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Green Gifts that Don’t Create Waste

It’s not easy to be an anti-consumer during the holidays. The deluge of catalogs flooding your mailbox, TV shows bullet-holed with commercials, and your children and grandchildren drawing back in horror every time you vow not to buy presents this year can wear you down. Squeezed between disappointing family and friends and incessant pressure to spend, you can feel like one big guilt sandwich.

Fortunately, there are some creative ideas for giving without generating more waste. By bestowing experiential gifts, the receivers are left with happy memories rather than a pile of wrapping paper. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • A membership to a fitness club

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  • A day at the museum — or nature center — for a child

  • A certificate to a favorite restaurant

  • Concert or movie tickets

  • A massage or spa treatment

  • Lessons: There’s something for everyone, from yoga classes to cooking lessons to pottery making.

  • A share in a consumer supported agriculture (csa) program, providing a set number of weeks of produce from nearby growers. This is a great way to promote the “buy local” movement. (For more information, check out the LocalHarvest site.)

  • A llama. Or duck. Or water buffalo. Donate to Heifer International in your recipient’s name for a gift that transforms a mere animal into economic opportunity for a family in need.

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