La-la-la walking in a winter wonderland…… A gracious hi-dee-ho-ho-ho Planet Peeps! Well, it’s finally snowing in western New York. For some this means the holiday season is upon us; for others well, we just hand over more money to our utility companies (but less if you have an energy audit conducted and replace old insulation, seal drafts around windows and doors and oh, you all know the drill by now. If you would like more tips email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you info).
If you remember our discussion from last week; and I’m sure you all do since reading Clay’s Green Corner is the highlight of your week. Right? Yes, right! You’ll recall we were going to spend some time this week talking about gift giving. No matter how you celebrate the upcoming holidays, no matter your belief or non-belief system, you have friends, relatives, colleagues, others in your life that celebrate in some way. In these tough economic times, this poses a dilemma; what to do with so many people but so little cash.
Since this is a sustainability site (or so I’m reminded), let’s look at some alternatives to the traditional gift exchanging soiree. Don’t we all have enough “stuff”? I’m not talking about necessities, items that make our lives more comfortable, but stuff/stuff. The stuff we run out and buy, hoping the person we give it to will find some use for this brand new stuff. Well, just stuff-it!
Sidebar: did you know you can purchase a t-shirt that says “Stop buying stuff”. I do believe the irony fairy had a coronary over that one……….
Ok, back to not buying stuff. Here’s what you can do: give the gift of time (no, not a watch-geez, pay attention); do you know of someone who has some young children nipping at their heals 24-7? Why not get those special folks some movie tickets and offer to babysit for free. Do they have elderly parents? Do the same. Know of someone who is under or unemployed? How about offering to run errands for them, or give of your time so they can get to an interview. Many of us have very strong egos and hate to ask for help like this. So, don’t wait. Make ‘em an offer they can’t refuse.
If you have folks in your life who are doing OK, why not make a donation to their favorite charity in their name. Can be global or local such as animal welfare, Red Cross, United Way, hospitals, food banks, etc. If you agree politically, make a donation to an advocacy site.
If you still want to get someone ‘something’, especially kids (I mean, really is their anything more awful than receiving socks and underwear for Christmas- humbug! Toys is where it’s at); buy toys that don’t run on batteries, are made from sustainable items like bamboo, and of course games that exercise their minds, are fun and stretch their imagination.
Remember Black Friday, Cyber Monday? Another buying holiday that is becoming very popular is Small Business Saturday. You may have missed it, but like those other days you are not limited on that particular day alone. Small Business Saturday is an answer to getting away from the big box stores/chains and supporting those shopkeepers, restaurants and other local companies that are contributing to your city and town by providing goods and services with the personal touch. How about shopping at those places this year? I’m sure they would appreciate your patronage and you might pick yourself up something nice and unexpected, too.
If you are still stumped, how about buying someone something that has been used before? What???? I mean things like simple antiques, many of your friends/family probably collect “something”. Why not add to their collection. It’s good for the environment and fun all at once. The Green Corner loves to haunt flea markets and garage sales looking for magazines from years gone buy and give them as birthday, holiday, anniversary gifts. It’s a fun trip down memory lane and a little bit of social history rolled into one.
We really do have a lot of options. Please don’t over extend yourself and your pocketbook. Your friends love you for who YOU are, so give of yourself. As for family, well, you’re on your own for that.
Have a terrifc week and we’ll see you next time at the snow-covered Clay’s Green Corner.