Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
With the holidays swiftly approaching, we should be seriously considering where to cast our purchase-power votes. Already the pollution factories in China are shifting into high gear to produce the cheap, throw-away goods that first-world cultures have supported for decades. Let’s all band together decrease this mindless addiction and pollution this year, shall we?
With the trillions of dollars spent each year on gift-buying, we owe it to the revolution now afoot — to justice, the protection of the Earth and our collective health on every level — to support our local economies this holiday season.
Here are a few sustainable and creative gift ideas to support the planet and a truer new light for the holidays.
Support one of the many environmental organizations working to protect the rights of animals, plants, and nature by lending your bucks to protect endangered species, fight pollution, sue a polluter, revive oceans, and save wild places. Donate to a charity of your liking on behalf of your gift recipient. Here is a link for these and more: www.nrdcgreengifts.org. Here’s an organization I give to on a weekly basis — Amazon Watch — doing great work for the indigenous people and their lands (an inseparable bond) in the Amazon basin.
Support Local Artists
Original artwork captures care in physical form, both via the images and message present, as well as the labor of love that went into making it. In your community there are likely dozens and dozens of artists dedicating themselves to their passion. Give them some love this year and give the gift of local art. Farmers markets are a great place to find some of them, along with other craftspeople.
Beekeepers providing local honey and pollen (bless the struggling honeybees and beekeepers that assist them!), local chocolate-makers, basket weavers, furniture-makers, poets and authors, musicians for hire at parties, seamstresses, and organic food growers can all be blessed up for gifts.
Break the mold of typical gifts! Exercise some creativity of your own and make an organic vegetable basket for a gift and add some chocolate or homemade jam to the mix. Been waiting too long to exercise your creativity—buck up and fashion something from your own creativity (especially if it’s imperfect). Another great idea is to plant an herb garden for your folks, good friend, or children. You can even make one out of a wooden planter if there is no ground to plant in and include a list of what the culinary and medicinal uses of the herbs are.
And you can bypass the materialist plot altogether, if it feels right, and for the right person: write a heartfelt letter and make that your gift.
The Gift of Healing
Give the gift of massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal therapies, spa treatment, nature adventure or a gift certificate to a retreat center.
(Editor’s note: I highly recommend Jack Adam Weber’s The Nourish Practice, a guided meditation-Qi Gong practice in radical gratitude and self-love.)
Home and Yard Maintenance
Support your local non-toxic cleaning people and buy a gift certificate for housecleaning, non-toxic car-washing or dry-cleaning. Purchase the services of local land workers. Hire an organic gardener to start a vegetable garden for the person you know who has always wanted to, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump to turn the soil for years. Or, purchase a gift certificate for a hand-mowing (I do all my lawns with a corded, low-energy usage push mower by Greenworks) lawn service.
Local Restaurants and Health Food Stores
Support local restaurants and food producers, especially those that source their produce organically and locally. Visit your local farmer’s market and buy a gift certificate for local produce.
Instead of just purchasing some thing, give the gift of love in action. What creative passion and love of yours has gone undeveloped for too long, or would be a true joy for you to give the gift of your time? Offer it as a holiday gift! Is it gardening, babysitting, painting, building, writing, cooking, pottery-making, auto-detailing, knitting? The list is endless.
What is your labor of love to share for the holidays?
- Give something of quality over quantity.
- Make decorations, or even gifts, using “junk” or recycled products. Decorate your Christmas tree with token junkyard, free-box, or natural oddities and get a big, heartfelt, absurdly beautiful laugh out of it all?
- Recycle wrapping paper or use towels or paper bags to wrap your gifts (break with wasteful tradition). If you have to use paper, try to get FSC (Forestry Stewardship Certified) paper.
- Maybe you will choose to express your holiday love in words, music, dance, or song, instead of giving a ready-made thing?
- Gift something enduring, beautiful and necessary instead of something temporarily amusing, superficial, and ultimately wasteful.
- Try making your own cards!
If You Gift a Book…
Consider making it an educational, inspiring one for a greener, more empowered future. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of books out now on this subject.
More than ever — and every year more so — we need to mind how we vote with our money, our time and energy. Whatever your gift this holiday season, consider where it comes from, the love that went into making it, the effects it has had and will have on the environment and the recipient, how long it will last, and how it will help stoke the light of the hearts that participated in making, buying, and receiving it.
If it meets the integrity of your conscious heart, it will likely be a gift that keeps giving long after the charade of the holidays has passed and we are left with the despicable reality of trillions of tons of waste that spoils the planet and besmirches the true light we need to share, protect and nourish in the challenging years to come.
With this said, the holidays can be a wonderful time. It depends how we approach them. We need not be extremists and dismiss them because of their commercialism, waste, and religious affiliation. Do you love friends, family, and taking a break from the daily grind? If so, then find a way to enjoy this time of year and show the people you love that they matter to you in a way that feels good to you too. No need to throw out the baby of heartfelt celebration with the bathwater of holiday cheer. Frickin’ enjoy yourself! 🙂
The Nourish Practice
Jack Adam Weber’s “The Nourish Practice” is an easy, guided meditation-Qi Gong practice in radical gratitude and self-love. It is an Earth-based, body-centered practice — at once physiological and mythological — that is deeply relaxing and replenishing, especially for modern-day burn-out syndrome, and requires little physical effort.
The Nourish Practice “resets your nervous system” and fosters a rich inner life. You can purchase The Nourish Practice as a Digital Download here.
Previous articles by Jack Adam Weber:
- The Modern Shaman: Fierce Love at the Frontier of Madness
- Arrogance in Relationships: How to Deal With and Heal It
- 11 Reasons Why Hippies (Not Psychos) Should Rule the World
- The Monsanto Years: Singer Neil Young Rips Into GMOs, Big Biz and Conformity
- ReVOLUTION: When Enough is Enough
- Sex – Truth and Dare, Pleasure and Purpose
- Relationships: The Costs of Staying When We Should Leave
- Emotional Work
- Yin Yang — Ancient Wisdom for Personal and Planetary Transformation
- Heartbreak – Loving Ourselves Through Difficult Times
About the author:
Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac. is a Chinese medicine physician, author, celebrated poet, organic farmer, and activist for body-centered spirituality. He is also the creator of The Nourish Practice, an Earth-based rejuvenation meditation. Weber is available by phone for medical consultations and life-coaching.
You can connect with Jack Adam Weber at:
- Facebook: Facebook.com/JackAdamWeber
- Twitter: Twitter.com/JackAdamWeber
- Email: [email protected]