A Different Approach to Holiday Giving

In our family we celebrate Hanukkah with very little gift-giving except to the kids. We’ve even cut way back on their gifts in recent years — to things they’ll love but can also really use.

Gift-giving at Hanukkah parties is more difficult to control. At our annual celebration with my brother’s family, we have tried limiting presents to $15 or under. More recently, we tried limiting them to books. Though I’m crazy about books, that still involved quite a bit of spending — of money and natural resources.

This year, I have a new idea (which I have yet to suggest to my brother — so I don’t know whether or not it will fly): a freecycle style exchange.

If you don’t know what freecycle is, it’s a grassroots movement consisting of local groups that use the internet to exchange stuff for free.

Anyway, my idea is for everyone at the party to bring one or two nice things in good condition that he or she has no use for any more. We’ll lay them all out on a table and let everyone choose something new. The things won’t literally be new, of course, but they’ll be new to the people who bring them home and, I hope, appreciated just as much.


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

, , , , , , ,

6 Responses to A Different Approach to Holiday Giving

  1. Anonymous December 6, 2008 at 7:40 am #

    There’s a lot of things we can do to green our holidays. For example, not to go out on a limb, but I’d ask if you really need a tree. Last year, for example, was the first time in many years I had a tree at all, but it was because my house was where everyone gathered—family from both coasts and a European representative stayed with me over the holidays, so I got a real tree from a local farm, and I recycled it at the end of the season. This year, though, I won’t have a yuletide forest. It’s a bit of a sacrifice, but it makes even more special all the public Christmas trees.

    Check out http://www.salamanderpoints.com, an individual daily carbon counter website, for more information on how to green your holidays and every day!

  2. Anonymous December 9, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    By supporting tree farms, land may be protected from development.

  3. Anonymous December 9, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    My family saves wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and our home-made gift tags. Wrapping with paper from deceased gramas and various family members brings back fond memories. We only need to buy one or two new rolls for the house each year. Just set the wrappings aside during the Christmas morning excitement and later smooth the paper flat and pack into a big flat box.

  4. Anonymous December 9, 2008 at 2:00 pm #

    I purchase a tree each year from a local tree farm. It supports local families, keeps the farm in business and is replaced with a new planting. At the end of the season the tree is returned to the earth.

  5. Anonymous December 9, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    Long before it was the “green” thing to do, I saved wrapping paper, tissue, ribbon and bows to reuse. I must admit it was more an economy issue rather than conservation driven. My family used to laugh at me and my friends called me cheap-now look whose laughing!… and still using the same ribbon to wrap this years gifts that I used 10 years ago.


  6. Vicki's Vegan Vice December 29, 2008 at 3:52 pm #

    great idea! sort of like a white elephant exchange without being wrapped up! nice.