Friday, December 16, 2011

Sustainable Gift-Giving

  Tips for Sustainable Giving    

If you missed out on our event in Towers yesterday (when we made our own holiday cards) you don't have to miss out on the tips we gave students for gift-giving this holiday season. Here are some ideas for giving without taking from the planet - because we all know, its really the thought that counts! 

Make your own cards!

Services instead of Goods
Gifts of service require little or no use of natural resources, and are very personal and memorable. The gift of You - your time, energy or expertise are as 'giftworthy' as anything you can put in a box. Massage, music lessons, childcare, car wash, dogwalk, lawncare, tutoring, cooking, gardening, a book of coupons for household chores....  

Experiences to enjoy and remember 

Giving the gift of an experience can bring fun, learning and memories that hold value for years. For example, tickets to a show or concert can offer lasting value with minimal impact on resources. Sports events, local attractions, rock-climbing centers, ice-rink memberships, and museum memberships are other examples. Experiences can be other than 'entertainment' - for example, a membership to a car-sharing club in your city, or a garden plot in a local community garden. 

Antiques and Collectibles 
Value and appeal don't always have to mean 'new and shiny'. Antiques and collectibles have time-earned intrinsic value as well as the added appeal of history and sentimental value. Personal gifts are appreciated and remembered because they tell a story. And because they're "re-used", there's no impact on the environment. 

Found Objects
We all have our little treasures, our discoveries from nature. An unusual shell, crystal, wood burl, arrowhead, bone, shark tooth..... Over time we get used to seeing them and our interest wanes. Once you've enjoyed your special discoveries long enough, pass them on as gifts and they'll be "rediscovered" with enthusiasm, and impart their wonder again.

Homemade Edibles 
 Homemade is heartfelt. Your time and energy, and culinary creativity, are just as valued as that store-bought gift which they may not really even need. Your time spent in the kitchen is probably no more than the time spent gift-hunting online or at the mall. And the gift of food is personal, easy on the environment, and not likely to go to waste. 

Flower Power 
Grow your own gifts. Unique floral varieties can be raised in your small home plot, and make interesting, appealing gifts which anyone can appreciate. Homegrown cut flowers or potted plants make great gifts - the result is the same: eye catching, easy on the environment and rich with sentiment. If you prefer to buy flowers as gifts, choose from 'in season' locally grown varieties. The maintenance of greenhouses and long-distance transportation to provide summer flowers in winter can involve significant expenditures of energy, coming from fossil fuels.

"Used" Gifts

It's time to look at "used" in a new light. Giving a used gift was once out of the question - it made the gift-giver feel cheap. And no one wants to risk offending the recipient. But used gifts are the kindest of all to the environment, as no energy or resources are expended.

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