By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH
We recycle, we buy fresh, we shop locally, but what else might we do to unburden our planet from the excess of holiday gift-giving? This year we have the opportunity to get really creative! If you use the guidelines in my Five E’s to shape your shopping list this year, you’ll help to curtail the buildup of trash.
When you think about unnecessary waste remember that more than 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used each Holiday season – the equivalent of approximately 50,000 trees. Americans throw out 38,000 miles of ribbon each year. But, we can conserve our resources by purchasing wisely and thoughtfully.
The Five E’s
When you think about buying gifts for family and loved ones, keep in mind that less is very often more. Here are five categories to keep in mind:
Edibles: food, wine, gift certificates, Retaurant.com discounts, wine club memberships, or even Garlic of the Month club.
Expendables: candles, soaps, stationery, stamps, high end shampoos and conditioners.
Entertainment: concerts, admissions to attractions, museum member ships, special VIP status entries, movie passes, downloads, apps, upgrades.
Education: something of a learning nature, gift certificates to a class, The Great Courses DVD’s, subscription to an instructive magazine, language course, music lessons, dance lessons.
Experiences: prepare a basket and take them on a picnic, organize a hike, plan a walking tour, get tickets to an art festival, splurge on a concert to their favorite band.
Or, just plan to spend time with someone. My girlfriend Tracy Abbott Cook once asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said, “6 hours with you.” She gave it to me. We had lunch, followed by afternoon tea and ended up with a glass of wine before she headed home. Those six hours were a magnificent gift of her time and friendship. I love every minute of them.
The next year Tracy gave me a “shopping spree” at my favorite drugstore in LA. Anything I wanted…. she bought me, within reason, of course! It was so much fun and I’ll never forget how meaningful those times were with her. I now prefer to make a memory than to receive a present.
Here is a list of Other Ideas for Experiences and Surprises:
Charter a boat ride and go for a ride on a canal, river or ocean if you know how to drive it.
Take them horse backing riding.
Go bowling together or organize a day for roller skating or ice skating.
Purchase a spa certificate for the two of you and go together.
Buy a round of golf on their favorite course.
Fly them to another city and take them to a fabulous lunch.
Book a train trip for them or with them.
Buy a weekend at a getaway B&B for them.
Take them to a ball game and get awesome seats.
Get them a gift certificate for a couple of haircuts at a local salon.
Buy them a gym membership.
Give them a gift certificate to have their car detailed.
Pay to have their drive way sealed.
Arrange to have their lawn moved for a summer.
Pay for a service to snow plow their drive way all winter.
Present them with a half a dozen pre-paid breakfasts at a local eatery.
Buy a couple of oil changes for them.
Hire a cleaning lady for a day.
Pre-pay a computer tune up for them.
Give them a repair certificate for a handyman service.
Support local artisans, hand crafters, knitters, jewelry makers.
Donate holiday dinners to your local charity in their name.
Last year I made up little scrolls with a copy of a placemat from a local mission. The placemat read: “Blessings to you. Your holiday meal this year is a gift from Jackie Watson.” Each person on my gift list opened their scroll and was moved to tears. I felt like I had done the right thing.
As we gathered around the table, sitting down to our Christmas dinner, collectively we were aware that at least 50 or more other people were enjoying a meal on our behalf. As grace was said we felt like an extended family. Our compassion had been deepened, our eyes moistened and we sensed we had made a difference in someone else’s life. I’m going to do the same thing this year. “Extended family” has taken on a whole new meaning.
May your holiday season be filled with joy and generosity. Love and Blessings.
– Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a Ph.D. in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding.