Christmas is coming. Here are a few timely (green, lean) suggestions for dinners and gifts . . . for a less stressed, happier holiday season.
Try to buy . . .
- Made in “beautiful” B.C. ~ or Canada ~ as much as possible
- Available local fresh produce for your special meals and gift giving (such as a fruit basket)
- Sustainable seafood products
- Organic or natural personal gifts such as soaps and oils, etc.
- Choose commercial made products with the least additives and preservatives
- Ethical sourced / fair trade foods and gifts for example, nuts, coffee, chocolate bars, etc
- If no time to make your own gifts; visit local arts and craft fairs to buy gifts
- A living plant and / or seed packets or gardening kits for the organic gardener in your life
- LED solar lights (BC Hydro says: they use 90% less energy, last 10 times longer, reduce fire risk and are more durable - what more could you ask for! See : bchydro.com for more tips
- Books: old or new, “green” or blue: there are tons to choose from! Books make great gifts any time of the year!
- Consider “needs” as gifts over “wants”
Try to make . . .
- Christmas gifts in advance such as home-baked breads (raisin), cookies, etc
- “Green” gift baskets such as home-made jams and preserves and your own delightfully delicious homemade chocolates (include ingredients used for those with allergies, etc)
- A Vehicle Emergency Kit (in a container) which includes, candles and matches, flares, a torch, water, First Aid kit, seat belt and windshield glass cutter, lightweight space blanket (this was one of our gift choices last Christmas). Make them for all your family ~ car owners.
- Gifts you can knit (simple toque or mittens) or sew (apron or library book bag) or paint an original work (of your own) art. Be creative
- Healthier food choices and consume or provide non alcoholic punch as an alternative
- For a “big” dinner ~ buy, cook, make and bake food and freeze ahead of time
- Fresh fruit salad (light and refreshing) and whipped cream with shaved chocolate ~ always a great dessert (time permitting make your own homemade ice cream as a treat)
- A “gift coupon” for an occasion or service, such as : babysit the kids, cook an anniversary dinner, paint a room, build a chair (have a time limit and ~ follow through on this one!)
Other ideas . . .
- When “Life” gets a little hectic, put on some “happy” music (Jesse Cook is our current favourite and his CD's are a great gift idea); sit and relax with your favourite “cuppa” and make a “to do” list!
- Reduce (by agreement) gift recipient list (one gift per adult and kids under 16 for example) and set a gift amount (from $ ? to $ ?)
- Recycle gift wrap, boxes, ribbons, tags and bags
- Open a savings, investment, RRSP, TFSA, RESP (check age limits) for a child or grandchild, friend, etc.
- Have a “pot luck” Christmas, New Year or other dinner and share the preparation, cost and cooking
- Keep workday meals “simple” such as wholesome vegetarian pizza, pasta (yummy seafood lasagna), soups and a grilled Panini sandwich and remember to “share” the meal preparation
- Donate a part (or all) of your gift budget to a charity of your choice (sponsor a child, dig a water well, support an orphanage, save a whale, a tiger or a rhino, buy a "village goat", etc.). This gift idea truly epitomizes the “joy of giving”.
- (Next year) plan to take courses on how to make candles, or soap, or jewellery or ?
- Give a family “treasure” as a gift ~ such as a special family book, artwork or painting, jewellery, china, along with a note outlining its previous owners and history – and yes, if the item is valuable - an appraisal for insurance purposes.
- Frame a print of a photo of a landscape , holiday, occasion or person that has special meaning (probably not of a recently deceased person unless you know the recipient very well and it would make them happy)
- Plan a gift of an “occasion” and not a “thing” - a cruise, a trip, a balloon flight, a dinner at a special restaurant (or prepare it yourself) ~ this gift is only limited by your imagination (and budget!)
- Take time to sit by the fire, relax and be thankful for the many good things in your Life . . .
- and . . . spend time with family and friends you love . . . and . . .
Simplify ~ Simplify ~ Simplify ! ! !
PS ~ This is a quick, “off the top of my head” list and is in no way meant to be extensive or exhaustive ! There are, I am sure, many creative gift and entertaining ideas and options listed in magazines and online at this time of the year. Hopefully this note will stimulate your imagination to come up with your own unique and special ideas.
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I'll be Home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year !