The Holiday Shopping Season, along with swarms of daily deals and emails, direct mailers to outlet malls, coupon books, newspaper circulars and more. So how to lighten the impact without taking away the meaning or excitement of this gift giving time of year?
Take a deep breath and be mindful of these options as you merrily swipe your way through the season!
Shop Local – While you probably have to do some shopping at a big box retailer or the Apple store for those electronic devices and such, remember those local-to-you merchants for other gift giving ideas. Did you know for every $100 dollars you spend with a local merchant, $68 goes right back into your community versus $44 for national retailers.
Buy Natural – If faced with a choice, try to purchase those products made with natural or non-toxic ingredients. Soy candles versus wax. Skincare and body products without the parabens and synthetic fragrances. If you are not sure, do a quick search via Good Guide or Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Look for Vintage – These days there are plenty of second-hand and consignment shops around with great little finds that are looking for a new home. Consider a glass or crystal bowl filled with homemade goodies or grab a pair of champagne flutes , tie a ribbon on the stems to go along with a festive beverage. If you are in need of holiday tins to package your baked goods, stores like Goodwill always seem to have these around. And don’t forget about Ebay and Esty for other pre-owned, vintage finds.
Give an Experience: A dinner gift certificate to a local restaurant, tickets to a play or movie, or something you or your recipient might not normally do can make memories that last.
Adopt an Animal: There are many ways to show you care by adopting an animal through various organizations. From national groups like the World Wildlife Fund or Audubon Society, you might also try to even find a worthy cause right in your own backyard. Last year we adopted a wolf for our son and lo and behold, with a quick Google search, was the wonderful Wolf Sanctum just a few hours away also giving us the opportunity to plan a spring road trip to to visit the wolves in person.
Rescue a Toy: Visit your Salvation Army, Goodwill or seek out in a yard sale for a small toy, book or item your child might enjoy. Last year, I found a cute little plush porcupine with a missing eye and a wooden toy plane from the Thomas the Tank Engine series that had a chip on the wing (exactly like one we lost at the beach). I knew my kids would really like each one, so I put them in a brown paper bag and scrawled “From the Island of Misfit Toys” and they loved it!
Ponder the Packaging: And consider pre-cycling if faced with two similar choices. Which one might be a better option? Cranberries pre-packaged in a non-recyclable plastic bag, or fresh ones you can scoop into a recyclable produce bag – or better yet, one of your own reusuables.
Ask Questions: So the sweater for your mother-in-law isn’t made of organic cotton. What other attributes might it have to help lessen the impact. Is it made in the USA or oversees? What it is made of? Just how good is the manufacturer’s efforts in terms of sustainability? Check here for more questions to ask to green that non-green clothing purchase.
Donate in Lieu of Gifts: Let’s face most of us are pretty fortunate despite the times, so give where it moves you or to what would be most meaningful to the other on your gift list. There are so many worthy causes and groups that can probably use your monetary donation more than your recipient can use or need your material gift.
Whatever you do and however you choose to do it, do it thoughtfully and unconditionally, as “the manner of giving, is worth more than the gift”.