28 November 2011

Can You Avoid Holiday Shopping?

Patagonia's message on Cyber Monday: "Don't buy this jacket."

The email message I got earlier today enumerated the liters of water and pounds of carbon dioxide produced in the production of the jacket -- even though it's made out of 60 percent recycled material. Only when you really need a jacket, the message said, should you buy one.

So what about all those people you exchange holiday gifts with? Herewith, some ideas:
  • Socks.  Everyone needs socks, we all wear them out. Buy your loved ones a couple of pairs of really nice socks.
  • Food.  Ditto; we all eat.  Fancy mustard?  Stinky cheese? Smoked fish?  A basket full of stuff beyond the usual budget that will get eaten and won't clutter closets or go to the landfill unused can make an ecologically sound gift.
  • Soap, bath salts, oils and emollients.  You know what your potential recipients will actually use; not much ecological sense in buying stuff that will sit around unused for a couple of years and then go to the landfill.
  • A gift to charity.  Preferably one both you and the recipient think is a worthwhile cause.
  • Something home made.  Jam, chocolate confections, miniature carrot cakes or banana breads if you're a cook; a scarf or hat if you can crochet or knit; a framed photo or piece of art.
Or reduce gift-giving with a family round-robin, or agree to give up the gift-giving altogether, and go volunteer in a soup kitchen or other charity in your community.

Other ideas for home-made gifts? Other ideas for reducing gift-giving? What do you do with kids? Let me know.