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

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

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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!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas, that’s the holiday coming up this week, right? I mean, I’ve only been hearing Christmas music since November 1, so it must be pretty soon, right? Or is there another holiday coming up… ummm… I think I remember turkey being involved and maybe some pumpkin pie. I don’t remember what it’s called though because it’s being so overshadowed! Panksgiving? Sanksgiving? Ganksgiving? … uhhhh Hanksgiving? … Thanksgiving? That’s it!! But really, what’s with forgetting completely about this holiday and jumping straight to Christmas?

I remember when I was little, decorating for Christmas didn’t come until December 1. As the years progressed, my family moved it to the day after Thanksgiving because we could ensure everyone would be home then, and that’s still where we’re at I think. I’ve seen Christmas decorations going up for the past couple weeks and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! And Christmas music, man, that has been on as long as I can remember. Now, I’m not trying to be hypocritical because I am currently listening to my holiday station on Pandora, BUT I just started listening to it this week. I think we’re all forgetting to appreciate Thanksgiving because Christmas is overshadowing it. We do need to remember this important holiday!

I’m not completely against Christmas music starting early, though. As I said before, I’m listening to it and it’s putting me in such a cheery mood! On top of that, I think Christmas music puts people in the mood to Christmas shop early, which eliminates scrambling on Christmas Eve to remember everyone’s presents (like I always do!). I haven’t always been able to see the good in early playing of Christmas music, though. I was a complete disbeliever of it happening in November until I was forced to see the upside of it last year when my grandmother passed away in early November. Christmas had always been her favorite holiday. She would sing along to the tunes without a care in the world (like what she sounded like to everyone around her!). My mom (like myself) thought Christmas music the first week of November was just preposterous, but my grandma convinced her to play it and just for that day, my Grandma had her own Christmas. It meant the world to me when my mom told me she got to live in her favorite season again, even if it was for just a few days.

Not trying to be a downer! But I wanted to investigate the pros along with the cons of Christmas music extremely early. In case you all aren’t already in the mood, here is a little Bieber for your fever.

Pen Pals

Pen Pals

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Dear Readers,

Technology is getting better and better when it comes to communicating with people. Sometimes I get bored with technology though. Everything is so convenient that if you don’t get a call, text or Facebook notification all day, you feel unloved or unpopular. Lately I have been writing to a friend, with paper and pen. I am going back to a time without Internet and telephones, but I am not going as far back as to delivering the mail on a horse.

I used to check my mailbox every day hoping for any pointless random mail. I like the feeling of expecting something being in my mailbox like it is Christmas morning, but usually there is nothing there. I have recently started writing letters to my friend, Anna, and I have finally begun to get mail. I still check my mail every day although I know that I mailed her a letter the day before and I really doubt she even got it and wrote one back within a day.

I easily have the convenience of calling, e-mailing, texting and even video chatting her, but I don’t. I like the anticipation of getting a letter. Sometimes I am just having a rough day. Getting a letter takes me away for a moment and I feel as if I am in my own world while reading it. When you read a letter, it is more than just paper and ink. You have to imagine that the person that wrote it, is right there in front of you and he or she is reading the letter for you. It’s nice to just zone out of the real world for a moment and just focus on something so simple.

Letters are much more personal. You are able to say whatever you feel like saying and you know that the other person is going to take the time to read it. It means a lot when someone takes the time to read something you’ve written for them and then write back another two or three pages just for you. Writing is a lot different from having a conversation every day, simply because you have time to think about what you want to say. When you read a letter, you have more time to just think about everything that was written.

So how long will I keep this going? I am not sure, but I do know that I am not even slowing down. I’ve started getting more and more of my friends school mailbox addresses. Most of my friends go to colleges that are simply too far to visit on a weekend, so writing a letter is an alternative to keeping in touch. Letters are a great way to stay in contact with your close friends and it is an excuse to buy awesome postage stamps.


Tyler J.

P.S. I don’t know what P.S. stands for, but I use it anyways.