Stress-Free, Waste-Free Holiday Season
Madison Avenue, Amazon, Google and Facebook are in full-gear (read: full-assault mode) to get your wallets open for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Folks are already beginning to look stressed. The culprit stealing our serenity and joy is consumerism. STUFF is STRESSFUL! Things don't make us happy and the waste generated by these holidays is staggering** -- the endless cheap, plastic goods, the packaging that will last forever in our landfills, rivers and seas, the unwanted gifts taking up space in our attics and closets that Marie Kondo will encourage us to donate or discard, and the toys and clothes that are out on the curbside within a week.
This doesn't have to be.
Go ahead and be a family and circle of friends who alter the holiday consumption trap. Here are six ideas to cut the cord and keep the holidays real and meaningful.
1. Give gifts that are practical, usable (use-up-able)--think local and small businesses that offer environmental, compostable, reusable products and eco-solutions with no plastic packaging and no toxic ingredients. I'm thinking of the local beekeepers, pastry chefs, soap makers, seamstresses and cheese makers.
2. Give the gift of time. Offer your friends and family lunch "out" or a coffee/tea date at a small eatery with YOU! Or how about sending your distant relatives a video message of "I love you"? Write a letter filling it with appreciation, memories and news. Make a commitment to clean the garage or storage area for your spouse since you know that task is needed and they just can't get to it. Offer to do the laundry for a couple of weeks. (That will win you points!) Give a handmade coupon promising your loved one something special, like a massage or movie night.
3. Create experiences for your family members. Maybe your loved one wants to take a trapeze class with a touring circus, go on a writing/art retreat nearby, go fishing at a local fishing hole or visit a local brewing company for beer sampling? On the holiday itself, your gathered crew can play board games, go hiking or (here's my favorite) go for a long walk together and pick up litter! The person with the most picked up litter gets to take home one of grandma's famous pies! Yum!
4. Make and bake for your loved ones! There is nothing like home-made goodies for gifts. My nephews and nieces always get a package of yumminess from their auntie. It's a tradition and one that we ALL look forward to each year.
5. Honor your kids, parents, friends, siblings and co-workers with a charitable donation to their favorite philanthropy.
6. Lastly, but by no means least, educational gifts are priceless and are often package and paper-free like ebooks and digital products (not the gear, the content!). The Great Courses are my go-to for educational gift-giving.
There is no end to the kind of waste-free holiday giving available to you. You only need a wee bit of creativity, some time and love. The most important ingredient in any gift is the love. Go have a lovely and stress-free holiday season!
We send you our love from Do Good Soaps and Suds!
** The U.S. alone throws away 25% more trash during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years than at any other time in the year. That means 25 million TONS of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week. (Stanford University study)
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