Friday, February 22

Greener and Simple Living Gifts

Trevor and I have been trying to make an active effort to get away from the 'lots of stuff' culture that's so prevalent in the US. That's actually part of why it's taking us so long to clear out the house is we aren't just moving things from one place to another- we're going through everything and if we have any doubt that we need or will use it we're getting rid of it. "If in doubt, it's out!" has become our new motto =) In an effort to have a more simple living, green life style.

I feel this should probably extend to our gifts for each other too (I'm still torn about toys for the boys, have to think about that a little more). We've always tried to do greener gifts for each other (usually getting something  through thrift or trade fits this bill under reuse though). Last year I tried to stick to stuff Trevor had an immediate use for. He really likes Kenneth Cole Reaction- all the cologne, gear and clothing lines. It was his brand of choice when we started dating but budget constraints put a damper on that since starting a family. So last year I budgeted around some money ($150) that I used to get several him Kenneth Cole Reaction items. The normal price of everything would have been in the $400 range but I used deal sites, groupons, stores like Marshalls, clearance and any other trick I could think of to pull that off =) He was extremely happy about it (although I still can't get him to wear his new watch most the time... he doesn't want to ruin it. What's the point of having it if you aren't going to use it? He wears it out to special things though.)

I don't regret doing that by any means! But I don't think I'm going to repeat it this year. I wanted to try for things that were more experiences and less 'stuff'. I figured for things like birthdays we could plan dinners out instead or even activities. Sites like groupon, living social, google offers and shop mid mo have made that much more affordable if you are open to new places and experiences =) Maybe also more consumable items, and ones that are easy to recycle or reuse.

More magazine subscriptions, not green in that they use a lot of paper- but I will admit I don't like digital subscriptions. I totally embraced the digital book experience. Gave away literally thousands of in hand books. I kept only my very very favorite (some of which cannot yet be found as ebooks) and my crafting books. I tried digital magazine subscriptions. I truly did. I got a Mothering digital subscription (before they discontinued the magazine altogether) and a few others. Something just about it just isn't the same and curling up with an actual magazine or reading one while you run. Luckily magazines are easy to recycle and easy to reuse for crafts (we'll be using a bunch to paper mache some balloons and create Easter baskets soon actually). So I don't have to feel too bad about that.

More gift baskets with usable items. Last year for my parents anniversary we did a "Romantic Evening In" gift basket. It had a white wine (for Mom) a red wine (for Dad), a soup mix (just add water and heat), bread to go with the soup. Then for afterwards some chocolate covered pretzels, five bags of preground one pot's worth of coffee in different flavors (so they could choose which one to do) and some biscotti's to go with the coffee. I didn't think about it then, but that gift basket was a good example of what I mean now.

I think for the kids I'll continue to do toys of course. But I think in general we are going in the right direction gift wise =)

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