Some of the faux pas we made are easily remedied with pre-planning. At the time when we are all making resolutions, here are a few of our own.
1. Carry a coffee cup or water bottle to refill. It's embarrassing how many Styrofoam cups we used the past few weeks at different social events simply to quench our thirst.
2. Get some bags that fold small enough to keep in a purse. It's not enough to put them in the car if you don't carry them in the store. And bags aren't just for grocery shopping anymore. The mall, the pharmacy, the carry out place.
3. Gifts and gift wrap. I actually did better this time around. I decided that the fancy boxes were pretty enough on their own and reused ribbon from years past. I reused tissue paper to wrap things, and I also gave a lot of gifts that were actually gently used items that we no longer used. And yes, I told them what we were doing and complimented their gifts with something else, but it was nice to know that those items found second lives with other family members who will appreciate them. Find a home for working items that you no longer use.
4. Food waste. Stop shopping when you're hungry. Shop when you need to restock. Challenge yourself how long you can go without going to the store. Learn to bake bread so you don't run in the store for "one" thing and return with 15. Eat what you already have in the house before you buy more. That may mean getting creative with ingredients. With the internet, there is no reason you cannot find a recipe for anything you need to use up. Type in 3 ingredients that you have on hand and you will find hundreds of ideas and recipes for those ingredients.
5. Cancel catalogs. If you shopped and ordered something online this season, you are back on a catalog list. Cancel it. Even if you have before, your purchase authorized the company to put you back on their list. So cancel. Take some time to keep those catalogs from coming into your house in 2013.