The holidays are tough… and one of the toughest things is the whole gift thing. For some reason people decided you have to give gifts or money to everyone. Mailmen, teachers, people at work, obscure friends drop off gifts, the neighbors and the list goes on and on. Worse, money and time may be tight, you might be a humbug and if you are like me.. are over the whole gift thing.
But there is a better way. A way that you don’t have to fight holiday traffic and parking spaces, don’t have to spend a lot of money and stop getting stressed out about gifts.
We have put together a list of 10 Eco Friendly FREE and frugal ways to gift without feeling like Scrooge.
1.) Re-Gift: I have a box of gifts that I don’t want. Through the years, when something new is given to me and I don’t want, they get dropped in the box. Come time for hostess gifts, white elephant parties, gift exchanges, that box has been a savior. I have notepads, incense, gift cards, ear buds, solar chargers, miscellaneous jewelry and more.
2.) Don’t gift back to those you never received a Thank You card from. Many years I ago, when the extended family started to grow, I started giving cash, always wit the caveat, if I don’t receive a thank you card.. never again. It is amazing how gifts get acknowledged. For those with no thank you.. they just get a homemade card wishing them Merry Christmas.
3.) Give something you already own. People may have admired a household item, you don’t need or want. A friend might love a pair of shoes or a bracelet. Why not give it to them. I have found homes for jewelry and dishes. Nothing wrong with that. This year, I have an extra back-pack going to a friend of mine that travels a lot and doesn’t have one.
4.) Make a donation in their name: What do you give people that have everything? Make a donation. It can be done online, no paper, no mess.
5.) Make it local. Shop at a local small store, support local business and give at the same time.
6.) Give Time! Time is one area where people are in need of. Whether it is babysitting, taking someone on errands, cleaning their house or clean their car. One of the best gifts I gave a boyfriend was a coupon book. Massage, car wash were a few of the coupons that could be redeemed. Personally I would love it if someone offered to come over and clean my house!
7.) Give Fun; Want to see a movie or a play. Take your friend with you. Go to lunch, go to a museum.
8.) Make Something: Lots of old material around the house, make oven mitts. Old buttons, make rings. There lots of crafts you can make and social media platforms just as Pinterest make it very easy to find new uses for old things.
9.) Give Miles or Points: There are many loyalty programs in the world. Some are about points, others about miles. You may have lots, why not give them away.
10.) Swap products or services.
11.) Give reusable bags: Reusable bags at grocery stores are about .99 cents. You may have been at events in which they are giving out the bags. I have a stack and use them for wrapping and give-aways.
As to gift wrapping. Nothing gets thrown away at my house. Again, a handy box of all types of wrapping paper and ribbons. Just the ticket. Included are reusable bags, shoes bags, small cardboard boxes, Christmas Cards all get reused. That hostess gift of incense or wine gets wrapped in an older silk slipper sleeve. One of the most successful reuse wrapping I have done is old cereal boxes. They were a hit. I made quilts for 6 of my nieces and nephews and wrapped in cereal boxes. They loved it.
Since I started doing this, the stress level at the holidays has gone down considerably. I am always prepared and no last minute shopping. What more can you ask for!
If you have any other suggestions, lets us know.