The holiday season of 2011 is a good time to start a new gift-giving tradition, and it would be so amazing if we extended mindful consuming to all our purchases in the future.
It is time to shed excessive consumerism and vote for a better world with your dollars. What better way to start than to support our local producers of goods and services?
Rather than support foreign sweat shops where cheaply produced products that use precious resources to ship across oceans, only to end up in a landfill, it is time to be more creative with gift choices begin to support more meaningful, sustainable options.
Consider, for example, the wide range of local services that people consume regularly. You might want to consider gift certificates. Here are just some of the many local businesses where you can purchase gift certificates: hair salon or barber, restaurant, theatre, housekeeper, computer repair, gym, gardener, auto mechanic… the list goes on. This isn’t about national chains, let’s support the local home town shops.
If you would like something more personal, consider locally produced crafts, like pottery, jewelry, knitted or woven scarves, wooden boxes, baskets, or the gift of local talent in the form of tickets to a performance of a CD.
Or if you have a particular talent, you might want to go with a gift of your time or something you make. “Love” coupons for your services are welcome, as they can be personalized and redeemed when the recipient wishes. For example, I have given a collection of coupons for raw vegan dishes, and the recipient can make custom requests for his or her favorite dish(es). Other possibilities for love coupons include babysitting, pet sitting, raking leaves, planting a garden, providing a ride to or from the airport – use your creativity here.
Love coupons, gift certificates, or any gift, for that matter, can be wrapped mindfully in a beautiful reusable box, in a dish towel or fabric, or food storage container. Other alternative gift wrapping ideas include:
- Reusable gift bags – I always save gift bags to reuse. If you don’t have any handy, a reusable shopping bag is a great way to wrap a gift and something that helps reduce waste all year long.
- Newspaper or magazines
- Fabric – you can either wrap a gift in fabric or make a reusable gift bag.
- Use ribbon made from natural materials like waxed hemp twine or raffia.
- Natural decorations like pine cones and sprigs of holly.
- Mason jars for food items or anything small. Throw in a 6-inch square of screening material (available from a hardware store) and the jar can be used to make sprouts.
For more gift wrapping ideas visit http://eartheasy.com/gift_wrapping.htm or http://life.gaiam.com/article/top-10-green-gift-wrap-ideas
Do you have any gift suggestions for a more mindful compassionate holiday?