Christmas already? Think local, eco friendly gifts!

I’m a huge fan of Halloween.  I love decorating for it, love, love, love dressing up and love to see what other people do.  I think it brings out the creativity in all of us.

This year, however, as I was cruising through a couple of stores looking for some additional items to craft up decorations and costumes, I heard haunting laughter in front of me and Christmas Carols chiming from the aisle behind me.  At the time I was incredibly disturbed by this, I mean seriously, Christmas in October?

Now that Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is approaching, I have to admit my mind has gone there too.  I never let myself decorate, do Christmas cards or begin to shop until after Thanksgiving, but I have to admit.  I’m thinking about it, a lot.  My mind has already moved onto Christmas.

The other day I received an email with a list of gifts to get friends and family that are made in the USA.  The thing I really like about this list of gift ideas is that it is filled with experiences vs. “stuff” which means it won’t be wrapped in boat loads of paper and there’s nothing to throw away, donate or recycle when they get tired of it and eventually want to part with it. The bonus is that the majority of ideas are also local (regardless of where you live) so you can give twice with one gift!  As much as I loved the list that came in that original email, I thought of a few more items so I included those as well.

So here it is…. my list of local, green and eco-friendly gifts.

  • Gift certificate from a local salon or barber.  –   (Almost) everyone gets their hair cut.
  • Massage/Spa/Facial – Who couldn’t use a little tension release after the holidays?
  • Vineyard tour & wine tasting – Assuming of course, that they like wine!
  • Gym membership – It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
  • Car wash(es) &t detail – Whether you get a gift certificate for one time or a book of gift certificates to last throughout the year, who doesn’t love a clean car
  • Oil changes for car, truck, motorcycle at a local shop
  • Local, independent restaurant gift certificate
  • Half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint
  • Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
  • Local theater (stage, or LOCAL movie theater)
  • Arboretum membership
  • Zoo membership
  • Children’s theater gift certificate
  • Science museum membership
  • Cooking classes
  • Photography classes
  • Orchestra
  • Brew your own (beer or root beer) classes
  • Local garden store gift certificates
  • Gift certificate to a local Co-op
  • Gift certificate for a CSA

Want to something that will last even longer or is more practical?


  • Lawn mowing service for the summer
  • Snow removal (shovel or driveway plowing) for the winter
  • House cleaning by the local “cleaning lady” for a day
  • Golf at a local golf course
  • Computer tune-up through an independent business

What else can you do over the holidays?

  • Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip (they typically get paid just a little over minimum wage and rely on their tips to make a living).
  • Shop at local stores – you’ll find unique gifts!
  • Buy  a few holiday goodies from your local bakery.
  • Don’t forget to give your mail carrier, trash handler, stylist, massage therapist and babysitter a nice BIG tip (or gift card – some businesses don’t allow cash).

If you still want to get something more unique or personal?  Check out local craft shows and buy from local artists.  You will find everything from people who spin their own wool and knit them into scarves, mittens, hats, to homemade soaps, handmade jewelry, pottery, clothing, paintings and photography.

Just remember, Christmas is about caring.  When you buy local you support small businesses so they can keep following their dreams.  And, when we care about the people in our communities the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

Have an idea I missed?  Post a comment!


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