Ahhh Winter. Holidays. Fireplaces and sweaters and snuggling. December brings a lot of good feelings. It's the last month of the year and it might seem like it's a better time to wind down, but I believe it is a great time to START some things.
The First Day of Winter, the Winter Solstice, is the shortest day of the year, and while there is a whole lotta winter to go after December 21st, this day marks a time of rebirth. So I say, let's start some great new practices and traditions this holiday season to take into the new year!
A wonderful way to start is right along the vein of the holiday: give gifts. But this year, give GREEN gifts. In the spirit of the 12 Days of (insert holiday here), I'll be giving 12 examples of great green gifts. I'm starting early because, well, you'll need time to shop!
Think not that this is some way to be pushy about green, and forcing your ideals on to your gift recipients. No, no. Instead, think of it as an extra special gift. After all, a green gift means you really put some thought into it. It means you care enough about that person to help them help the Earth! (Rationalize it however you want.) Really, though, what's better: a tie or some knick-knack, or something that can be used again and again? A practical object IS a good gift. And, when you think about it, you realize that the receiver of the gift will think of you every time they use what you have given them. Isn't that the point of a gift? Would you like to be remembered as the person who gave them that really cool and useful thing, or the idiot who gave them that stupid useless thing that either sat around gathering dust or got re-gifted the next year?
So. Where to begin? Let's start with the best and most obvious: water bottles. We all know someone (or lots of someones) who are still in the SUPpy (Single-Use Plastic) habit. Why are they still using those? Maybe they just haven't stopped to get one of their own. There are so many styles and varieties out there that you can find the perfect one for everyone on your list. Personalize them. Get enough for the whole family. Get them for co-workers. Get insulated ones for those who love their hot tea. (My fave even has a little strainer in it and can hold hot or cold.)
It's early enough to order them from some great sites (see below). If you think a bottle is not enough of a gift, then get them a filter for their faucet too. Again, if these seem far too practical to be "cool" gifts, then just remember that you are helping your friends and family be greener, and that is an ULTIMATE gift!
Here's a wonderful site that sells bottles and all kinds of cool things, including a filter that goes IN the water bottle, so they can be filled from the garden hose if need be! Look around the entire site; it's pretty cool. And tell Mark the Good Green Witch sent you! http://www.bottless.org/
This site has wonderful green gifts, including a GREAT bottle: http://revengeis.com/products/reusables Marilyn is the best!
Here's a site I can mention again and again in the gift department, a one-stop shop online: http://www.ecosumo.com/ Ricky and Steven, you guys rule!
Those are a few of the people I really really like. You can also check out local green stores and other green companies. Heck, for last minute, you can find these things in your local Starbucks or grocery store! Just DO IT!
Be ahead of the curve. Be the person who start4ed it in your family. BE the change. Green gifts are the way to go. And don't worry, I'll have plenty more suggestions in the upcoming days!