Friday, December 03, 2010

Gifts: Lasting forever is NOT always better

Greener and cleaner for all generations
By Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff
The gift-giving season is upon us, and, like many of you, I have been trying to figure out what would make good presents for the people on my list. I want my gifts to be environmentally friendly and I don’t want to give anybody a dust-collector, or some junk that they don’t really need or want. Our homes are getting cluttered with knickknacks and the latest gadgets that seemed like a good idea at the time, but don’t actually get used. Most of these items will eventually end up in a landfill.

Lately, I think consumable gifts, items like jams, soaps, and baked goods are the way to go. Not only can these gifts be used up and enjoyed, but many times can be made or found locally, helping our economy, using far fewer resources, and generating much less waste. As another plus, you can save your loved ones from having to deal with all that annoying plastic packaging!
A few years ago when my dad moved to a new house, we found ourselves the happy owners of an apple tree. In the fall we had many bags full of apples and needed to find a use for all of them. My dad decided that for Christmas gifts we would make apple jelly, apple syrup, and apple butter. We also included some locally made pancake mix to go with the apple goodies.
The gifts were a hit. Everyone loved getting a homemade present, and what made it even more special was that the most important ingredients (the apples) were grown naturally right in our backyard.

So as you decide what gifts to give your special someones this holiday season, consider including some locally made products or maybe even making something yourself. Your gifts will leave a lighter footprint on the environment, and your special someones will enjoy their gifts even more when they know who made it and where it came from.