Green Holiday Gifts
Its that time of year that we all hate, yes "Shoppingmas"! Get thee down to your local temple of spending, or log in online to the holy Ama-kin (one day shipping via angels available!). Really though, its the time of year that we do give gifts to friends and relatives, so let me offer some green alternatives.
Top on my list to give are books. If they don't have a copy of Greer's "Green Wizardry", then that's a natural stocking stuffer. If they got that from you last year, then consider our own Teresa Peschel's "Suburban Stockade". Its a great second book on the skills we need to relearn. Other than that, hit the book stores and take a look at their discounted books. I've gotten several garden and herbal books for a deep discount. Don't forget some of your local bookstores too.
Give A Journal
Writing down what is on your mind in a personal journal is something I've recently stated doing. I never did before but I've found that keeping a journal really keeps me focused on the important things. I have one main one which I write in in the evening when I have some personal time, but I also keep a smaller pocket notebook on me during the day to jot things down for adding to my larger journal later. Good for teenagers, though they may roll there eyes at you for it. Don't be surprised if you find them writing in it later.
Last couple of years, my sister has been giving me a pull over jacket. Not really a sweater, but something I can pull on when I feel a chill. Try not to get one that is ugly though, lol, no Christmas themed ones please. A plus with giving warm clothing, it can cut down on your energy costs. Also always welcomed is a couple of pair of good thick socks. Nothing makes you cold more than chilly toes.
Gift Of Seeds
Many seed sellers offer gift certificates. Grab a copy of their catalog and put a bow on it with a card. Great gift for people with younger children. Starting plants by seed is a good way to introduce children to the wonder of growing things. For an apartment dweller, try an indoor mushroom kit.
Make Buying Bulk Easier
Single use plastic containers are a waste, especially for grocery items. Good thing, some grocers are wising up to the impact and how much people want alternatives. For your friends who are eco-conscious consider getting them a set of collapsible plastic container like these or reusable produce bags for the grocery or farmer's market like these.
Give A Shopping Trip To The Local Thrift Store
One way to make gift shopping fun is to get everyone together before the holiday (or after) for a trip to a local Thrift Store. Give everyone a predetermined amount of money and let them find a treasure or two they want. Great way to give more life to already made things.
Don't Forget To Green The Way You Give Too:
Skip The Wrapping Paper
Instead of wrapping paper or the new disposable, gift bags, why not put your present into a real reusable cloth bag, one they can use to bring home groceries later? Even better for next year, take the time to sew your own. Too many supposed reusable bags are flimsy and poorly made. Teresa Peschel has a book on that too ('Sew Cloth Grocery Bags: Make Your Own in Quantity for Yourself, for Gifts, and for Sale').
Scale Back The Number Of Gifts
Don't give into the marketing hype that you have to give many gifts or a gift to everyone. One or two gifts from the heart are better than a sled full of meaningless stuff that will gather dust in the closet.
Make Gift Giving Fun
If you do have a large family or circle of friends consider making the gift giving fun with a "Yankee Swap". Here are the rules:
- Each person who wishes to participate contributes a wrapped gift, with a predetermined price tag.
- With everyone in a circle, randomly choose who will go first. That person then chooses ONE gift from the pile and opens it.
- The next person then has the option of choosing an unopened gift or "stealing" the gift from the first person. If the gift is stolen, the first person then chooses again.
- This continues through participants until the last gift is opened.
- But the kicker: A gift cannot be stolen more than three times; the third person to steal keeps the gift!
What ideas do you have?