Tag Archives: holiday shopping

7 Ways to Have a More Eco Friendly Black Friday

Here comes one of the biggest shopping days of the year – Black Friday. It’s a time when many people go wild with their Christmas shopping, determined to get the best bargains, even if that means shopping all night at one of the many stores that plans to be open all night that night. If you don’t like the ridiculous overspending encouraged by Black Friday, why not rebel and find something to do that’s easier on the environment?

1. Participate in Buy Nothing Day

In North America, Buy Nothing Day is the day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday. If you don’t approve of joining the crowds, show it, even if you plan to do Christmas shopping later. Just refuse to shop on Black Friday.

I love Buy Nothing Day because it means I can sit back and enjoy family at a time that’s a little quieter than Thanksgiving itself. Leftovers mean that meals are often easy to come by, and we’ve all done our holiday routine. Why hurry into the rush of the holiday season when you can ease yourself into it only as far as necessary? Take this day off.

2. Make homemade gifts.

If you’re into crafts, cooking and so forth, why not start work on your homemade gifts? I’m making a beautiful hair stick pair for my oldest daughter… good thing she doesn’t read my websites, I can say things like that. She has wanted one for ages. Might have to hand it over a bit before the holiday so she can wear it for Christmas.

3. Go shopping at thrift and resale stores.

Rather than buy new, see what you can find used to give as Christmas gifts. You may be able to find some gifts that are quite affordable used, but would be prohibitively expensive if bought new. Know your audience and go for it.

You may also be able to find great used items on sites such as eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle and so forth.

4. Buy warm clothes and bedding.

Want to save a little on your heating bills this winter? Seek out deals on warmer clothes and blankets for your bed. The warmer you dress, the less you have to heat your house to keep comfortable. Same goes for your bed when you go to sleep at night.

5. Go hiking.

Why stay indoors when you can get outside. Whether or not you can reasonably go hiking depends, of course, on your local weather, but if it’s just a matter of bundling up you may still be able to have some fun out there. Keep it safe and respect local conditions, of course.

6. Volunteer.

Have a cause you’d like to support? Get out and help it rather than go shopping. You could also join one of the Occupy groups if that’s an interest of yours, just for the day or longer if you like. Just do something that is your way of trying to make this world a little better.

7. Seek out eco friendly products – cautiously.

If you really need to get out into the sales, look for the eco friendly options out there. That may include a lot of online shopping, which allows you to avoid the crowds, plus you don’t have to drive anywhere.

It also means you can more easily seek out eco friendly products. Do be careful, as there’s so little regulation of green claims. See if there are any great deals on eco friendly products. Remember to include toys for the kids in your search. Places to shop include (I don’t know who all will be having Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales):

Greenbatteries Store
Ethical Ocean
Earth Divas
Gifts With Humanity
Amazon Green

How Can You Avoid Consumerism This Holiday Season?

Halloween is just the beginning of the holiday season. Stores have long since put out Christmas decorations for sale and many children are already thinking about what they’d like for Christmas. Is there any way to avoid excessive gifts and so forth throughout the holiday season?

Remember Why You Celebrate

No matter the holiday you’re celebrating, remember why you’re celebrating it and think less of the things involved. Holidays of all sorts are celebrated for special reasons, and sometimes these reasons get lost in the drive to participate in the way family and friends have come to expect. This often leads to too much stuff being bought and a lot of stress to make everything just right.

Focus on People, Not Things

What really makes a holiday celebration a success? It’s usually not so much the gifts or even the food. It’s the people. Your best holiday celebrations are shared with people you care about. There may be some arguments and hurt feelings, but there’s a reason why holidays are such a focus for getting family together. Enjoy it as best you can.

Agree to Limit Gifts

There are many ways you can control how much is spent on holiday presents. You can agree to dollar amount limits. You can agree to shop at resale stores. You can agree to give each other things you’re done with that the other would like. You can draw names so that each person only needs to shop for a few.

Handmade gifts are another great option, especially if you have a lot of creative people in your family. Handmade gifts have a lot more personal meaning to them than anything you can give from the store.

You can also agree to simply exchange holiday greetings with extended family rather than gifts. This can be extremely welcome if finances are tight for some families.

Find something that works for your family. It may take some time – sometimes one or more people will agree at first, then fall prey to the urge to continue on as before, leaving others feeling as though they haven’t done enough. It takes a lot to make a limit on holiday shopping work, but it can be done if all participants really want it to.

As for your own children, they really don’t need a ton of presents. In my family, the stuff grandparents give them take care of most of that urge kids have to unwrap presents, while my husband’s and my main gift to them is a shopping trip with one or both of us. A budget is set, and they get to pick a toy and some new clothes, then we head out for a treat. Simple and they beg for that to be their gift each year right now. Kids love it when your time is a part of their gift. I love that the clothes they’d need anyhow can be a gift.

Give to Charity in Someone Else’s Name

A gift doesn’t have to be something that sits in the recipient’s house. It can be given to a charity the recipient approves of.

Think about programs that allow you to buy schoolbooks or livestock for people in need, or that bring clean water to communities without clean water nearby. There are a lot of great charities that help with the specific things communities need.

Think About the Food You Buy

Food is a big part of many holiday celebrations. Everyone has their favorites and their traditions. Some ways, it’s harder to change food traditions than gift giving traditions, but you can make it work.

Start with food sources. What can you buy that was grown or made locally, free range or organic? How much can you make from scratch? Can you avoid processed foods?

It’s not always easy to improve your food sources. It can be downright expensive or impractical, depending on what’s available in your area and your budget. Just do what you can.

It takes time to make major changes to how your family celebrates holidays, but the benefits are great. Not only do you give things that are more wanted, but you get less stress and more time to truly enjoy the holidays and the time with your family.