How many shopping days green? - Our Daily Green

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How many shopping days green?

Over the next few weeks, despite due diligence to keep junk mail at a minimum, our mailboxes will be filled with advertisements for any number of toys, clothes, unique gifts for the hard to buy for person and any other sort of glossy encouragement for consumers to $pend $pend $pend.

We have a paper recycling bin outside the door and try to keep the catalogues from even coming in the house, but now it's happening in emails, radio, billboards, television; the inundation of solitications to spend on stuff for others that adequately demonstrates an appropriate level of affection over the holiday season.

It's a difficult trap to avoid without seeming a Scrooge-like hater of the holidays. Our Daily Green does not hate the holidays or the friends and family in our group of acquaintances. We do hate the pressure to buy "stuff" that isn't particularly useful or interesting and often is manufactured under less than desirable circumstances. Fair trade goods are an exception and we've discussed them previously.

With some creativity, holidays can still be celebrated without mindless purchases but instead thoughtful, true demonstrations of affection. One of Our Daily Green's tried and true gifts of food has been a repeated success for many years.

layered gifts in a jarOne of our favorite gifts to both give and receive are the layered food mixes in jars. Everyone has to eat so having a simple go to meal or treat is a true gift of time, as well as the opportunity to reuse jars and fabric scraps. We save 32 oz. jars throughout the year to decorate and fill with different mixes. In the past, we've given cookie mix, soup mix, spiced tea, and hot chocolate. It's very easy to involve the entire family in the process of mixing the ingredients, layering, printing labels, decorating the jars. Wide mouth jars work best, but a narrow jar with a wide mouthed funnel enables the reuse of narrow mouthed jars.  Several recipes are available online, including the Gift in a Jar site, which also has printable labels and instructions for the gifts.

For the folks who have everything and are unlikely to cook, instead of a gift card to a big box store or a check, consider a microloan. Microloans can be purchased in increments of $20 dollars and up and help a small business or third world entrepeneur who would not qualify for financing get started. Interest payments are made on a regular basis and serve as a year round reminder of the gift without taking up shelf space, or getting filed away to a long forgotten corner of the house.

A gift of time is also appreciated in today's busy world. The one thing nobody can purchase is TIME. Consider an offer to run errands once a month, babysit small children for a day or evening, grocery shopping for an elderly person, anything that will offer time and talent to the recipient.

A little heart and creativity can guarantee a lovely, green, heartfelt holiday.

Gift giving (or not) is a hot topic in Our Daily Green's blog community...
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