Monday, December 8, 2008

gift guide, part 2A

"Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"No one wastes resources out of meanness; we do it when we think, maybe this thing will make us happy. To know that happiness does not come from things changes everything." - Laurel Robertson

"I have come to understand, finally, and even to accept, that in almost everything I believe and care about I am a member of a minority in my own country, and in most cases a very small minority." - John Holt

Three quick items before we get to the criteria that I used when deciding what to include:
  • Shopping locally: I'm listing mostly online sources for gifts on this list. By definition, local is only local to me and the small number of people who happen to both read this blog and live near me. So I encourage you to find local sources for this stuff whenever you can. By listing online sources, I'm trying to follow Laurel Robertson's definition of buying local, which says that money is a form -- a projection -- of our life force, and that we should put it to good purposes in each transaction. I hope this guide helps you do just that. Order soon, though! Christmas is coming quickly!
  • Cost: This is a tough one. The truth of the matter is that beautiful, environmentally friendly products whose makers were paid a living wage cost more in the short run than crap that was produced at great cost to our earth and water and whose makers don't earn enough to eat or live in anything remotely resembling a house. You decide: is it better to give a small, simple gift that you can feel good about, or a whole bunch of gifts that you should feel guilty about? In this guide, I've tried to include ideas that will fit a wide budgetary range. Remember that a gift that won't be loved, enjoyed, and used by the recipient is no gift at all, it's just clutter.
  • Wrapping: Once you've got your gift in hand, stick with the whole sustainability idea. Wrap it in recycled gift wrap, a paper bag from the grocery store, a newspaper, or, the best idea of all, make fabric bags (using organic fabric, of course!) It's easy, just cut squares or rectangles to the appropriate size, put right sides of fabric together, stitch up three sides and hem the fourth. Put the gift in, tie it with a ribbon, yarn, or string, sew a spare button on a piece of scrap paper to make a pretty tag. Voila!

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