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November 27, 2014
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Alternative gift giving: share the joy while doing good


I’ve seen others make a calendar with photos from past family events or vacations that include a listing of everyone’s birthdays and other special family dates to remember. Other ideas along these lines include family photo albums, a memoir of a family trip, or a book of favorite family recipes. Several websites offer tools to help you make these, like blurb.com, iPhoto, or snapfish.com—or you could make your own. Instead of purchasing or making something, you can give “coupons” that your loved ones can redeem throughout the year. Good ideas are one date night a month with your spouse, planting and tending an herb garden when it warms up, eight hours of yard work, weekly visits along with reading favorite stories to someone who’s in a nursing home—you get the idea.

Certainly, if you feel you must purchase something, purchase something as local and as “green” as possible. Of course, green doesn’t just have to do with the manufacturing process and the content that went into making the product; hopefully the workers were treated well and the product has a long life span and can be recycled or re-purposed when your loved one is done using it. Two great resources for finding green products are National Green Pages (greenpages.org) and Conscious Consumer Shopping Guide on the Center for a New American Dream’s website (newdream.org).

Well, here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. And remember, you don’t have to go into debt or ignore your environmental conscience to show your loved ones how much you care. It truly is the thought that counts.

[Julie Hudson is a member of Transition Honesdale. This essay, which appeared last December in Transition Honesdale’s newsletter “On Track,” is reprinted here with permission.]