With Thanksgiving over, Black Friday past and Cyber Monday in full swing the countdown to Christmas begins, especially for shoppers! Hopefully you supported the second “Shop Local” event on Saturday to begin your holiday shopping, which is a great beginning to help your local economy through local businesses. Keep shopping locally throughout the year if you really want to help small businesses.
With the economy and families still struggling, with just a little thought there are gifts that can mean so much more this holiday season. During the “years of plenty” most of us just purchased gifts to give people without much thought because everyone we knew seemed to have an abundance of “things”. In these times we can now focus on what our family and friends really need or will appreciate.
Here are some of my ideas for gift-giving for those we care about. Most of my ideas revolve around gifts that can be used rather than packed away in a drawer or closet.
1. For the Locavore: buy an annual or 6 month membership to a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Not only is this a gift that will be appreciated, it helps support local farmers. Click here to find a local CSA…
2. For the Nature Lover: buy an annual pass to a State or National Park. It can be used at nearby parks or other parks within the State. Click here to find information about State Park passes. Click here to find information about National Park passes.
3. Buy a gift certificate to a local restaurant, preferably one of the recipients’ favorite, a certificate for a haircut, a massage, an acupuncture treatment, an oil change for their car, the “works” at the local car wash or something you know the recipient might be able to use. Look on the restaurant or shop/vendor’s website for information about gift certificates.
4. For the gourmet you know: a couple bottles of flavored oils or vinegars, exotic sea salt or a window-sill herb garden kit.
5. For the gardener: a native, drought tolerant plant. It could be a fruit tree, a butterfly attractor or a rose bush…look at the recipient’s garden to get an idea of what they enjoy.
6. Gift baskets of food or home-made goodies are always a heartfelt gift!
7. If Amazon.com is one of your favorite online shopping spots, consider going to the website through one of the non-profit websites like EWG (Environmental Working Group) where a portion of the sales are donated to the non-profit organization. EWG is one of my favorite organizations (sunscreen and cosmetic databases, etc)…they are the ones who research and disclose toxic chemicals in the products we use. Click here to shop on Amazon.com through a secure link from EWG or go directly to EWG.org to enter Amazon’s website after browsing all the great information.
8. For those who already have everything: why not donate money to an animal rescue or research organization like World Wildlife or Oceana, a Food Bank to help the Homeless or a cause the recipient feels strongly about.
9. What about making your gifts? I think we have moved away from giving handmade/homemade gifts, but with time becoming such a precious commodity those handmade gifts mean even more. You’ll save money by making gifts and feel a sense of pride in your creations!
10. Recycled gifts are a great option, especially for the green-minded person. Whether you make something out of recycled materials or you recycle/re-gift an item that someone can use you are helping to reduce waste, whether wasted space where you keep something you won’t use or something that gets tossed and ends up in a landfill.
These are only some ideas for gift-giving this holiday season. If you have a good idea for a greener gift add your suggestion in the comment box below.