Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holiday Gift-Giving Alternatives.

If my family and friends are any indication of the mass population of Americans ... then it is safe to say that we are all thinking about the upcoming holidays. Many of us are thinking of ways that we can celebrate these holidays in less "commercial" ways. Others are thinking of how in the world they can afford to gift give and still pay bills. And some are thinking of ways to hand make their goodies, buy handmade / locally produced, or purchase fair trade goods that make a significant difference in the lives of others around the world (all wonderful goals to be sure).

Ever since our son came home to us, one of our priorities was to give him as natural and "greed-free" a childhood as possible --- leaving out the over abundance of toys, the commercial television, the pop culture, etc. I hand make many of his goodies, as he watches, so that he can appreciate the love and work that goes into a handmade product. We shop at thrift stores together so that he sees the value of purchasing previously loved items. We don't watch commercial television so that he is not bombarded with ads that tell him what he "can't live without". But don't get me wrong ... we have been known to indulge him ... believe me. He has every Pixar Cars metal car toy there is ... sometimes 3 of the same one. All bought new from Amazon ... and all made in China. Hey, we are trying ... but we aren't perfect!

Anyway, due to various economic, humanitarian, environmental and political circumstances, it seems that so many of us Americans are trying to change our consumer habits. We are beginning to examine the impact of our purchasing choices ... on our wallet, on our local economies, on the earth, etc. It is with all this in mind that I would like to use this blog as a means to promote some alternative gift-giving choices for the holiday season. I have done some research already, but would love to have readers input as well.

The holidays --- Hanukkah, Christmas, Ramadan, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa --- are all spiritual holidays. And though they all share a tradition of gift-giving, we would do well to remember that these holidays are so much more than that. Celebrating them should be a joy ... not a struggle.

I have already posted about some alternative gift-giving choices in the past, and will begin to assemble a convenient and ever-changing "list" ... please stay posted for tips and treasures.

Thank you all for reading & sharing.



Sarah and Tim said...

a fun cheap gift is to make handmade christmas ornaments. you can get the ornaments from any where, just plain glass balls, of white or clear or pearl color, and personalize them. then put a fancy ribbon on top, and call it a day. they are very boutique looking. i love to make these, i have one for each of my chidren i made, and one for all the grandparents, co-workers, day care providers, etc....If you want to see a pic, i can post them on my blog.... it is easy to do!

Anonymous said...

an idea I saw in a magazine this week is to make kids' art magnets. Have the kids draw pictures, then cut them out, trace them onto magnet sheets, then stick together. I think I might do that!

I love this post. Nate and I have been heavily discussing how we can take back Christmas, how to stop the insanity of constantly trying to one up last year, feeling the need to make it bigger and better, year after year... Especially this year with everyone having a financial crunch, I'm almost obsessed with simplicity. I LOVE the holiday season, always have - and I want to be completely enveloped with that feeling of pure joy and family and innocence, and more importantly, I want my kids to have that be their memory of the holidays.
Okay, I'm rambling... I just feel this season so much, and I am so determined to make it everything I want it to be!

Amanda Fogarty

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Thanks for your thoughts! The holidays really do need to be re-focused.

Artful Spirit said...

Great idea my dear! I will submit some ideas for you, but I'm sure you don't need them. You are so creative anyway! I am sorta doing this on my blog too with my post on thrifty and earth friendly holidays. Maybe we can give each other ideas:)

Have a nice Sunday!