Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Do Good Gifts

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, low key, lots of food, but Christmas kinda stresses me out. Every year I tell myself that I won't buy into the hype. I won't feel like I have to prove how much I love my family and friends with something I give them on December 25th.

I went to an acupuncturist a long time ago who told me that Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve fall at the wrong time of year. When it is dark and cold out, we're supposed to be hibernating and resting, not running around like crazy people exerting our last ounce of energy standing in a long checkout line, sweating through our wool sweaters and feeling the skinny handles of our shopping bags cut into our hands.

Every year my family says we are going to do the one gift rule, but it never happens so . . . I am trying to think of alternative ways to share the gift love that are fun for me and fun for them.

Here is a list to start and I hope readers will add more through the comments portion of the post, or email me directly with ideas and I'll post them:

Heifer International This is a favorite in my family. The organization uses individual's donations to provide families all over the world with livestock.

I've blogged about their improved gift line before. Their tag line is, "For Every Child, Health, Education, Equality, Protection. Advance Humanity". Hard to not support that.

Global Exchange
Even though I had only one trick-or-treater eat my fair trade chocolate this year, I was glad that I bought it from Global Exchange. There is an article on their main site entitled, "Buy Fair Trade, Buy Local or Buy Nothing!", with a link to the Fair Trade Federation. You can look up fair trade stores in your area on the FTF site.

Ideal Bite
is sending out green gift ideas via email each day this month. Just go to their site and sign up for their green lifestyle daily tip.

Green Home Environmental Store is a place to shop for more practical green gifts.

My former co-worker, Sherry Richert Belul, runs a fun company called Mad Moon Creations. She creates Celebration Books and Guest Books custom-designed with stories and photographs from friends and family.

Along that line, when I was about 6 or 7, we learned how to make books in school and I gave one to my parents. The story goes that I decided we were going to write down what we did each Christmas in the book. Anyway, my Dad, who was the Manager of the Mystic Seaport Store at the time, decided it would be a great product and they created The Christmas Memories Book, a 20 year diary that has places to record parties and visitors, how you celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, what you ate for Christmas dinner (my favorite entry), special gifts and what you want to remember, plus there is space for a couple photos and your favorite Christmas card.

One of my oldest friends from growing up, Jill Komorowski, gave my husband and I a Christmas Memories Book last year so that we could record our first married Christmas together. It was one of my favorite gifts.

Even if you don't buy the Mystic Seaport version of this book (it is kind of Olde Time New England style), I recommend starting one for yourself. I just read through last year's entry while writing this post.

The last sentence is, "We have a lot to be thankful for." A good thing to remember.


  1. thank you for the alternative gifts ideas, this is just what i was looking for!!

  2. I'm so glad that they were useful. If you find more ideas, please post them here or send them on to me and I'll write them up in a new post.

  3. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Heifer International does great work!

    Our family's favorite do good gift is to give back to Cambodia, of course, via the sharing foundation. This year, we're in for four-year gift of a college education to a young woman in cambodia for less than a video Ipod!

  4. For folks who are interested, here is the URL for the Sharing Foundation, an amazing org that Beth is involved with:

  5. Great article this is very informative .......keep posting Thanks Regards
    Personalized Gift Online


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