What better time to shop with a conscience than Christmas, the spiritual-gone-secular holiday that has sadly (and ironically) become synonymous with "shop till you drop"?, writers Heidi Schlumpf in NCR Online.
I'm not suggesting that anyone give up gift-giving or only make charitable donations in recipients' names (though there is something to be said for the latter idea). Instead, I've made a list - and checked it twice - of 10 ways to have a less commercial, more meaningful gift exchange this Christmas.
1 Shop at small businesses. Sure, it's convenient to get gifts for nearly everyone on your list plus ingredients for Christmas cookies, not to mention socks and motor oil, at the SuperTarget, but if you lament that such behemoths have forced cozier retail shops out of business, support small businesses when you shop for gifts.
Yes, prices may be a little higher, but the service is usually worth a little extra. And here's an idea: Buy less. Our family recently went to the "one gift per person" rule. If you're just getting one thing, that one thing can be a little nicer. And, just like their big competitors, many small businesses allow you to shop online.
2 Give experiences, not stuff. What to get the person who literally has everything they want or need? Don't jump on the latest invention (i.e., the Snuggie) or add to their collection of useless junk. Instead, give experiences. Some of my favorite gifts to receive are certificates for things I can't justify splurging on: manicures, massages, tickets to a play. Even better, give an experience you share with the recipient, such as tickets to an event you'll both attend or a class you'll take together.
3 Create your own gifts. Fear not, those of you who are not crafty. Even if you can't sew on a button, you can give a little bit of yourself in some sort of handmade or creative gift. Bottle your own beer, design business cards or a website, grow plants from seed. For years I've been giving homemade toffee, which is really quite simple once you buy a $10 candy thermometer.
FULL STORY 10 ways for Christmas gifts to reflect your values (NCR)