Karen Z offers ideas on alternative gifts, a follow-up to Alternative Gifts Part I:
I began using alternative shopping ideas years ago after reading a mid 80s book by Jo Robinson & Jean C. Staeheli called Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season.
Koinonia Christian based, sells pecans in many forms, cakes, etc.
Christian Appalachian Home sells greens and wreaths and other crafts. I have ordered their wreaths for our church doors for years; it gives employment to people there.
Misericordia cards, amaryllis kits, coffee bakery. Catholic organization supports people with learning disabilities.
Crossnore (crossnoreweavers.org: crossnoreschool.org) Weaving, other gifts. In the heart of Blue Ridge. It’s a DAR supported school built in 5 rural type areas for kids whose families are in trouble.
Hindman Stettlement Baskets, etc. This part of Kentucky is really poor. DAR supported, the Settlement school mission is to provide educational and service opportunities for people of the mountains while keeping them mindful of their heritage. Hindman Settlement School is focusing on dyslexic kids for a large area.
National Wildlife Federation supports conservation and protection for wildlife. They have three children’s magazines. Ranger Rick is the most known.
Berea College Crafts Berea College does terrific crafts—broom, wood furniture, etc. Catalogue is 38 pages . Non profit educating the head, heart and hands. The mugs shown above cost $15 and were made by Berea students. The
Other ideas from Karen:
Think before you buy from a book Simplify Your Christmas by Elaine St. James:
Do I need it? How much will I use it? How long will it last? Will it end up in a landfill? Are the resources that went into it renewable or non-renewable? What is the worst that will happen if I don’t buy it now?
Buy American by supporting home town folks: buy gift certificates from locally owned businesses, like hair salon, barber, restaurant, mechanic, cleaning service, hometown theater, local craft people, lawn service, local golf course, etc.
Some tips for a simpler, more meaningful Christmas: Give alternative gifts. Give 25% of what you spent last year to the truly needy—individuals or groups locally, nationally or internationally. Buy crafts and clothing from developing countries at alternative gift markets, not from commercial importers, so that the artisans receive a fair price for their work.
Give of yourself, not just “stuff”—a, coupon book for future services such as baby sitting for an “enchanted evening” or something baked.
Draw names rather than everyone giving something to everyone else. Set a ceiling for each person.
Take turns opening gifts, not all at once, so each gift can be appreciated and each giver thanked.
Celebrate Advent for four weeks before Christmas.
Whose birthday is it anyway?