I love the holiday season! That includes scoping out the neighbors’ holiday lights on the way home each evening; listening to holiday music in my office; gathering with friends for our annual HoliDaly party; sitting in the glow of the Christmas tree each night; and introducing K-bear to Santa, There is simply so much to enjoy!
What I don’t enjoy? The commercialism; the onset of Christmas in stores before Halloween candy has been handed out; the endless ads luring us to buy this and spend on that. I enjoy choosing gifts for my friends and family, but I prefer that those gifts that enhance our local community, celebrate local talent, provide to hard-working folks, or upcycle items in some special way, rather than simply put money into the pocket of another large corporation.
I’m proud to say that I’ve had much success with my family in this regard. For instance, last year, my mom, sister, SoulDaddy and I vowed only to give gifts that were used or handmade. I was thrilled with the treasures I found in flea markets, at craft fairs and on Craigslist and let me tell, you, my sister has some serious knitting skills; K-bear and I adored our coordinating hats!
In my 2012 Soulicious Gift Guide, I provide some fun ideas for eco-friendly, handmade and fair trade gifts to give. But I also encourage you to take things one step further this year – if not for all gifts, for some. Consider these options for thinking outside the proverbial gift box. In the process of delighting a loved one, you will also find yourself supporting local talent, boosting your local small business, or giving perfectly good items a happy, new home.
- Give a handmade gift. Think crafts, cooking, art or bath scrubs. If you don’t have the time or talent yourself, local craft fairs and Etsy are great sources for unique handmade gifts.
- Give a service you can do yourself. Consider babysitting, car washing or yard work. Get creative with a cute little coupon you design and print yourself.
- Gift services at a locally owned business. Perhaps a car tune-up, house cleaning or salon visit. Who wouldn’t love that!
- Gift a class together. Art, fitness, and hobby classes are great choices. You’ll give the gift of knowledge as well as quality time!
- Gift a membership. Consider local non-profits, museums, gyms or charity groups. K-Bear and I love the Children’s Museum membership we got from SoulDaddy last year!
- Donate in someone’s name. Determine their favorite charity, fundraiser, or cause. I’ve had family donate to my local animal shelter in the past instead of buying me a gift and felt so good about it!
- Gift a meal at a locally owned restaurant. A delicious dining experience is topped only by knowing the dollars stay in your community.
- Buy gifts from a locally owned business. Local shops have some of the cutest gift ideas. Being able to converse directly with the owner is always a bonus.
- Buy used from thrift shops, antique shops, flea markets or used music and book stores. I can’t tell you how many wonderful gifts I’ve both bought and received from these stores over the years. The price is right as is the eco-friendly stature, but perhaps the best part is the treasure hunt!
- Buy fair trade and eco-friendly made gifts. Seek out items that are sustainably produced, recycled or upcycled. Alternatively, help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability by purchasing their fairly traded products.
Cheers to happier, more original and more thoughtful gift giving!
Have you gifted in these ways in the past?
How will you think outside the gift box this year?
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