I’m dreaming of a Court Street Christmas

Yesterday, for some odd reason, I was completely in the Christmas spirit. I had an insane craving for cookies that was easily satisfied by my box of Girl Scout thin mints. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” blasted through my headphones. Personally, my mood was more chipper than usual however quickly subsided into a nostalgic hangover.

It may be March, but the true Christmas spirit lives on Court Street in Athens and I couldn’t resist soaking in the memories. Just in case you needed a little reminder:

7 sustainable Christmas gifts

Christmas should be fun … but it should be fun for our wallets and our planet, too.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste in the U.S. increases more than 25%. This waste consists of uneaten food, shopping bags, packaging, bows, ribbons, and wrapping paper. Not to mention all the trees that we kill to sustain our holiday cheer. But the waste doesn’t stop after New Year’s: our overwhelming consumption of goods during the holidays results in throwing out perfectly good household products and clothes throughout the rest of the year.

So here are seven gifts you can give this Christmas to have a great time and still feel good about yourself:

1.) Buy a living Christmas tree

If you want the look, feel, and smell of a real Christmas tree, then try out a potted, living tree! You can dress it up so it looks just as regal as a traditional, dead tree. Enjoy it in you living room now: plant it and enjoy it in your yard later…

book tree
Photo by Greg Rutty

2.) Make your own “Funky Tree”!

A funky tree is a tree that anyone can make on a low budget just by putting together things you find around the house … like books or egg cartons!

When you use items that would have been thrown out or recycled and make something functional out of them, it’s called Upcycling. It’s the even-better alternative to recycling because by using the objects in their current form (like, say, making a Christmas tree out of egg cartons or plastic tubing) you save the fossil fuels it would have required to convert the objects back into raw materials again. Check out this funky, up cycled tree to the left.

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3.) Knit Mom a hat!

What better way to thank the woman who birthed and reared you than to knit her a cute little hat to keep her head warm this Christmas?

The only person who would appreciate a handmade hat as much as your own mom is the mom of a cute little kid if you make him/her one of these children’s Shrek hats!

 

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4.) Give that smelly friend some eco-friendly soap.

Maybe that guy who sits next to you in Psych 101 is just allergic to the harsh chemicals and parabens in most commercial soaps. This holiday season give the gift of hygiene that’s gentle on the skin and the planet. Mountain Laurel Gifts on Court Street is selling Space Cadet soap bars for $6. They feature unique scent-combos like “lavender, rosemary, chamomile,” and “peppermint, orange.” And this local Athens business isn’t messing. Check out the ingredients label on Space Cadet Soaps: nothin’ but nature’s goodness!

 

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5.) Purchase some eco-friendly salve that saves homeless puppies.

Appalachian Earth Sisters makes hand-crafted, organic salve (it’s a natural version of Vaseline) out of organic extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and beeswax. They are a “full nonprofit”: all proceeds from the salve sold in Athens, OH goes to Athens County Humane Society to house and care for stray dogs and cats. You can find Appalachian Earth Sisters salve at Import House and Mountain Laurel Gifts on Court Street.

 

IMG_02446.) Paste together a collage.

Pull together some pictures, print them out at Minutemen Press on West Washington, and paste them in a crazy pattern with glue and pasteboard from College Bookstore on Court Street.

To the left is a collage I put together for my Dad one Christmas. Feel free to cut some photos out in rectangles, and cut others on the outline of the subject of the photo — this way you’ll make certain photos pop.

 

 

7.) Give the gift of a warm home by rescuing a stray cat or dog!

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If you or someone you know is in the position to take care of an animal long-term, then go through Athens County Humane Society to rescue a little buddy to curl up by the fire with. And remember, don’t buy an animal through Petland or other businesses that buy from abusive puppy mills. Adopt your friend through your local shelter or humane society.

 

 And one last tip: wrap your gift with newspaper instead of wrapping paper!

Wrapping paper is so early 2000s. Impress all your friends with this creative alternative. Re-use paper such as newspaper and customize the content of the newspaper to your friend!

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blacklemag.com

 

 

 

7 gifts you can buy Mom at Import House

When you think of the Import House on 68 N. Court St, “Mom” is not the first person who comes to mind. But with Christmas approaching, the countdown for finding Mom the perfect gift is in full swing. Intricate tobacco and hookah pipes, glass-blown bongs and wild tapestries don’t exactly scream “Mom.” Lucky for you, this local emporium is not limited to these options. Walk inside and you will be overwhelmed by a plethora of local and often fair trade merchandise that your mom will be delighted to unwrap on Christmas.

