Although I’m a traditionalist when it comes to decorating for and celebrating holidays (i.e. Christmas comes after Thanksgiving), I do think about and prepare for the season of gift-giving throughout the year – partly because I enjoy it and partly because my goals for giving make the process a little more involved (but oh, so much more satisfying!).
Goal 1: Think small.
I love celebrating Small Business Saturday (and not just on that one Saturday). Craft fairs, second-hand stores, and mom-and-pop shops deserve our business year-round, but even more so during the holidays, when we have a few extra dollars to spend. Your purchase can increase the year-end bonus for a chain store’s CEO or help a local business stay in business.
Goal 2: Think outside the box.
The older I get, the more I appreciate things that money can’t buy. A homemade gift. A gesture or experience. Time with someone I love. Earlier this year, the So Kind website launched, giving me (and you) the chance to ask for the kinds of gifts that don’t necessarily need a box. The sample registries alone make the site worth visiting and will inspire you to rethink what you really “want” for Christmas.
Wrapping paper is a huge part of most of our holiday memories. Hurrying to wrap a gift before someone sees what we bought. Children tearing through wrapping paper like a hot knife through butter. And, unfortunately, mounds of trash sitting curbside on trash day. In recent years, I’ve developed an appreciation for gift bags. The good ones last for several seasons, saving me money, saving space in the landfill and saving my sanity when I have to wrap one of those crazy-shaped toys.
This year, I’m challenging myself to have a completely waste-free Christmas by using either reusable gift bags or wrapping a gift in another gift (for example: a scarf, a tote bag, a decorative box). A gardener might enjoy receiving her gift inside a flower pot or pretty planter. Jewelry, hand lotion or a small bottle of perfume would easily fit inside a new pair of gloves. Coming up with creative packaging could end up being more fun than the gift itself!
Bottom line: it’s easy to jump on the cranky train and complain about the commercialization of Christmas or how much we have to do and how little time we have left before the holiday. Why not take the opportunity to make a real difference during this most wonderful time of the year?