A Conscious Holiday Season – 5 Tips for Being a Sensible Gifter

Thanksgiving time has surpassed and some might say it’s now time to spread Christmas cheer, singing loud for all to hear. My final few weeks of the semester are definitely going to be daunted and seem endless, but the reward of going home over winter break will be second to none. The reason I anticipate Christmas break so much is because it is really the only time of year I get to go home and spend a generous amount of time with my family! Also, not to mention I leave for Spain in just about a month!

Come this holiday season, I am sure there are going to be tremendous acts of kindness and irreplaceable gifts. One thing to keep in mind is to be extra kind to our planet, and be sure to shop with a conscious. I recently read an article on Grist, and it said that, “in general, we need to be sensible gifters, steering clear of buying unnecessary, useless stuff. Give experiences, not things. Or give wanted things. Or make things for people, if they’re open to it.” I think that it is very important to keep these points in mind, and have the needs champion the gifts you want. To help, I listed some tips for helping to be more conscious this Holiday season.

Do More with Less
Instead of buying a brand new article of clothing, buy a used one that is in just as good condition. The company Patagonia is actually encouraging its customers to stop buying their products, part of its Common Threads Initiative. The company believes that reducing, repairing, reusing and recycling its clothes can help contribute to a better environment, thus lowering its carbon footprint. This is a part of an initiative where that together we can reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace. Part of this program was for Patagonia to open up its own Ebay store, where Patagonia wearers can find used clothing for reuse.

Shop Online
Online shopping is generally a greener way to shop because trucks can deliver goods efficiently, and it takes less energy to run a warehouse for goods than a whole mall!

Make Your Own Wrapping Paper
Most wrapping paper you find in stores is not recyclable and ends up in landfills. This is an opportunity to get creative, use old magazines, newspapers, comics or old posters to wrap gifts! According to the Sierra Club, if every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

Give a Gift that Tells a Story
The Sierra Club allows you to “sponsor a wild place” and share the country’s most special wild places and national parks with friends and loved ones. Sponsorships start at $20 and come with a range of special gifts, like a photo, plush animal, certificate of sponsorship or a backpack. Also, you could give the gift of an annual pass to a National Park, a place where you can appreciate the outdoors.

Use Holiday LED’s
Instead of using ordinary Christmas lights, purchase some LED lights that use 90% less energy than conventional holiday lights. This could save you up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season as well … just saying.

I hope these tips help for this coming holiday season. One of Raider Relief’s past projects was H20 where we raised money during the holiday season to build wells supporting clean drinking water. Americans spends 450 billion dollars on holiday gifts each year, and it would only take 10 billion dollars of that money to solve the world’s water problems. When you think about it, there are many little gifts that are used just as stocking stuffers. I challenge you this Christmas to think about only a few gifts of what you really need, not just desperately want. Also, try to focus on some of the tips I listed, it might make a gift you give have a more personal touch, feel more intimate and make a positive impact on the world. Everyone loves a homemade gift or one that tells a story anyways!

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