After spending the past week persuading you to shop your hearts out at my Bookstore & Gallery, I now need to cleanse my capitalist soul by reminding you that there are other ways to celebrate the holidays that don’t involve adding to your loved ones’ collection of “stuff.”
Sure, there are useful gifts that we need and may (if people take our hints properly) actually get, but many of us simply don’t need more stuff and we certainly don’t need the holiday gift sets for toys, cosmetics, and novelties that are filled with products of low quality and come encased in enough plastic to choke a blue whale.
That doesn’t mean you can’t give. After all, no one is going to deny that giving and getting gifts is loads of fun. But your gift doesn’t have to add to the vortex of someone’s junk drawer. Instead of giving “stuff” consider a few other options…
- Donate to charity in your recipient’s name. Whether it’s preventing animal abuse or finding a cure for cancer, If your loved one is passionate about a cause, this is a great way to show them you’ve been listening.*
- Adopt an animal. Got an animal lover on your list? Many animal groups allow you to use your donation to “adopt” one of the critters in their care or one of the species they advocate for. In most cases you’ll get a certificate of adoption to give as a gift.*
- Buy your loved one an experience. Tickets to a concert or play. Admission to a museum. Perhaps a cooking class or a stand-up paddle boarding lesson? If you match interests to an event in your area, you’ve got a great gift.
- Make them a member. Does your loved one have a favorite museum, symphony, or zoo in your area? Why not give them a membership that provides free entry or tickets for a year? Many memberships also include free entry for one guest so you might be able to convince them to take you along.
These are just a few ideas to help you give without caving into another bout of conspicuous consumption. Even better? In most cases you can do your “shopping” for these things online and avoid the craziness of the mall crowds (think of that as a little gift to yourself).
*Note: If you’re uncertain about a charity group, be sure to check out the ratings of hundreds of organizations at CharityNavigator.org where you can see whether your money is being used for the cause, or whether it’s simply going to line someone’s wallet.
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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCIL. YOU CAN FIND HER WORK AT TAMMIE PAINTER’S BOOKSTORE & GALLERY.