Friday, December 19, 2008
'Tis Better to Give... part I
After a great deal of research, I've come across so much good information about gifts that I find it cumbersome for a single post. As such, I've decided to split it up into more digestible pieces. We all overeat during the holidays, but there is not need to do so while belly up to the blog table. For your enjoyment, I now present the first course of gift-giving advice for eco-savvy consumers.
In general, if you buy gifts, look for durable and re-usable items and resist the latest “fad” at the mall. Think of how many pet rocks, mood rings, and cabbage patch dolls ended up in the landfill! Consider the durability of a product before you buy it as a gift. Cheaper, less durable items often wear out quickly, creating waste and costing you money. In the end, it truly is the thought that counts, so spend some time thinking about your gift-giving efforts this year. You can not only provide a thoughtful token to your loved ones, but you can also help spread an ethic of sustainability and earth-friendly living.
• Give useful. Rather than giving Dad yet another tie he won’t wear or buying another toy car that will eventually settle to the bottom of a toy bin, give gifts people will really use. Think unique, healthful, and organic foods; organic and chemical-free soaps; shade-grown coffees; flowering or fruiting plants; drawing or writing sets with recycled paper and non-toxic ink pens; or memberships to an area zoo, museum or other child-friendly place.
• Give yourself. Set a good example by giving homemade food. Cookies, cakes, jams, bread and other baked goods make warm and welcome gifts for friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
• Give Green. Literally. For kids, start a savings account or give stocks or bonds. It’s fun to watch money grow and it teaches children the value of financial conservation.
• Give Creativity. Shop for gifts at antique stores, estate sales or flea markets, since one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Old clothes and jewelry make a great dress-up box for kids. Tools and gadgets make a great idea box for a young inventor. You can also have outdated “family heirloom” pieces refashioned into something current.
• Give Sustainability. Give gifts that encourage others to use less stuff, like a book about making crafts from reusable items, cookbook for leftovers, reusable tote bags. You can even set a good example by giving gifts that you made yourself from reused items.
• Give Conservation. Choose gifts that help reduce energy consumption or protect the environment. These can range from solar-powered cell phone and battery chargers and sun-driven garden fountains and bat boxes (for attracting nature’s most effective mosquito-zapper) to bicycles, organic-cotton sheets and pillowcases, and natural beeswax candle sets.
Part II tomorrow...