It’s nearing the end of October and we all know what that means – the holidays are right around the corner. And if your mail delivery is anything like mine, you have already started receiving ads, coupons, circulars, and even packages of return address labels decorated with pine trees, snowflakes, and holiday lights. Next, the 1,000 page catalogs will start showing up, filled with tons of plastic doodads that your friends, neighbors, and family members will give to each other only to see them thrown away by February 1. The holiday season is a wasteful period of the year, where the most well-intentioned behavior leads to environmental destruction. This year, why not try something different?
While it’s all too easy – and who doesn’t like easy this time of year – to pick up a “made especially for quick gift giving” type present for someone, there are many ways you can make gift recipients feel loved while doing your part to help protect our one and only planet. To get the ball rolling and get you talking about all your options for this year before it gets to late, here are a bunch of ideas you can try out for yourself this year.
Buy an Experience
Have someone who always wanted to go skydiving? Get them a learner’s package at the local airport. Your teenage son like to drive fast? How about a day driving a race car down at the track? And for that sports-obsessed husband or wife, why not pick up a four pack of game tickets for his or her favorite team? Sure beats getting another bag of funny socks, and the memories will last a lifetime (unlike the socks).
Make Something by Hand
If you can paint, sculpt, work wood or leather, or even just draw caricatures really well, those kinds of gifts have a lot more meaning behind them then the cheap pedicure machine you can pick up while standing in line at Marshall’s.
Cook a Meal
Believe me, everyone likes a good meal or a box of their favorite cookies. In fact, I would venture to guess that most people would prefer that over (yet another) Chia Pet in the shape of a dog or cat. Homemade cookies and other deserts are always a sure-fire hit, and although they won’t last till the next day they carry a lot of meaning. Taking the time to make something for someone shows them you care more than just enough to click “Buy Now” on Amazon.
Spend Some Time Helping Out
Elderly or disabled neighbors and family members could probably use some help around the house, whether it’s doing a little cleaning or removing dead tree branches from the back yard. Why not offer up some of your time to truly make a difference for someone this season? Would mean a heck of a lot more than another dumb coffee mug and can help you really connect with someone in your life.
The holidays don’t have to be the trash-filled season that companies and ad agencies shoot for every year. By making small changes in your behavior, you can make the holidays more about people than stuff. I am willing to bet that if you only choose a few of the above to try, you’ll feel much better about giving gifts than if you simply carried home a bag from the mall full of cheap stuff made in China.
And for those of you already doing these types of things each year, what can you add to the list to encourage others to do the same?