Sunday, December 11, 2016

Alternatives for the Holiday Season

Alternatives for the Holiday Season

There are a lot of folks out there who are not employed and perhaps cannot afford to buy gifts. There are people out there with no family members to give anything to. There are those who are too far away from family to spend the holidays with. There are those who feel they aren't worthy. Who are lonely. Others who are isolated. 

Winter is a particularly depressing time of year. People often hide away from the elements by staying indoors, depriving themselves of sunshine and fresh air. So the first thing to do is to include vitamin D enriched foods or supplements (magnesium/vit. D combination is often recommended). Also - open your window and set a fan near it to vacate the air of your home for 10 minutes at least once a week. This will not only make your home feel and smell fresh, but will improve the air quality of your home. Try to expose your skin to sunshine and fresh air every day if you can, even for just a few minutes.

Get involved - give of yourself to strangers - in person, or online. There are all kinds of events online from signature campaigns, to letter and article writing, to participating in forums that you can get involved in. Become an online member with organizations. Sign up for free newsletters. Do an online search for open education courses (free) that you can take from your computer. Drop into online talk radio stations (or listen to our archived radio show episodes) that focus on inspiring and educational content. Check out places like where you can view free lectures and expand your mind. Browse YouTube and Vimeo for both humorous and educational or inspirational content. Sign up with "good news" sites.

If you have an ability for crafts, you can use that ability to reduce waste by repurposing an item like a plastic jug or a chunk of waste wood and make something out of it that you can donate or possibly sell. You might be really good at making old toys look new again. Perhaps you can turn someones unwanted bits of 2X4 wood chunks into building blocks for children. Or larger pieces of wood into bird houses that you can give away or sell, or offer to a local charity for their next fundraising event. 

Wether you can glue, or paint, or sew - there are too many things you can get involved in then I could mention here. You just have to get creative and have the right questions to ask. For instance, perhaps you have access and can use a good pair of sewing scissors. You can connect with a local thrift store and offer to cut unsellable clothes into separate bags of sections of cloth, some might be appropriate for rags that artists or people who work on vehicles could use, some might be useful for people who can sew to make into toys, quilts, doll and other craft items. Even the buttons and zippers can be reused so you can offer to save those in jars or bags for them to resell as well. 

Or maybe you want to get involved hands on - and if so there are literally dozens perhaps hundreds of volunteer opportunities for you to try out in your own community through organizations, businesses, libraries, churches, environmental groups and so on.

Perhaps you could start seeds ahead of the holidays and offer pots of healthy herbs as gifts. Perhaps you can give away some of your garden harvests in the form of canned soup, salsa, pesto, or baked items. 

If you can't make a gift, and can't afford a gift - perhaps you can offer your services as a gift. For instance you might offer babysitting gift certificates, housecleaning gift certificates, lawn mowing, vehicle services, errand running gift certificates, etc - you can make these yourself and print them at home or at the local library. 

One more tip for the holidays - make it an annual event to systematically go through your stuff. Don't look at it as one huge project that you have to do at once. Consider just one drawer, one cupboard, one closet, one box, one room at a time. As the years to by you'll be able to organize, downsize and donate (or possibly sell) a lot of stuff! Perhaps you'll branch out to your garage, attic, garden shed areas. Or share divisions of your overgrown plants outside.

Check out these recent posts re: greening the holiday season:

Dec. 3rd   Green Holidays:
Dec. 5th   Green Gift Ideas

* some of today's tips were excerpted from Trash Talk Book 2

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