Friday, May 28, 2010

Holiday Gift Ideas That Are Simple & Sustainable

Americans throw away, on average, about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared to any other time of the year. That equals about 25 million tons of trash during the Holidays above and beyond what we would already throw away. Unfortunately, due to high metallic and dye content in gift-wrap and the short fibers in tissue paper, most traditional gift-wrap is not recyclable.

Consider giving gifts that are both environmentally friendly and creative this holiday season. For instance, consider giving the gift of an experience. Not only does an experience create a lasting memory, it also does not create more clutter in your home or more trash in our landfills.

Gifts of Experience
Tickets to a concert, play or movie
Gift Certificate for a Spa Service such as a massage or facial.
Professional Lessons in one of the arts (Dance, Music, or Singing)
A Service with a professional such as a session with a Feng Shui Consultant or a professional organizer
Gift certificate for Travel

For smaller or less expensive gifts, think about a consumable or disappearing gift such as coffee, home-made baked goods, or flowers. For example, you could give some organic coffee along with biscotti and/or chocolates. I would also recommend choosing one theme, such as coffee, for example, and giving that gift to several people to save both time and money. There was one year that I gave several family members cashmere socks made of recycled cashmere sweaters. Each pair of socks had a simple, but beautiful, red bow tied around them. Several of my family members still comment on how those socks were one of their favorite gifts. Nobody minded that their gift was not unique only to them. You can simplify gift buying and often save time and money by purchasing several of the same gift.

Once you have selected the perfect gift, consider all the options in wrapping. It isnt necessary to wrap your gifts in many layers of tissue, boxes, paper, and bows. Instead, try using on of these creative options:

Wrap gifts in Childrens Art Work, Old Maps or Newspaper
Embellish gifts with Pinecones, Dried flowers, Buttons or Beads
Use the gift as the wrapping such as Cookies in a Jar

Also, consider not wrapping as another option. Author Sister Jose Hobday describes in her book Simple Living, a Native American tradition of giving unwrapped gifts. Wrapped gifts are shrouded in secrecy, while unwrapped gifts provide a flesh-to-flesh connection and a sense of unity between giver and receiver according to Native American tradition.

Remember the 3 Rs in whatever you choose to give this year: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. It is more important how much thought, creativity, and love you put into your gifts than how much you spent or how much wrapping you use. They do say, good things come in small packages. Lets add to that, with less packaging.

- By : Heidi DeCoux -

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