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Conscious Gift Giving

You may give several gifts throughout the year, and when you purchase an item you want to be sure and pick out something amazing that will be liked. When buying a great present you can also make more mindful choices in selecting it.

Think beyond retail outlets and look for ways to find unique items. Different options for places to buy presents include local shops or groups that offer hand crafted or homemade goods. Also, many non-profit and research organizations offer seasonal and year round merchandise and greeting cards that benefit charities or communities. Donating time in someone’s name to a local charity for a cause they are involved in can also proactively show your appreciation.

Think of the recipient and what they like. If they are a foodie, perhaps something like a sustainably made native bag or hand woven basket filled with ethically produced goods like candies, teas, organic fruit assortments or local jams, breads and honey is fun to receive and useful. Also, check into a fair trade club, like a pastry, coffee or fruit club that will deliver a delicious, socially- friendly collection every month.

If someone on your gift list is into clothing look for online exchanges that let you rent items like shoes, bags, accessories and even couture fashion for a fee. Let them pick a few a style splurges on you. This distinctive and fun take on present giving will likely be remembered for a long time, and doesn’t even require a little plastic gift card.

Whatever their likes, you can probably find a green alternative to the mass market monotony just by doing a little searching. If you are artfully inclined or can hold your own in the kitchen, don’t dismiss homespun gifts. Your time and originality will surely be appreciated.

Put a little twist in your generosity and give gifts differently. For instance, get a group together and celebrate National Regifting Day. Have a present recycling party, making sure it’s lighthearted and no one will be offended if they see their unwanted item from last year circulating around. Let guests choose from wrapped packages or draw numbers to win correspondingly numbered presents, so the gift is a surprise. Or, have everyone specially chose the receiver or their re-gift prize.

Additionally, a practical thing to do is host a swap. For instance, have a cookie, recipe, or even a craft party exchange. Pre-make items to trade, or have everyone come prepared to assemble or bake things that can be packaged up and given out. Pick a theme like homemade cards, decorations, baked goods, digital photography projects or any shared interest. Have everyone pitch in and bring supplies, like tins for desserts, boxes of craft and office materials or any other needed items. Make sure to have basics on hand, like recipe cards or cardstock, glue, recycled papers and printing materials.

Packaging your thoughtfully obtained product is important as well. Often, store bought wrapping paper and bows can boring and expensive. Making your own gift wrap or containers is a great way to reuse packaging to reduce paper waste, and is fairly simple. Things you may have lying around like paper sacks can be used to wrap presents, glass jars can hold your finds and be dressed up with ribbon, and documents from your shredder can be used to place inside packaging as a decoration or for shipping.

Looking outside the retail box for a gift is often a better choice, and giving a gift that is considerate lets others know you thought enough of them to bring the true meaning of giving full circle.


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