5 Sustainable Ways to Give More and Spend Less! By
Giving gifts that are personal and unique require imagination and time. We have a few ideas for sustainable giving below…and fortunately they don’t take a lot of time. Forget all the stuff, it’s the thought that counts during the holidays. Why not make it a bit more personal and meaningful this year with a few of the following ideas:
1. Homemade treats like cookies, candy, chutney, or preserves make excellent gifts. Last year, with an overabundance of homegrown tomatoes, we made spicy Moroccan tomato chutney in the summer and shared our organic harvest with friends and family for a tasty Christmas treat. You could make some granola with the kids and package it up for grandma, create dried soup mixes with colorful pastas in jars with homemade labels, concoct cocoa powders with personalized mugs…the list really is endless here.
2. Give services instead of stuff! You must have lots to offer…this could include childcare services, dog walking, car wash and detail, raking & gardening, painting inside or out, cooking or shopping for an elderly friend, laundry detail for a few weeks, or general cleaning for a close friend. You could also give music lessons or offer tutoring services if you’ve got something like that to share…
3. Share lucky things…we’ve all got them (or we think we do). Whether yours is a furry rabbit foot or a stone worn smooth with a ring all the way around it, a lucky charm is a great gift. Perhaps it’s a found object or a special shell from a perfect beach. Pass it along with a good story and let your recipient experience the luck or joy it has brought to you. It’s almost like giving a bit of magic.
4. Re-gifting and second-hand goods were once considered “cheap.” However, these days used gifts are some of the kindest of all to the environment, as they use no energy or resources. You’ll have to use your own judgment here… but things like vintage clothing, art books, old bikes, dusty sports equipment (you thought you would use), forgotten tools, and grown-out-of toys and children’s clothes. There are loads of finds in your own cupboards but there are some downright treasures at the local thrift stores…
5. If you really want to spend money, opt for gift certificates or theater tickets as they come at no expense to the environment…maybe spring for a much needed massage, help a budding artist with a painting class at Virginia Museum of Fine Art, or give exciting tickets to the IMAX movie at the Science Museum.