Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mother Earth deserves gift, too

AS we continue with our piece on eco-friendly Christmas -- it is useful to reflect on what to give our godchildren, relatives, workmates, neighbors and friends in light of what our Mother Earth needs: a break from crass consumerism that is hurting her.

Mindful of the state of our ailing environment, Zero Waste advocates once again put their heads together to come up with a list of eco-friendly gift ideas for you and me to consider, knowing that Mother Earth deserves a gift from us, too.

Previously, we had cited practical pre-shopping and actual-shopping tips, which if observed, would minimize unnecessary expenses, especially for budget-conscious consumers. At the same time, those tips can contribute to cutting emissions resulting from unbridled consumption.

Following are eco-friendly gift ideas:

1. Think about giving gifts that you obtained but have not used.

2. Look through your closet -- give away clothes and accessories that your friends might have been admiring -- a pretty scarf, a nice jacket, a cute bag, etc.

3. Share books that have been read to friends who have the same interest.

4. On recycled Christmas cards, write messages to family and friends and include a photo or two you have of them.

5. Cut up old Christmas cards and reuse them as gift tags.

6. Send e-cards in lieu of paper cards. Personalize them with your own graphic designs or choice photos.

7. Share your signature home-made goodies and dishes, especially from “secret” personal or family recipes.

8. Cook Noche Buena dinners for street children or for families who do not have anything to eat on Christmas Eve.

9. Tell your loved ones that instead of giving them gifts this year, you will make donations in their names to charities, orphanages and environmental projects.

10. Draw or paint creative stuff on flat and smooth stones to make paperweights, plain mugs to make pencil holder or bayong or katsa bag to make your shopping bags more “sosyal.”

11. Choose gifts that come with little or no packaging at all such as gift certificates, movie or concert tickets, bus or train passes, raffle coupons, etc.

12. Don’t wrap gifts. If wrapping is really needed, try old magazines or newspapers, discarded bandannas or fabric scraps. You can also use craft paper and jazz it up with colored pencils.

13. Give gifts that grow and restore the environment: plant and flower seeds or bulbs, kitchen herbs or tree saplings.

14. Patronize local products such as handicrafts made by indigenous and rural communities, jail detainees and the urban poor, non-toxic personal care items, organic products from health and wellness groups, reusable bags from women’s and environmental groups, and other gift items from charities and cooperatives.

15. Buy simple notebooks, cover them with attractive used fabrics and write at the bottom of every 15th page inspirational verses or excerpts from poems and songs.

16. When giving toys, choose ones that are free of choking, laceration and toxic hazards and are age-appropriate and properly labeled.

17. Shun replica guns and other war toys. Go for toys that promote creativity, non-aggressive behavior and social harmony.

18. Gift your barangay by getting involved in a neighborhood project that will serve the poor or preserve the community environment.


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