‘Tis the season! I read today that on top of the regular waste produced, Americans generate an additional 25% more trash Thanksgiving and New Years, about one million tons more waste per week. I think we can do better: we can reduce consumption, buy gifts that last, give gifts that are experiences, and help others. Here are some ideas to get you started. These aren’t affiliate links, just 10 my favorite things, from free to $76.00+. Add your own and remember the Earth we share in all that you do.
Gift of time: One of my all-time favorite gifts is the gift of time. Take someone out shopping, to the movies, help around the house, do some Netflix binging (The Crown, anyone?) Free or nearly so, but you can make someone feel rich.
Gift of listening: Brush up on your active listening skills and give the people you love the gift of listening this year. Everyone likes to be heard. It’s a gift that keeps giving. Free but also so valuable.
Gift of story: Record family or personal stories in writing or with a video or audio recording. Use a composition book, your smartphone, whatever you have handy. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Additional resources available at the Story Corps website. Free and also priceless.
Serrv: buy beautiful gifts from around the world that support artisans (many are women and people with disabilities who might otherwise have difficulty finding work). Delight your loved ones with fair trade, ethically made foods, home items, jewelry and more. My favorites: Divine Chocolate, including the Mini Dark Chocolate Bars, Zanzibar Island Spice, Decorative Baskets, Nativities of all kinds, and much more. I am a big fan of the Layered Peace Wreath. $3.95 and up.
One Simple Wish: Grant a wish for a kid living in foster care on behalf of someone you love. You can sort by gender and geography to make the gift as special as your recipient. For extra fun, make or buy your loved one a magic wand and grant wishes together. Every amount counts.
Splendor: This may be my most-played board game of all time. Since early April, I have played almost every day. We play asynchronously, taking a turn when we have a free moment. One turn at a time has translated into hundreds of games. Check out The Rules Girl for the 3-minute video on how to play. Splendor is available at Target, but I suggest that you pick it up at your local game store if you have one. $40
Art Inc: I love this book by Lisa Congdon. Let’s squash the myth of the starving artist once and for all! Signed copy for $16.95
Let’s Make Art box: These monthly art kits contain four watercolor projects and access to online paint-alongs and tutorials. Yes, you can paint a watercolor painting on your first try. Sarah Cray helps the inner artist in all of us! $45 for a single box (and even the box is fun!). I like the Butcher Tray & Brushes Bundle for $20, too.