consider giving presents with a short-term presence, and take part in ‘a usable feast.’

That means choosing items that are intended to be used up before next year’s gift-giving season. This year I’m giving candles to my grandmother, fruit-infused oil and vinegar to my mom, concert tickets to my brother, a set of soaps to my dad, and hearty bean soup mix to my boyfriend (hopefully I’ll get to help use up that one). Other gifts include notecards, jams and jellies, birdseed, hand lotion, and of course–a calendar!

What are some other use-uppable gifts?

Alison Michel
Associate Producer for National Geographic Education

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