Feel-Good Gift Guide

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A Pair of Pears‘ guide to DIY gift wrapping.

Whether you’ve been too busy, broke, or lazy to finish (or start)
your holiday shopping, it’s not too late to find or make thoughtful gifts. And
with an emphasis on local, DIY, and green gifting, you can avoid the mall
entirely.

Go local.
Between
the internet, your telephone, and a credit card, you can help support your loved
ones’ favorite local spots. Chip in for a visit to that zero-waste locavore
restaurant your sister loves. Treat your mom to an hour with her local
masseuse. Get your stepdad a round of golf (not the greenest, maybe, but better
than another tie). Asking yourself what your loved ones like to do is usually
easier than trying to figure out what they want. Alternatively, consider
sharing some favorite local finds from your area. Whether you choose practical
items (honey, soap) or extravagances (chocolate, wine), you’ll be sharing a
piece of your everyday life.


Get creative.

Everyone
has a creative streak. Whether your strengths are in the kitchen, the garden,
or the art studio, there’s a gift waiting for you to make it. Here are a few
ideas for getting started. Food
Republic
has slightly-sinful holiday treats, from vanilla bourbon to spicy
candied bacon fudge (yes, you read that right). Odessa
May Society
‘s DIY tulip-and-daffodil-bulb gift basket will bring the
reassurance of spring to friends who get the winter blues. For music and poetry
lovers, ABeautiful Mess shows how to make wall art out of verse. And if you have
paint chip samples secreted away somewhere, How About Orange reveals how to
turn them into magnets
and geometric
patterned wall art
. Love drawing or graphic design? Handmade soaps,
lotions, teas, salves,
and herbal
perfumes and colognes
offer a blank slate for designing labels and packaging
that shows off your style.

Subscribe.
Supply
a hungry mind with a year’s worth of food-for-thought and support the independent press. Here are some of our favorite
indie rags.
For the environmentalist: Orion
The informed optimist: Yes!
The
friend who hates consumer culture: Adbusters
The new parents: Brain,
Child

The intellectual cyclist: Boneshaker: A
Bicycling Almanac

The practical cyclist: Bicycle Times
The farmer (or wanna-be): Small Farmer’s Journal
The hardcore sustainable do-it-yourselfer: Mother Earth News
The
left-leaning news junkie: The NationThe open-minded
conservative: American ConservativeThe
feminist: BitchThe empowered girl: New Moon(Or
share Utne
Reader
with a friend!)

Donate.
It might
seem strange to donate instead of giving a gift, but if you’re buying for the
family activist this will likely supply the desired warm, fuzzy feeling. Talk
to them beforehand about causes they support.


Wrap
It Right
Your efforts
to buy and use less this holiday don’t have to stop at the gift. In case you
thought newspaper and brown paper shopping bags couldn’t look classy, check out
Make‘s
guide to upcycled gift wrapping. A
Pair of Pears
and Redesign
Revolution
offer more ideas for making DIY and reusable wrapping look
festive.

Still freaking out?
For practical advice on paring down and handling holiday stress, see the Mayo
Clinic’s tips for
coping
with the holidays.

Images: A Pair of Pears‘ guide to DIY gift wrapping; Sweet & spicy nuts via SassyRadish, licensed under Creative Commons; Gift for the Gardener by Odessa May Society; November/December 2012 cover of Orion; Cloth gift wrap from The Merriment Blog (via Redesign Revolution).

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