It’s December! Time to discuss sensible, climate-friendly gifts and gift wrappings.
With gifts, some factors to consider: Will it be lasting or keep giving? What’s its carbon footprint?
BRIGHT IDEA: Be imaginative!
Consider where and how the gift is made, how it gets here, and how much waste was and will be generated.
- Buy something made and sold in Maine. Think craft fairs, local art, farmer’s markets. Food is always appreciated — homemade baked goods, a promise to cook someone dinner, or shares in Community Supported Agriculture, redeemable for healthy, organic produce next season.
- Recycle. Thrift shops offer numerous hardly used products. Examine your belongings to consider what you no longer need and give it to a cherished friend or relative. Old photos placed in refurbished second-hand frames make great gifts.
- Create the perfect gift. People appreciate the time and effort you put into making something special just for them. Get crafty, paint or draw, write a memoir, story, or poem.
- Give an intangible, like tickets to a performance. Consider gifts that give back — a contribution to a cause the recipient supports. Check out “gifts that give back” on the internet for gifts of education, to end hunger, help animals, etc. And don’t forget local groups working for climate change or to protect our environment. Before deciding, check out how much of your contribution will go to salaries and fund-raising. How about the gift of an experience or skill, such as yoga classes, rock climbing, or a membership of some type?
BRIGHT IDEA: Consider zero-waste gift wrapping!
It takes an attitude adjustment to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. Saying “NO!” to wrapping paper is a small step.
- Wrap your gifts in the colorful, bright, festive Sunday funnies, and give kids a chance to practice their reading. Use newspaper stuffers as wrapping paper.
- If you give socks, use each sock to wrap something small like a tangerine or a few walnuts, tying each closed with a colorful shoelace.
- Make packaging and the “ribbon” natural, useful, or reusable. Paint or color a toothpick box to hold something small, like jewelry, and close it with a covered hair band… or abstain from the ornate altogether (no bows).
- Find recyclable wrapping paper. There is one that’s seeded by Triumph Plant which will grow flowers!
Remember, the gift of time with you is precious.
Bright Ideas is brought to you by Portland Climate Action Team which meets the fourth Thursday of the month, 6-7:30 p.m. All are welcome. FMI: firstname.lastname@example.org.