Over the weekend I had to go to the mall to replace a piece of jewellery. I had been putting off the chore solely because I didn’t want to trek through the mall -for you see- I’m quite an online shopper these days.
However, convenience won out and off I went.
Well, although it was a Saturday… things were crazy! (This is coming from someone who worked retail there for close to four years.)
The parking lots were full, and the line ups at stores were unbelievable. A friend I was with remarked that it was because the day before, stores were closed… but I knew what it was all about: Christmas!
The holiday season can be infectious, fun, and for students it is a well-deserved break. However, sometimes our gift guzzling ways are overwhelming and deter good intentioned people from, well… doing good!
Last year on this blog, I suggested ways to spend more time with your loved ones, be ecofriendly, and purchase thoughtful gifts. I will consider that blog part one of my alternative gift-giving musings, and today: I have part two, just in time for the Christmas rush.
Thus, here are some of my favourite alternative-gift giving ideas for the 2011 holiday season.
1. Bake something delicious and share.
Baking can be a lot of fun when you put the time, thought, and right ingredients into it! This year, find a delicious recipe and purchase some decorative dishes to display it: like inexpensive mason jars and ribbon.
The gift is affordable, tasty, and personal. Plus, you don’t even have to set foot inside a mall (or a virtual foot inside a virtual store).
Make up large batches and share with everyone and anyone. Keep a few left over for visitors and yourself, too.
2. Make a donation.
In my previous blog, I listed countless charities that have great gift-giving options available. Make sure to check them out as well, but I have added a few more that stay within Canada, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton this year.
Canada Helps offers gift cards of any value that recipients can then donate to the Canadian charity of their choice.
On Feed Nova Scotia, you can make a donation in someone’s name to help feed the many impoverished Nova Scotians who are more worried about their next meal, then getting or giving Christmas gifts.
Put your money into Cape Breton’s Two Rivers Park where tons of fantastic animals need food and support. You can even adopt an animal friend – which is the perfect gift for an animal lover.
There are countless more charities that offer gift-giving options online, do your research and get giving.
3. Purchase a gift that gives back.
If you do want to stick to traditional gift-giving, search for a gift where proceeds from the sale go to good causes: like Toms Shoes.
When you buy a pair of Toms, another pair is donated to someone in an impoverished place.
There are other avenues for gifts that continue to give, like the many Breast Cancer products available, and the UNICEF Feed program.
4. Adopt a family.
In Cape Breton, you can adopt a family through the Every Women’s Centre.
This is a meaningful way to pool your money with friends, family or staff to make local children’s Christmas wishes come true when their parents cannot financially do so.
You will be given the wish-lists of the children of an anonymous family, and will shop for them and then drop everything off before Christmas at the Every Women’s Centre.
There are different family sizes, so choose one that you can afford to complete.
Call to adopt a family at 567-1212.
These are just some of the options you have to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season – especially on a student’s budget.
Be thoughtful instead of gravitating towards unconscious consumer goods that will wind up in the trash.
It’s a wonderful time of year! Spend it with those you love, giving back, and making merry!