|[an error occurred while processing this directive]|
|[an error occurred while processing this directive]||
Green your Gift List
Friday, Dec. 5, 2008 | 03:17 PM AT
EVERYBODY LOVES PREZZIES. There. It's out. And I'd be the last person in the world to try and convince you otherwise. But (cue the cheesy music) perhaps we've lost sight of the real point of gift giving. It was never supposed to be about price and status. A good gift is something that proves that you've HEARD the recepient. That you care. And even if it's a luxury item, it should be something that the person will cherish and use. NOT something that's going to end up on a dusty shelf by February.
I'll admit I think the best gifts are homemade. To me, the time and love and effort in a handmade item mean so much more than even a well-thought-out store item. Of course, I care about craftsmanship. You can't just slap a few layers of paint on a piece of paper and call it homemade art. Again, it's about the thoughtfulness an effort that goes into things that makes all the difference. A messy painting may not mean much if it comes from your adult sister--but it probably would mean the world if it depicts your three-year-old's favourite bedtime story. You see what I mean?
Before we get into the actual gift guide, I want to explain how I thought up this piece. I was doing something thinking around eco-friendly gifts. I grew up in India and although I was raised Hindu, we always celebrated Christmas with a tree and gifts. Thing is, all these years later, the memories I cherish the most were not of the gifts themselves. I honestly can't remember a single one--although I was quite thrilled with them at the time. What I remember is the setting up of the tree. The fun we had making sweets at home. The stories my Dad would tell us on Christmas eve. And of course, the scrawny Indian dude in a Santa suit with a pillow tummy who would make the rounds of the neighbourhood delivering prezzies our parents had bought.
So how can you create the sort of memories that will warm your child's heart when she's all grown and living in a foreign land? I have a few ideas...
But how to do convince your 11 year old that it's cool to get a second hand gift when all his friends are getting scads of overpackaged plastic made-in-China doo-dads? It's tough, but it's important to have conversations about the economy and our collective impact on the environment. Of course, ultimately you know that no matter how well thought out your arguments, they're not going to be as convincing as that of another kid. A kid like Soliel Pariseau. She's the one with whom I shot my TV piece.
5. Video games: For all you gamers (or gamer lovers), here's a way to get your fix without trashing the planet. Plus you get to save some cash. Soleil's family has come up with a novel way of feeding Zachary's frenzy: they buy him coupons that he uses to rent games at the local video store. This also allows him to try out games with no pressure. If he ends up loving a game, they buy it used at E B Games. They have stores all over the city and will usually sell used games for between $5 and $10 off the brand new price. Plus you can bring your game back when you're done for in-store credit towards a fresh one. Game on!
6. Rubbing the right way: Okay, Soleil is DEFINITELY onto something with this one. She's bought her mum a voucher for a massage and a facial. Services tend to have a lower impact on the environment than actual physical objects. And one of the most memorable presents I've received was an hour floating in one of the salt water eggs at L'Ovarium. Not for everyone, but I loved it! Massages or a visit to a naturopath (I love mine--Ginette Pelletier at Ki) would probably be quite welcome at this stressful time of year.
7. Homemade coupon: THESE are my favourites! If you lack the money to hire a massotherapist or cleaning service, simply vounteer your time (and a small handmade coupon). Get creative with crayons, felt pens, stamps or your printer and shower your loved ones with coupons for quality time. Among the most popular are: housework, babysitting, meals, dog-walking, love slave (what? what? It's true!). You can even create a booklet with a variety of services included. In my house we even have a "Get out of Jail Free" card that we ping back and forth every time one of us messes up.
I'll be posting more ideas here as they come to me. Don't forget to come back next week for green gift wrapping ideas. And obviously, I want to hear what you're doing to green your Xmas list! Leave me a comment or call our talkback line: (514) 597-5626
This discussion is now Open. Submit your comments.
Post a comment