We’re all wrapped up in the holidays now. Between planning for holiday gatherings and making your home festive and bright, you may think it’s just too difficult to find time to remember the environment. But, you don’t have to be a Scrooge to Mother Earth this time of year. Here are a few simple ways to simultaneously deck the halls and give gifts that are also presents for our planet:
The Gift of Time: Why not give friends and family members the gift of your time instead of more stuff that will simply collect dust? Offer to make a friend a home-cooked meal or babysit your sister’s kids one evening so she can go on a date night. Make a book filled with redeemable “coupons” and watch your loved one’s face light up when they see all the extra time you’ll be gifting them.
The Gift of Charity: Each of us has a cause (or two) that is near and dear to our hearts. Why not learn which charity tugs at your friend’s heartstrings and make a donation in their name? It’s easy to do online and is a thoughtful way to show your friend or family member that you truly care about them and the causes they believe in. And, don’t forget about Giving Tuesday. This is a great, global movement focused on helping others through the gift of your time, donations, goods or your voice.
The Gift of Your Neighborhood: This year, why not shop in your own neighborhood and discover local stores? Perhaps there’s that little corner shop that you’ve been meaning to explore or maybe you can find that gift card you need at your local supermarket instead of driving across town to get it. By shopping locally, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and lessening the hustle and bustle of the season.
The Gift of An Experience: A recent Forbes Magazine article says it best: “We like buying things, at least we think we do. While buying a new gadget or a new car may be satisfying or thrilling for a short while, the thrill always fades and we find ourselves back in the same place, seeking the next purchase to keep the feeling going. A better way to spend your money and keep that satisfying feeling alive is to stop buying stuff and start buying experiences!”
The Gift of a Service: Did you know that consumers are responsible for more than 60% of Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions? That’s because consumer products typically require large amounts of energy, water, and materials to produce them. To counteract this, consider giving the gift of service this year. Imagine the look of joy, relief, and gratitude on your aunt’s face when she realizes that you’re paying for someone to clean her house after the holidays. Services require fewer resources than products and are great job-creators as well.
Give the Gift (but remember Mother Earth): We get it…sometimes you just have to give a gift. After all, how many children have placed the “gift” of a home-cooked meal on their wish list to Santa? But, when purchasing that gift, please do your best to avoid products with onerous amounts of plastic packaging and please consider presents made of recycled materials and use recycled paper to wrap that gift. Lastly, don’t forget to recycle that sea of wrapping paper in your living room once the holidays are over!