The husband and I were talking earlier about how well the Compact is working for us. And how we don’t really see making any huge changes at the end of the year. But, even if we decide not to stay 100% Compact, we need to be aware of the gift trap. It’s so easy to say “I need a gift this Saturday”, and run to the closest applicable big-box store. It is definitely more challenging buying gifts used but we’ve done great so far. And we’ve saved quite a bit to boot.
Didn’t your English teachers tell you not to start sentences with “and” and “but”? I”m pretty sure mine did. Good thing they’re not reading this.
But for those of you that are, here are some gift giving thoughts. The first is by Tara at TheOrganicSister. She writes about sustainable baby steps. Among other things. But that’s what we’re focusing on today. Sustainable baby steps are things we can all do to start making a difference. In small bite size pieces. Easy, right?
When it comes to gifts, Tara has some great ideas of ways to stay out of Target. Check out the full post here, meanwhile here are some points to get you going:
Buy Local – Did you know Etsy.com (a fabulous source for handmade items) has a Shop Local section which allows you to browse recently updated shops by location? Support local artists and buy handmade at the same time. Woo hoo.
Sustainable Materials - Try to avoid plastics, polyesters, hardwoods or any other non-sustainable materials. Many of these materials are not easily renewable and/or may produce toxins either in their manufacturing or during use. Opt instead for cotton, bamboo, wool, etc. Try to find organic when possible. This thought can apply to used items as well for you Compactors.
Educate - Instead of just buying things that are green, try buying things that teach green. Perhaps a vegetable gardening book with a few garden tools, or some shade grown coffee and a handmade mug with a “green” message.
What if you’re giving the party and want some sustainability? How about ECHOage – the Eco Friendly Birthday Party.
Instead of bringing wrapped and packaged presents, guests simply RSVP and make secure online contributions that are pooled for the purchase of ONE memorable gift and to support ONE meaningful cause.
Guests are invited to an ECHOage birthday party online. Instead of bringing a wrapped and packaged present, guests simply RSVP and give a secure online contribution. It’s that easy. ECHOage pools all of the contributions. The birthday child chooses ONE special birthday present from all their friends and makes a donation to the charity of their choice.
If your child is old enough (and caring enough) to understand the benefits of giving instead of receiving this could be a great way to encourage that philosophy. And they still get a gift. Every kid wants a gift. And every kid’s friend’s mom is grateful to not have another gift to wrap or stuff in a gift bag. I like the fact that the ONE gift is still selected by you. A check is sent and you can buy your child anything your their heart desires. Any ONE thing.
I’m not sure if two is too young to appreciate the giving, but I’m thinking Toddler L might be having an ECHOage party later this year. (I wonder if I can do this for the husband too? He’s really just a big kid.) This is also the nicest way I can think of to dissuade people from giving more plastic toys than I can muster enthusiasm for.
I absolutely love this Young Einstein party idea from Design Mom. It wasn’t intended to be sustainable or compacty, but I have it tucked away for future reference. I think two is too young for that one.