Giving this Holiday Season
This year's emphasis on Black Friday seemed way too over the top for my taste. I don't tend to leave the house on that day, and with the stores opening on Thanksgiving so "you don't have to wait in line" and expecting employees to come in at midnight Friday morning, thereby jeopardizing their Thanksgiving with their family... I couldn't handle it.
This year, for those gathering at my house for Christmas, we had rules. The total amount spent on each person could not exceed $50, and the items had to be "consumable" -- interpret that as you will.
For those friends and relatives away this holiday season, we made donations in their names to Heifer International. We donated enough for honey bees and a share of fish to stock ponds in parts of the world that don't have as much as we do.
Some other things you might consider doing this year that could support your community and help you avoid the congested big box stores and malls as you make that last mad dash to Christmas...
- Buy goods from your local farmers' market. Hand made soaps, jams, cured meats, hand-assembled fruit baskets... All these things make lovely gifts and buying local makes sure your money stays in the community, rather than lining the pockets of international conglomerates.
- Make your own presents. Do you bake? Knit? Can? Brew beer or ferment wine? What about cutting from a particularly spectacular plant in your yard? Homemade peach wine and seasoning blends made from ingredients we grew in our yard make up parts of the gifts we are giving this year.
- Offer certificates for services you can do -- lawn care, laundry, cooking a meal. Deeds like this could make someone just as happy as a tablet PC. You never know.
- Even the act of hosting the holidays at your house can be the gift you give. The money and time spent on the gathering, the stress you take on from somebody else, could definitely make the holidays bright.
Any other ideas? Tell me your alternative, no-Black-Friday holiday gift ideas in the comments section of this post and be entered to win a gift certificate from one of my other favorite alt present ideas, Kiva.org. I'll pick a winner Tuesday night. Please be sure to leave an email address so I can contact the winner.
Cheers and happy holidays!