1) Begin and end with gratitude, count blessings. It’s the thought that counts.
No self-chastising for not having a big gift among competitive givers.
2) Look outside the money economy. Regift, repurpose, harvest, share seeds and plants and fruits, give gifts from the hand and heart. The Buy Nothing Project or Nextdoor.com are platforms to ask, and you may receive! I have potted scavenged succulent pups and narcissus bulbs in terra cotta pots.
3) Give the gift of your time. Childcare, help to finish a household project, a date for a hike are welcome gifts.
4) Think consumable: food, plants, soaps, music and entertainment cobbled up by me or a local artist. Avoid layers of packaging that choke the landfill. My 92-year-old mom reminisces on Christmases in snowy Minnesota; oranges miraculously appeared with horehound and marzipan candies. I do hope my navel oranges are ripe by Christmas. My kids look forward to the sweet Sesame Seed Snaps, Blackjack gum, and a new toothbrush, bamboo this year!
5) Buy local. Keep the carbon footprint small, think no-drive gifts. Support small businesses; avoid corporate stores which don’t keep the money circulating in the local community. This tips our fragile economy to favor the wealthiest few. I buy fancy jams from a foodie at our Farmers Market and gift certificates to our mom-and-pop bakery. I will buy a few things that have not crossed an ocean on a methane-belching cargo ship.
6) Be an early bird. Online, shopping early and efficiently is key! It feels good to click the No Rush button to bundle items for fewer shipments.
7) No plastic. No brainer.
8) Save a tree. Send holiday “cards” electronically. Gift bags are reusable if you must giftwrap. Another way to save a tree is to not buy a Christmas tree. After seven years of not buying a tree it’s hard to hold fast on to this one with a three-year-old in the family. I collect wind-fallen branches to add the fragrance of the season to our home.
9) Inspire a change of heart for action on Climate Change
Share the documentary on Amazon Prime taken from the book of the same name, Being the Change, or give to Citizens Climate Lobby, Transition Network, YES! Magazine, or other nonprofits that pull at heart strings. My quest continues for how to deliver love and affection to the detained immigrant children in Texas. Meanwhile, donations to nonprofits offering legal aid will have to soothe this heartache.
10) Save energy. No Christmas lights for me. I’m open to the idea of some solar LED lights, but I think it’s part of the divine plan to give us darkness for comfort in this time of holiday stress, and global unrest. I prefer moon and star light.
11) Emanate peace: smile, meditate, connect in person, disconnect from the media. Winter solstice is a reminder that lighter days are ahead.
12) Watch the parade! What could be more local, more festive, more promising of happy days ahead?