Aloha Beautiful Souls
The biggest commercial holiday is upon us. Last minute shopping, wrapping, and shipping can lead to frantic and panicked days. I know because I used to be that way.
Years ago, I decided that way of giving robbed me of the joy of giving. And I realized, too, it was depleting the earth’s resources for future generations.
While the winter holiday season brings good cheer for many people, it also brings a lot more solid waste to the landfill, harms the environment and adds additional debt to the average American family.
**According to a report by Standford University, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million additional tons per week!
If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just three presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
Here are a few suggestions that I have incorporated into my gift giving which ease stress on the earth, and save time and money.
Wrap your gifts in repurposed clothing and fabric. Use a fancy belt as a bow or some functional rope. Truly, you will be amazed at how well this will be received.
Make homemade gifts. A few ideas could be fermented vegetables, mead, preserves, lip balm, salves, bee’s wax candles, soap, or whatever you enjoy making. Think healthy and wholesome, and made with Earth-friendly ingredients. Wrap your delectables with a repurposed scarf. Create them with a friend or family member. Meaningful time spent with loved ones is the most memorable gift of all.
Repurpose gifts rather than buy something that someone might or might not enjoy.
Try thrift store and antique shopping. I’m a big garage sale person. I find incredible stuff, often brand new, unique and fun.
If you buy gifts, look for durable, functional and re-usable items. Resist the latest fad. Think of how many useless things end up in the landfill! For the gardener on your list, how about hard-to-find seeds for next year’s garden, or gardening tools?
Make a photo book filled with memories.
Support local artists and farmers. Share tickets to a concert, museum event or movie for a fun night out with friends.
Why not give of your time? Give an IOU to shovel snow, rake leaves, give a massage, or do home repairs.
Support a local organization in someone’s name.
Make a handmade and personal card stating: This card is good for (fill in the blank…) (For me here in Hawaii, it’s a hike or a swim followed by a picnic on the beach.)
Find gifts with a humanitarian and environmental message: a refillable thermos bottle, a canvas tote bag, a battery recharger or items made from recycled materials. Make a point to look for fair trade. Choose solar powered instead of battery powered products. Or better yet, choose something that requires no power at all. Books on nature, health, and love are excellent gifts, too.
There are also thousands of terrific organizations that you can give a gift in someone’s name. Perhaps your friend is really into saving endangered species or concerned about Human Rights. Below is a list of just a few.
Organizations as Gifts
Bioneers is a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges.
Heifer supporters help end hunger and poverty.
Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.
Stand With Standing Rock
Help to protect our water, our sacred places, and all living beings.
Through cutting-edge science, innovative policy and global reach, they empower people to protect the nature that we rely on for food, fresh water, and livelihoods.
Slow Food USA gathers likely and unlikely allies to transform the way we produce, consume, and enjoy food.
One more thought:
If you are receiving piles of mail order catalogs and other undesirable mail, all you have to do is call the company and ask them to PLEASE take you off their mailing list. Dead mail, especially colorful catalogs and magazines make great wrapping paper.
Wishing you a magnificent week, full of friends, family, wholesome food, time in nature and time for yourself.
Big Big Love,
Mama D, and all of us at Soil to Soul