(NaturalNews) During the holiday season consumerism is at an all time high. Old gifts, including appliances, clothing, gadgets and toys, are replaced with this year's model, fashion, gadget, etc. creating clutter and making it necessary to find more space to store last year's (and all the previous year's) gifts. What can you do to make sure your old appliances, clothes, toys, gadgets, etc. don't end up in your local landfill? How can you influence your friends, family and neighbors to make the choice to reuse, reduce and re-gift this holiday season? Teaching our children the importance of the holiday spirit (i.e. the holiday season is not just about receiving) is another area that a lot of people find challenging. Feeling better about your giving and receiving choices is only one benefit of your holiday choices, other benefits include boosting local economies, teaching children valuable life lessons, creating lasting traditions, and making a difference in your community.
With the down-turning economy looming over us this holiday season you may be trying to figure out more creative options for the gift giving season. If you are more concerned with your impact on the environment or teaching your children the importance of giving meaningful gifts than with the current situation of the economy creative gift giving is probably at the top of your list. There is currently a movement (started in Canada) called 'Buy Nothing Christmas' http://www.buynothingchristmas.org that's main purpose is to oppose the commercialization of Christmas. This may be a little extreme for some but there are other options. For those who are looking for more environmentally friendly gifts consider giving experiences instead of objects. Some ideas to consider are:
1.Restaurant Gift Certificates – for the food enthusiast 2.Spa Gift Certificates – for someone that enjoys being pampered 3.A Falconry Lesson – for the bird lover 4.A Glass Blowing Experience – for the artist 5.Ski Resort Gift Certificate – for your outdoors adventurist
If you stop and think about it, you may find that some of the best gifts you have ever received were experience gifts. Kids love this stuff; you could do anything from sending them to Space Camp to horseback riding lessons. The options are limitless and you won't clutter your loved ones closet this way!
If you would prefer to give a physical gift consider:
1.Membership to an organic wine club – for the wine enthusiast 2.Hand crafted chocolates – this is a great stocking stuffer too 3.Handmade gifts (check out etsy.com) – you can support the local economy of your receiver this way too 4.Make your own gifts – this could be a scrap book, hat, scarf, mittens, candles, food (your options are limitless, what are you good at?)
Handmade gifts are a great idea. If you are more interested in purchasing from local artisans, look in your area or search etsy.com. If you want to make your own gifts check out crafster.com if you need some great ideas. If you are going to make your own gifts get your children involved. This is a great way for them to learn (and appreciate) the importance of the gift giving season.
For the person that has everything there are options as well. You could donate money to a non-profit of their choices, plant a tree (or 100), adopt an animal in their name, hire them a maid for the day (if they don't already have one), or give them wild flower seeds. These are just some ideas for the person with everything. If they have everything they may also enjoy one of the experience gift options. Trying to find a gift for the person with everything can be difficult, if you think out of the box chances are you will come up with something they love.
If you would prefer to give clothing consider finding out exactly what types/size/colors the person you are buying for would like. If you are unsure perhaps it would be a better idea to give a gift certificate to their favorite store. Remember, they are always great sales after the New Year and this way they can purchase what fits their style and there is less chance of it hanging out in their closet. These are only a few of the ideas that you could do for the holiday season. Get creative and you will come up with something amazing and perfect for your loved ones.
To help create community or help others, donate toys/cloths/food to help the less fortunate. Don't buy new items; go through your older stuff that you don't wear/use anymore. Have your children pick out toys that they aren't playing with anymore (but are still in good shape) and donate them. Another option is to get together with some neighbors and hold a "yard sale" where everyone that shows up can have one or two items (clothes and toys that you and your children have picked out); you could even offer to wrap the items to get more involved (and use recycled wrapping paper). There is something that everyone can do, even if it's just listing items on your local Freecycle. This type of giving makes you feel good, helps you clean out your closets and your kid's drawers, preparing you for the onslaught of new items from family members who are very into the commercial aspect of the holiday season, and it will help your local community. If you want to do a little something extra for your community you can always volunteer at your local church, soup kitchen or meals on wheels. Your time and energy is greatly appreciated and adds to the spirit of the holiday season.
The holiday season is a warm and happy time of year for most. It is a time for celebrating with family and friends. However, celebrating with your loved ones does not mean that your environmental goals need to be put on hold. Often times choosing more environmentally friendly products for your holiday gifts results in surprised receivers. The price tag on the gift should be inconsequential, but if you are going for something a little more extravagant there are options. The point is, you are being creative and giving gifts that are meaningful to yourself and hopefully the person receiving them. Even for people who do not care as much about the environment as you, it is possible to find environmentally friendly creative gifts that are sure to wow them! Here's to a happy, healthy, environmentally friendly holiday season.
About the author
Phoebe Kerr is a mom, and a writer and researcher in her spare time. Nap time is when she reads and does the homework on whatever class she is taking that month. A majority of her researching pertains to her life experience at that given time. Her extensive knowledge and resources range from animal nutrition to alternative healing modalities such as homeopathy and herbalism to alternative child rearing. Phoebe has always been drawn to the natural world. Growing up in a rural town in Vermont gave her a deep seated love and respect for nature and the natural world. She attended university for Biology but in 2005 after starting her graduate studies in Agriculture had a large upheaval and her life took a different path. Her father-in-law was diagnosed with ALS resulting in the relocation of her and her partner to be close to his family. That was when her passion for healing the body was ignited. Since that time, her father-in-law has passed, but her desire for knowledge and helping others through education or hands on healing of loved ones had just begun to unfold.
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