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Alternative Gifts For A “Stuff” Free Christmas

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With Christmas about to rear its great big jolly head, I thought I would do my part to share some knowledge I have unearthed regarding ways to make Christmas a little greener, a little different, maybe even a little more Christmas-y.

Now, as I quickly discovered, there is no shortage of websites with advice and easy tips on how to stay green this holiday season. I would recommend everyone to check these out—many of the suggestions they offer are rather obvious like using recycled wrapping paper and the like, but others might surprise you. For example, have you ever considered keeping the tree a little long and eating the needles? Supposedly they are a good source of Vitamin C.

I don’t want to redo the work of these websites, so instead I thought I would compile a short list of alternative gifts for forward thinking individuals, people with too much ‘stuff’ or people who love to help. Instead of the latest plastic toy or electronic gadget, I have compiled a few gifts of giving that just keep on…well, you know.

I mentioned in a previous blog the many organizations out there to help reforest the earth. I have found that planting trees in someone’s honor is a simple yet profound way to give a gift. Or perhaps give them a seedling to care for themselves (I’ve found miniature bonsai trees work well).

There are also organizations where, through your gift, you give to those less fortunate as well, animal and human alike. Best Friends, Heifer Foundation and World Vision are just a few of the ones out there where a gift can better the life of someone other than the receiver. One of the ones I like the most to give as gifts is Kiva, a micro financing organization where you invest in a cause in a developing country, whether it focuses on education, infrastructure, or going green. Working with banks in the countries, Kiva gives out microloans to fund the projects and then, if all goes well, you get your money back to reinvest. What makes it a great gift is the recipient can read stories about the people in need and choose which causes to back.

Regardless whether you choose any one of these organizations or one I missed, I hope everyone can uphold the Christmas spirit.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge

Photo credit: http://patchesofheaven.blogspot.com

I am a recent graduate of UC San Diego where I completed a double major in Ecology and the Humanities. I am currently applying to graduate programs in Environmental Management and am in the process of writing a fantasy novel

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