The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 6, 2002


Ten ideas for an environmentally friendly holiday

Season's Green-ings! With the holiday season upon us, maybe it's time to start a new tradition — giving gifts that create less waste and more memories. Some of the most valued gifts reflect thought, love and energy rather than stressful trips to the mall, loads of packaging, or high impact on the environment. Here are ten ideas to get you started:

1. Give an experience, for example a ticket for a day trip on a train.
2. Give a membership to a museum.
3. Make volunteer coupons (walking the dog for a period of time, hugs and kisses, a free afternoon).
4. Get season tickets to a sporting event.
5. Select a bat roosting box (bats love to eat mosquitos!) or bluebird houses. How about offering to build one with your kids: a fun, social, educational, cooperative craft project that's also useful.
6. Give concert, theater, or movie tickets.
7. Give a bird feeder and birdseed.
8. Fill Christmas stockings with refillable pens and mechanical pencils.
9. Present a recycled gift — give something of your own that would be treasured by the recipient.

10. Bake a gift: a gingerbread house, batch of cookies, loaf of bread.

One of last year's favorite gifts in our house was "Mute Mom Money". This was a handmade certificate promising to take my teenager shopping for clothes, during which trip I would remain silent and merely smile and nod encouragingly at the clothes selected (up to the designated dollar amount). We've long since forgotten the clothes purchased, but my teenager and I still remember what fun we had together. It was such a popular gift that my younger child asked for her own version this year.
Give it a try in your house this year! For more holiday ideas, check out the Center for a New American Dream's on-line brochure "Simplify the Holidays" at, offering practical tips for having a holiday with more joy and fewer material items. You can also "Deck the Halls with Less Waste This Year" at
Dan Scholten, the columnist of Green Corner, has asked Cathy Galligan to share her environmentally-friendly ideas for holiday gift giving,

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito