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Holiday Gifts Without...

Holiday Gifts Without the Guilt

I enjoy holiday time and I don’t mean to sound like a Grinch, but this year I have a few quibbles with the usual holiday gift exchanges:

1) Budgets are tighter and I don’t want to spend money on things my loved ones won’t use. (Nor do I want them to waste money on me!)

2) I’ve redecorated a bit and I’m trying to keep our house neater, so I just don’t have room for any more “stuff.”

3) I think many gifts are a waste of environmental resources, and I am interested in preserving our planet.

With those thoughts in mind, here are some ideas The Scramble crew has come up with for affordable, clutter-free and eco-friendly holiday gifts:

Homemade Treats
If you’re longer on time and creativity than cash, make edible gifts such as chili and cornbread, homemade soup, molded chocolate (you can buy adorable reusable molds at baking supply stores), and fresh baked breads, cookies, and cakes. For a delightful recipe for layered cookie mix in a jar (recipients just add butter, eggs, and bake) check out the Scramblog.

Consumable Gifts
I’m always glad to receive delicious fair trade and eco-friendly coffee, chocolate, bath oils, fresh fruit baskets, fresh herb plants, or flowering plants such as orchids or African violets.

Great Reads
Books don’t take up much space and can be savored and shared. Some of the best books I read this year include: My Life in France by Julia Child, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Warm Springs by Susan Shreve, and Out Stealing Horses by Per Petersen.

Active Gifts
It’s exhilarating to receive something that will enrich our lives, such as a membership to a museum or a National Park, gift certificate to a paint-your-own-pottery shop, an exercise class, or a session with a personal trainer, or something a little more indulgent like a pedicure or spa treatment.

Gifts That Change Lives
These are four unique organizations where your gift recipients can select exactly how they want to affect change with your gift donation. Support an entrepreneur in a developing nation at Kiva.org, help a teacher at Donorschoose.com, give sustenance at Heifer.org, or plant a tree in a Costa Rican rainforest at Savebiogems.org.

Priceless Gifts
Give family and friends “priceless gifts” such as coupons for babysitting, rides to the airport, dog walks, back massages, and other valuable gestures of time and care.

Gifts of Great Taste, Good Health, and Time
You already know the value of this gift, but now you can get even more value for your efforts. Between now and December 30, 2008 you’ll get $5 off of all 6 month gift subscriptions (now just $24.50) and $10 off of 12 month subscriptions (now just $44.50).

With these ideas in mind, I know I’ll feel great about my gift giving this year. I hope they help you complete your list, too.

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