Here are seven gifts you can buy for your mom this Christmas:

1) Silk-woven Scarves: $32

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2) Wild Berry incense sticks and cones: 10 for $2

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3) Stress-relieving coloring books: $10-$20

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4) Athens’ own Herbal Sage Tea Company loose leaf tea: $9

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5) Seeking Balance candles: $15

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6) Powers Family Farm soap: $7

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7) The fanny pack: $10-$20

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There you have it folks, Christmas gifts for your mom are made possible thanks to Import House.

Review: Bobcats’ favorite holiday movies

While some of us may have begun celebrating Christmas a month ago, for those of you who are adamant about not listening to a single verse of “Jingle Bells” until Thanksgiving has passed, the holiday season is now officially upon us. And what would the Christmas season be like without all those classic holiday movies, both new and old? I asked a couple Bobcats to name their favorite seasonal flicks, so if you choose to celebrate Christmas, make sure to schedule time in your winter break to watch these films – odds are they’ll all be on ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas at some point!

1) Elf (2003) 
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Elf is my favorite Christmas movie because there is so much physical comedy and every time I watch it, I notice something new.” – Lucas Hackenburg, Senior

It’s hard to believe this instant classic is twelve years old this year. Will Ferrell stars as the lovable Buddy the Elf who, after being raised by elves in the North Pole, makes the trek to New York City to find his real dad, whom he is shocked to find on Santa’s Naughty List. With such iconic scenes as Buddy pressing all the elevator buttons because it “looks like a Christmas tree” and classic lines such as “I’m sorry I ruined your lives and shoved eleven cookies into the VCR,” this movie is just as endearing and funny with every viewing as it was the first time you saw it.

2) The Polar Express (2004)

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The Polar Express is my favorite movie because it’s a fun and heartfelt Christmas movie. When I watch it I feel like a little kid again, with the anticipation building up for Christmas Day. The idea of the bell and how only those who believe in Santa can hear it is an idea that really warms my heart. And on that topic, when my oldest nephew was about two or so he went on a Polar Express train ride. At the end, he got a bell from Santa just like the ones in the movie and for Christmas that year he gave to me as a gift. It was probably the most heartfelt gift I’ve ever received. The bell and the overall movie is just a really good reminder to myself about what Christmas is all about. It’s not about the presents or the cookies – it’s about believing in something bigger than oneself. It’s about the magic of the season bringing people together and it’s about being happy. The Polar Express reminds me of this magic every time I watch it. Also, I just really love the “Hot Chocolate” song on the train ride in the movie.” – Maureen Mierke, Junior

Maureen basically said it all. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg and starring Tom Hanks in various roles, this movie stunned audiences with its beautiful and realistic animation and the childlike wonder it inspires. If you don’t tear up when “Hero Girl” and “Lonely Boy” (they’re never given actual names) sing “When Christmas Comes to Town,” your heart just may be two sizes too small. And yes, I know that’s not from The Polar Express. You get my point.

3) A Christmas Story (1983)

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“It’s my favorite because every single year my family and I watch the 24-hour showing of it on TBS.” – Cheyenne Buckingham, Junior

As Cheyenne said, this movie is so dearly loved by audiences old and young that it has its own 24-hour marathon every year. Nearly everyone is familiar with the leg lamp and the image of Ralphie’s poor little brother Randy lying in the snow, unable to get up due to the numerous layers of winter clothing forced onto him by his mother. The movie was largely filmed in Cleveland and the Christmas Story house is now open to visitors as a museum.

4) The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

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Now for a couple of my personal favorite Christmas movies. Before you groan and dismiss this choice because it features the Muppets, I’m going to need you to stop and give this film a chance. This adaptation of Dickens’s famous tale is so popular that Buzzfeed proclaimed it “the best Carol of them all,” and for good reason. Michael Caine and Kermit the Frog are a perfect Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit, respectively. You will laugh out loud at the narration provided by Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat, and you will be appropriately scared out of your wits by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (it looks very much like a Dementor from the Harry Potter universe). Your heart is guaranteed to grow three sizes – again, I’m aware that that’s a reference to a different story – and you will be humming all the catchy tunes for days afterward.

5) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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No holiday movie list would be complete without this timeless tale from director Frank Capra. The style of this movie has been copied time and time again by numerous television shows and other films, but nothing compares to the original. Although the greater part of the film doesn’t actually take place at Christmastime, the holiday season seems to be the perfect time for viewing this flick with your loved ones and a cup of hot chocolate. You’ll empathize with poor George Bailey (portrayed excellently by the inimitable Jimmy Stewart) as he grows from an ambitious child with big dreams to an adult exhausted by the reality of life who can never seem to catch a break. You will shed a happy tear when George sees how many lives he’s touched and how different the world would have been without him, and you will smile when you hear Zuzu’s oft-repeated line, “Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings!” This story will continue to resonate for generations to come because so many people can relate to George’s plight and because it ends on a joyful note. As Clarence Odbody says, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”