August is all about birthdays in my world. Mom, sis, uncle, more than a couple of friends. And in the mildly chaotic storm that is my life these days, it would be easy to throw my green philosophy out the window and head to the nearest mall for gifts. But with this blog acting as a daily reminder of why greener choices are important, I tried to do better.
I often prefer to give an experience instead of a gift. For Mother’s and Father’s Day, for example, my Mom or Dad and I will spend a day doing something – a trip to Toronto Island, a photography workshop, or a hike, to name a few recent outings. My hubby and I rarely exchange gifts, usually opting to spend a weekend together, or perhaps buy a bigger ticket item that we’ll both enjoy – our Swift Winisk canoe being my favourite example. Gift certificates can work too, for things like a spa outing or a restaurant.
When I do buy gifts, I try to buy from craft shows and local artisans, as it feels like gifts have more meaning when they’re hand crafted. And I’m just not crafty enough to make them all myself. Recently, I also tried buying a second-hand gift. Not a re-gift (though I’m pro re-gift, if it’s done right), but an antique. Check out the great antique sewing machine I recently found for my Mom’s birthday! She loves it, and it satisfies my green second-hand shopping pledge to not add to the consumer demand for more “stuff”.
This doesn’t mean I never buy traditional gifts. A friend has a Christmas tradition of only exchanging handmade items or books. I casually suggested this to my fam, but was told I was sucking all the fun out of Christmas. Fair enough. I like getting shiny new things as much as the next gal. I’m just challenging myself to think outside the (gift) box, and try to make greener gift choices more often than not.