Our Life on Christ

Saturday, December 24, 2011

10 Inexpensive Gifts & 5 Ways to Help the Earth During the Holidays

Yesterday we posted the 7 Reasons Christmas is Not a Big Deal in Our House along with a video about consumerism and commercialism (check it out!). We wanted to also offer some alternatives to traditional gift giving and ways that we can all be more conscious about protecting the earth during the holidays. We got these lists from The Center for a New American Dream.

10 Inexpensive Gifts

1. GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME by creating your own gift card for a service (e.g., babysitting, carwashing, petsitting, chores, making dinner, organizing an outing).

2. GIVE A HANDMADE GIFT like a memoir of cherished memories with that person, a book of family recipes, a collage of pictures and mementos, or a calendar filled with the birthdays and anniversaries of friends and family.

3. OFFER TO TEACH A SKILL YOU POSSESS (e.g., knitting, photography, computer skills, financial planning, a foreign language, music lessons, canning tomatoes, cooking a favorite recipe).

4. CONSIDER LESS GIMMICKY, LESS COMMERCIAL GIFTS for children, such as arts/crafts supplies, books, a magnifying glass, or building blocks.

5. CREATE A PAPERLESS HOLIDAY LETTER on the computer and email it to friends and family. If you do send cards by mail, make your own cards or buy cards made from 100% recycled materials.

6. HAVE A WHITE ELEPHANT PARTY at the office instead of a traditional gift exchange, where each person brings a wrapped secondhand item in good condition, or do a cookie exchange.

7. DRAW NAMES IN YOUR FAMILY FOR GIFT-GIVING (for extra fun and surprise, make it "Secret Santas"), so that you can put more time and thought into one gift instead of having to give to several people.

8. SHOP FOR USED ITEMS for all or most of your holiday gifts (e.g., local thrift store, Craigslist, Freecycle, used products on Amazon or eBay).

9. SHARE THE GIFT OF MUSIC by caroling, and include visits to elderly neighbors or a nursing home. Or, gather friends and family for an in-home holiday sing-a-long.

10. GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY by preparing care packages for the homeless, or volunteering at an organization to help those in need during the holiday season.

5 Ways to Help the Earth During the Holidays

1. ADOPT A "LESS IS MORE" ATTITUDE toward holiday decorating. Opt for natural trimmings such as clippings from local evergreens and holly bushes.

2. SAVE PAPER by wrapping gifts in newspaper comics, junk mail, paper bags decorated with markers, old maps, phone books, or other reused paper.

3. PREPARE YOUR HOLIDAY MEALS with as many seasonal, locally grown, and/or organic foods as possible.

4. REDUCE JUNK MAIL by removing your name from mailing lists of unwanted holiday catalogs. For more tips on how to do this, go to http://www.newdream.org/programs/beyond-consumerism/avoiding-advertising.

5. CELEBRATE BUY NOTHING DAY on November 25 (see http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd) and spend that day doing community service, visiting an elderly friend, or helping a neighbor.

Can you think of other inexpensive gifts or ways to help the earth during the holidays (or any time of year)?

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