Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gifting In the Land Of Plenty

In preparation for Thanksgiving, we've been reflecting each night as a family on how grateful we are to have each other. At this point in our lives, we--even (especially?!) our kids--have enough stuff, and we're hoping to keep that in mind as we plan our holiday season.

Want to skip the transfer of goods? There's Save the Children's Holiday Gift Catalog and the slick Better Present Pledge, put together by Share Our Strength, Heifer International, and Conservation International (they exhort you to "pledge that this year I will give at least one gift to a nonprofit in honor of a friend or family member, instead of giving them a material present. I will choose a gift that reflects my values, that will touch the heart of the person I give it to, and that will help create a better future for the Earth and its people." Pretty sweet message.)

If you do want to give a tangible gift, what about supporting an indy artist by buying something on Etsy? Not only do the artists there have OOAK (one of a kind) stuff (like recycled poppy bobby pins or upcycled wool felted fingerless gloves), you can convo sellers to end up with something truly custom made.

Another option is to give experiential gifts -- gift certificates for restaurants, massages, theater tickets, consumables (food, tea, wine -- my mom wants a coffee gift card so she doesn't have to blow her budget every time she weakens and craves a $5 latte). There's the pragmatic category eg photo sharing (SmugMug has lovely sharing capabilities) or even organic produce delivery.

For kids, non-cluttery gifts include tickets to concerts (ie Dan Zanes) or to a show (Cirque du Soleil), memberships (Smithsonian/museums, zoo), funding classes (ballet, yoga, art), or magazines (we are huge Click fans for the 3-7 set and Babybug fans for the 1-3-ers). And none of those gifts leach Bisphenol-A! They're not made in China! They're not going to morph into date rape drugs!

Speaking of kid festivities, if you are actually counting down until Christmas, DC Urban Moms had a thread recently about advent calendars.... One idea our family's going to adopt is to make a felt advent calendar with little pieces to move each day (snowmen, trees, etc) in lieu of gifts or chocolate. We're also going to use our current advent box with little wooden drawers to house ornaments we already have for our kids to add to the tree one by one over the month (will a tree last a month if we water it enough?).

In preparation for the holiday onslaught of stuff you might want to purge in a targeted fashion -- local neighborhood listservs are a great place to start, as is freecycle (altho the flakiness factor may make your head explode), and/or your local parenting listserv.

I'm curious about non-traditional gifting ideas you have for the holidays.

Peace to all. MB


Lynn from said...

Hey Jessica, welcome to the blogosphere! I didn't realize you were blogging until I saw your url today!
I love alt gifts. My SIL just told me that they're giving us a night out (free babysitting). Best gift ever!! Who needs more STUFF???

MamaBird said...

Thanks, Lynn! Awesome gift, that night out... Add that to our wish list, blog-reading family!