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A NEW LOOK AT
HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING

As we approach this holiday season and begin to think about gift shopping, it occurs to me to ask if those of us who subscribe to "green" living actually approach our gift giving in the same way. When we draw up that Christmas list, for example, is there evidence of our commitment to those things we espouse in our everyday lives?

I did a quick test upon myself and found, to my amazement, that my most recent Christmas list contained not one item that could be considered "organic" or "natural". Now why was that? My household has been organic for approximately the last twelve years. Why hadn't my gift giving caught up to that standard?

After some thought, I decided that one reason was because instead of focusing on a gift itself that could be from the environmentally-sensitive family, I often focus first on the individual for whom I am purchasing the gift. Of course this is a most natural thing to do. We want our gifts to show that we have given some thought to what the recipient would appreciate. I discovered that if I went a little further in my thinking and made the creative process a two pronged process instead of simply stopping at the idea I had come up with, I was more inclined to think "green".

It is so easy to go to our local shopping mall and simply pick up an item that seems appropriate without any thought to how it was created or from where it came or why. Granted, if we want to think "green" when choosing our gifts, it requires more time. But if we are supposedly committed to that lifestyle, isn't it worth it to extend our integrity to our gift choices as well?

With the advent of the Internet, there is virtually no excuse for not coming up with gifts that are more reflective of an environmentally sensitive lifestyle. For example, when deciding to send a gift basket of food to a colleague, why not choose items that are organically grown? And instead of heading to our favorite department store and picking up a brand-name fragrance, why not consider assembling a package of beauty items that contain organic ingredients and smell just as heavenly? Alternatively, the increase in organic cotton and hemp cloth has made it much easier to find clothing and bedding made from those sources.

When it comes to presentation, we can even find a way to think "green" there as well. Instead of wrapping paper, consider paperboard boxes that can be recycled and ribbons that can be reused. If that seems a bit too rustic, use recycled paper to wrap your gifts and appoint them with the reusable ribbons. There are beautiful ribbons that are actually made from recycled paper and dyed in vegetable dyes. Add a little raffia to the mix and your package will look stunning.

As you can see, once you begin to think along the lines of sensitivity, several ideas come to mind. So it just takes a little thought and creativity to begin a new way of looking at gift giving.

So, how does my Christmas list look now? I'm still working on it but my proselytizing ways have been appropriately restrained.

Written by: Karen Brick


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