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MailTribune.com
  • Green gifting: Joy to all

  • In the flurry of holiday gift-giving, it's easy to overlook the environmental impact of our selections. Yet, if we seek options with smaller eco-footprints and shop locally as much as possible, we can save money and simplify the process — helping the planet, our communities and ourselves.
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  • In the flurry of holiday gift-giving, it's easy to overlook the environmental impact of our selections. Yet, if we seek options with smaller eco-footprints and shop locally as much as possible, we can save money and simplify the process — helping the planet, our communities and ourselves.
    Take time out: In our hurried world, time is invaluable. Make recycled cards that friends and loved ones can exchange for a relaxing meal, conversation over favorite beverages, a walk or a night out. This will be as good for you as it is for the recipient.
    Share skills: Offer to teach others something you can do that they've wanted to learn, such as a craft, musical instrument, game or sport.
    Donations: Contribute to a cause in someone's honor, letting them pick the organization to keep it personal, and ask that others do the same for you. If you're holding a party, ask attendees to bring items for food banks instead of hostess favors.
    Lovin' spoonfuls: Whip up favorite treats or make a gift certificate for the receiver's chosen items. Use local and organic ingredients for healthful, earth-friendly goodness.
    Custom cookbooks: Concoct a recipe book with family heirlooms or dishes friends rave about, using recycled paper and images of the special foods and people in your life.
    Get crafty: Knit a scarf, sweater or hat, pour candles or create whatever your inclinations inspire. Children's art is always a hit, too. Katharine Flanagan of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce suggests purchasing supplies at local retailers to save fuel and emissions.
    Picture perfect: Print images on fabric or iron-on transfer paper to decorate canvas totes or make photo calendars and cards on recycled paper.
    Twice as nice: Regifting and reuse have become chic. Share quality things you no longer need, or never used in the first place, and scope out secondhand shops. Invite friends to a clothing exchange, where everybody leaves with fabulous, free fashions that are new to them.
    Keep on giving: Purchase reusable items to help recipients cut expenses, waste and resource use. Lunch bags and containers, water bottles and to-go cups are all widely appreciated. Choose metal over plastic and get products that are "BPA free" (bisphenol-A) to avoid a toxin of growing concern.
    Wellness: Treat someone to an organic spa treatment or basket of organic bath and body products, tea and chocolate.
    Conscious choices: Gift certificates are easy to purchase and use minimal resources. Plus recipients are guaranteed to find something they'll love.
    Fine finish: To keep your gifts green on the outside, Paige Prewett, Jackson County SMARTWorks Coordinator, advises, "Reuse to prevent waste. Cut open brown paper bags or use old butcher paper. Decorate with stamps, crayons, nontoxic paints or markers." This is a terrific activity for kids. For bows and ribbons she suggests "natural materials (such as) holly, madrone leaves and berries, pine needles, pine cones, jute, hemp and natural raffia." Recycle and compost your wrapping to close the loop.
    Joy to all, in giving and receiving!
    Melissa Schweisguth is a sustainability professional who grew up on an organic homestead and savors the rewards of living lightly, gardening organically and buying local foods.
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