Try Meaningful, Sustainable Gift-Giving This Holiday Season

We're not even a week into November, and the notion holiday shopping has already infiltrated the mass media.

Serious story: On Halloween evening John and I were watching TV between trick-or-treaters, and we saw our first Christmas commercial. It was for Petco, and featured a Santa Claus selecting gifts for pets. It wasn't even November 1st! 

At this point in the year, I'm thinking about the holidays, but it's more with anticipation for the good eats and laughter I'm going to share with my family and friends. I'm thinking about cool gift ideas, but I've not begun preparing - especially to the standard that most Americans seem to reach.

The consumerism of the holiday season takes all of the personality out of 'giving'. Do you feel it to? I hope it's not just me.

Thankfully, for quite some time my family has taken a more intimate, meaningful approach to holiday gift-giving. Sometimes we draw names, allowing us to give one special gift to a single family member, which is more cost effective, and gives us the chance to plan a gift for one person.

Other times we do gifts for everyone, and in that case, it can be more stressful - if running out to the department store on December 23rd is your idea of shopping for the perfect gift. Thankfully, I'm not that kind of shopper. I make a lot of my gifts {no, not crafts made out of macaroni noodles, thankyouverymuch}, or look for unique, hard-to-find vintage items.

For example, last year I gave my sister a framed doily, which was seeped in family tradition. The frame belonged to our great aunt and uncle (and even included an inscription from my aunt on the back), and the doily was made by our great grandmother. I painted the frame, to give it a more contemporary look for her home, and picked a more modern patterned doily.

Gift-giving can be stressful, time consuming, and costly. But it doesn't have to be! Here are just a few ideas that I plan to use this holiday season:

For the foodies:
Hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows
A tote, ready for vermicomposting (what else are they gonna do with the food scraps?)
Specialty vinegars
Spice blends

For DIY fanatics:
A basket of fun and funky paint samples
Fabrics from the clearance or remnant bin
Chalkboard paint

For junkers and those who love all things vintage:
Sand paper and sanding blocks. {Lots of it.}
Old photos or postcards
A pretty notebook {for keeping ideas and a journal of projects}
A traveling junker's kit {including a tape measure, a notebook, paint samples on popsicle sticks, etc.}

For gardeners:
Gardening gloves
Homemade sugar scrub
A large basket or bowl for gathering produce
Rubber boots

There are so many things I could add to these lists. What would you add?


  1. We try to keep the holiday buying under control around here. It is so easy to get caught up in consumerism and just feeling like we need a lot of stuff but it is better to realize that stuff doesn't make you happy. For Christmas we made a decision to only exchange gifts in our immediate family and that all has to fit in our Christmas stockings. The majority of our gifts our homemade. It is fun and lowers the stress of the Holiday immensely.

    1. My favorite gifts to receive are homemade. And, that's a great idea to make sure the gifts can fit into a stocking. Clever!

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