The Un-Gifty Gift

Dec 15, 2010 Comments Off by EcoFlirt
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and both far and near;
My closets were full from gifts from last year.
Bath products unused, the lotions still capped,
And even a present still sat in its wrap!
When out in the yard there arose a big mess
Trash cans overfilled, Santa looked quite depressed.
“You have enough stuff, yet I keep piling more
Time to get creative and not be a gift bore.”
“Try tickets, try food, try a little staycation!
Or maybe be kind with a nonprofit donation!
Enough with the doo-dads, we have enough things,
When you’re kind to the earth, an angel gets wings!”
OK, so a poet I’m not, yet point is this: almost everyone I speak to say that they have more than enough stuff and feel guilty about getting more this holiday season. While exchanging presents is lovely, the enusing mass of boxes on the 26th is not. After a while, the stuff accumulates in our homes, and then, in landfills. Sure, we can go the gift card route, but even those only result in the same problem: more stuff. To get around the “more stuff” dilemma and give more eco-friendly gifts, a little creativity is in order. Here are a few ideas for non-stuff presents — no wrap required.
For The Sports Fan: Gameday
Surprise that lucky someone with tickets to a game of their favorite team: Panthers, Checkers, and Bobcats, oh my! And if they’re Panthers fans, you might want to include some cash for drinks to take the edge off this season. (There’s always next year, right? Sigh.)
For The Chef: Local Food Gift Certificates
Local farms offer gift certificates and buying clubs for their products. Imagine a foodie’s glee over learning they’ve been given the gift of a CSA membership or local farm gift certificate! For the meat lover in your life, check out gift certificates at Windy Hill Farms; they raise their animals in the pasture without hormones or antibiotics, and you can find them at several local farmers markets. For the veggie lover, go to your local market and ask vendors about their next CSA. Recently I finished the 15-week fall/winter CSA at Coldwater Creek Farms and cannot say enough about how wonderful it was to pick up bags full of fresh, organic produce every weekend. 
For the Foodie: A Night Out
Who doesn’t love a night of eating out? Using the Eat Well Guide, find a restaurant that supports the local food movement. You’ll find a list of places where your gift recipient can go for an excellent meal with quality, local ingredients.  
For the Kiddos: Discovery Place Membership
Give your favorite kiddos the gift of fun. You can buy memberships to Discovery Place, Discovery Place KIDS, and the Charlotte Nature Museums. And by the time 2012 comes around, those kids will realize that during all that fun, they learned a thing or two as well. 
For The Art-Lover: Showtime
For a town our size, Charlotte offers quite a bit of bang for our artistic buck: Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Theatre Charlotte, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Bechtler Museum, Carolina Opera, Mint Museum, McColl Center. Why not pick up a membership or gift certificate to any of these organizations for someone who can use a little more art in their lives? (And who can’t?)
For Your Earth: TerraPass
Traveling during the holidays is unavoidable for many of us, but you can ease your eco-guilt over transportation-related pollution with a TerraPass. Calculate how much pollution your lifestyle causes in one year and buy enough carbon offsets to make peace with your world. We might not be able to avoid pollution, but we can pay our penance for it. Go into the new year with a clean conscience.
Green Living
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