On Facebook the other day, one of my favorite venues for various forms of fact and fiction, I was delighted to find a link to a very interesting blog article. Among the opinions represented by the author were some great thoughts on ways we can reduce our consumption this holiday season when considering gift ideas for our friends and families. The author suggested buying half as many gifts this year as you usually do and of those gifts trying to purchase more consciously. You can obviously read the article for his specific ideas around charitable donations and sustainable purchases but I would like to expand more on the thoughts behind it all. 

We all know the holiday season is approaching even weeks before Thanksgiving when the early birds start decorating their homes and businesses with visions of snowmen figurines and twinkly lights plastered all over. Another pleasant signal is the masses of people complaining that the stores are advertising and selling the holiday inspired goods too early, my favorite this year was that radio stations were playing Christmas music too early. These particular signs are also acting as all too harsh reminders that it’s time to pull out your wallets and fork over your hard earned cash. Until those credit card bills start flooding in sometime around January we somehow neglect the yin and yang of the current economic position. On the one hand by spending more money we are fueling the economy and helping to improve our position, but on the other hand we are fueling our own personal debt by spending. What’s a consumer to do!?

I think it is okay to give homemade gifts; in fact I have a colleague that gives homemade wine as Christmas gifts…..not too shabby for something homemade with a personal touch if you ask me! The fact of the matter is that items that are socially responsible or environmentally friendly aren’t commonly on most people’s holiday wish lists. So you know you will still shop for all of those popular gifts like the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle Touch, LeapPad Tablet, Xbox 360 with Kinect, and Keurig coffee maker. But why not consider supplementing the second and third gifts with those homemade gifts. Or even think outside of the box a little with the Microbrew of the Month or Wine of the Month clubs. You can also factor in ways to present or shop for the gifts in a more responsible manner such as not wrapping the gifts or consider using a reusable shopping bag instead of one of the throw-aways, which by the way are generally a quarter of the cost in comparison. Perhaps shop online instead of driving to the store and save those greenhouse emissions. Besides, you are less likely to get trampled by a stampede of overzealous shoppers sitting on your couch at home.
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Jennifer Ulrich

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  1. Overspending this year, as usual! How about a spending cap and secret santa next year?

  2. home made is better and comes from the heart!!!!