Last year I cancelled almost all of my catalogs. You wouldn't have known it this past week. A whole new slew of catalog companies have found my name and address, and I've got a pile of holiday catalogs. I'll be going to catalog choice to cancel them sometime this week. Their arrival made one thing clear. It's time to start thinking about holiday giving.
I'll be talking a lot about gift choices in the upcoming weeks, but I thought I'd start out the conversation and get back to my regular Tuesday feature with a 10 Easy Ways list.
- Decide now to limit the number of gifts you give to your kids. I know this can be a difficult one, but in the past I've fallen into the trap of picking up a few little, inexpensive things just to make the pile look better under the tree. Those things rarely get played with. Things that go unused are a waste of the materials and energy it took to make and ship them.
- Don't buy new decorations just to have something new. If you have enough, be content.
- If you need decorations (yes, I know nobody NEEDS decorations, but people in their first apartment or home may want to decorate and have little) try buying used from thrift stores, yard sales, church rummage sales, etc.
- If you need to take a hostess gift, consider organic wine, fair trade chocolates, or soy candles - all are greener choices than their conventional counterparts.
- Belong to a club or organization that always does a cheapo pollyanna out of tradition?Buck tradition and suggest that everyone donates the money they would have spent on a lame gift to an agreed upon charity. You don't end up with a crummy gift, and a charity gets a boost up.
- If you buy a real tree, make sure it comes from a sustainable tree farm. If it's a local tree farm, all the better.
- Organize yourself before you go out shopping. Make lists and try to map out efficient routes to avoid excess driving.
- Commit to no paper products at holiday dinners. Buy extra plates at the thrift store. Borrow extra place settings or silverware from guests who are coming.
- Take stock of your gift wrap, cards and other supplies. Do you have a box full of two or three leftover cards per pack from years past that are just sitting there. Use them up before you buy new ones. Same with last years wrapping paper. Use the scraps. See if you can buy no new cards or paper this year.
- Be a good example, not an obnoxious one. Don't sit around the holiday dinner table talking incessantly about the ORGANIC pumpkin pie or how your coffee is FAIR TRADE or how GREEN your gifts are this year. Try to make your sustainability efforts be a natural part of your holidays, not the centerpiece of them.
See easy. Just trying one or two of these ideas can make a difference.