Curb Your Consumerism

‘Tis the season for giving and spending. Instead of pushing
through throngs of shoppers stuffing carts with the season’s
must-have items, consider your alternatives: giving homemade gifts,
donating funds to charity, or not spending at all. Regardless of
your preference or the state of your pocketbook, here are some
solutions to make this gift-giving season merry, bright, and
green.

Gift Guides
Of the holiday gift guides
available,
TreeHugger offers a comprehensive
collection of ideas sure to solve any shopping snafu. The guide
is divided into useful sections, like those for moms-to-be or
green thumbs, as well as categories such as household goods,
online retailers, and shopping malls. Below each pictured
grouping is a convenient set of lettered descriptors. Choose
from recycled glass ornaments, natural beeswax Hanukkah candles,
a garden-in-a-bag, and more. Current print issues of
Plenty and
The Green Guide also offer helpful
gifting resources.

Charitable Donations
Plenty of your
favorite organizations can put a donation made in a loved one’s
name to good use. Check out
‘Giving
Till it Helps’
— a primer on charitable giving that Utne
Reader
recently culled from
WorldChanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st
Century
— for some great ideas on how to make small
donations make a big difference. For those as worried about
receiving as giving, take a cue from
Heifer International and create your own gift
registry so friends and family can donate to a cause instead of
giving you yet another scarf you won’t wear.

Do It Yourself
You don’t have to be Martha
Stewart to craft homemade gifts. In

Herbs for Health
, Kim Erickson’s recipes for herbal
packages are the perfect remedy to soothe gift-giving woes over
what to get for pets, athletes, and gourmets.

Mother Earth News
also offers a list of ideas you can
parlay into presents. Freeze your own pesto in ice cube trays,
piece together a seasonal floral arrangement, or try your hand at
home-brewing beverages. The more tech-inclined out there might
peruse
Make
‘s ‘Open Source Gift Guide’
for ideas on DIY software and
hardware gifts.

Season’s Savings
For non-spenders,
Regiftable, a project of the nonprofit Money
Management International, has created a
‘Regifting 101’ tutorial with tips on how to
avoid the embarrassment of surprising grandma with the macram?
plant holder she gave you four years ago. And if you’re just not
ready to navigate the ethical quandaries of regifting, the site
provides an alternative service: a template lets users design
printable holiday coupons for a few hours of yard work or a pan of
baked goods. And finally,
Adbusters takes spending sparingly one
step further with its Buy Nothing Christmas campaign — an effort
to curb materialism and promote meaning — by
buycotting.

Go there >>
TreeHugger Holiday Gift Guide

Go there, too >>
Heifer International Gift Registry

Go there, too >>

Craft an Herbal Holiday

And there >>

15 Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

And there >>
Open Source Gift Guide

And there >>
Regiftable

And there >>
Buy Nothing Christmas

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