Friday, December 4, 2009

Your Green Holiday Gift Guide

Installment 2:  Buy Nothing Holidays

Buy Nothing Christmas ( is a national initiative started by Canadian Mennonites but open to everyone with a thirst for change and a desire for action. (I’m curious: did the Canadian Mennonites start a website?!)

Create a secret hollow book: You might not want to sacrifice Sargentich on Torts just yet, but you can probably find an old hardcover lying around somewhere. Glue the pages together, use an X-Acto knife to hollow out the center of the book. Now the recipient can store his or her treasures!

Photoshop your friends and family: A graphic designer created a booklet that Photoshops her 6-year-old nephew onto cheap stock photos of world landmarks, such as the Great Wall, so it looks like he’s traveled the world. This home-made travel brochure is perfect for adventurous young minds. You could also make a Flat Stanley of your younger relatives, if you’ll be traveling.

Memory drawings: “Draw a very simple black-and-white picture of a memory that you have of you and the person (e.g. me and my dad playing NES back in the day). This could be a very simple, Shel Silverstein style drawing. Frame it and gift. The great thing about this (besides being cheap) is that you can give it multiple times to the same person. They will have a growing collection of ‘memory drawings’ from you.”

Create a cookbook: Make a collection of family recipes, and print and bind the recipes for everyone.  You could do this at a gathering, where everyone can provide a recipe.  You could also make a theme cookbook, for example cookies, and provide samples along with the cookbook.

Write a family history: Pick a topic, and ask each family member to write about it. One person plays ‘editor’, collecting the stories, and presents them all together for Christmas. Sample topics could include: your favorite holiday, the house you grew up in, how everyone met their spouses, the funniest family gathering. This is especially good for older relatives—you could even interview them and write their stories yourself to share with your family. You could print these and make booklets. 

You can make more than gifts!

Make your own greeting cards: Craft stores like Michael’s sell boxes of assorted brightly colored cards, or you could just use cardstock. Then, use leftover paper scraps and stickers to decorate them.

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