‘Tis the season when America’s collective mania for more STUFF not only takes a major toll on the planet, but also produces high anxiety during what should be a joyful and heartwarming season. We at Sustainable Fairfield Task Force would suggest giving gifts that are good for the environment, yet still a delight for both giver and recipient. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Shop locally. Downtown Fairfield boasts a plethora of stores including clothing, household items, books, art and more. The town’s Shop and Stroll event on December 6th is a fun way to explore the shops and restaurants that make Fairfield so merry and bright, and maybe meet friends and neighbors. Guaranteed to give you that small town homey feeling that we love about Fairfield.
Give an eventful gift- movie, concert or theater tickets. Fairfield’s rich culture has something for everyone and you can give someone something to look forward to in those bleak winter days. A gift certificate to a pottery or jewelry making store , with you tagging along, might be fun, and the time spent together will be as cherished as the gift.
How about the gift of learning? A cooking class for a foodie friend? Is there a budding Michelangelo in your house? He or she might enjoy a painting or glass blowing class. Skating lessons are always fun, and nothing is as adorable as a little one on skates.
Everything old can certainly be new again. Fairfield has quite a few used clothing, antique and collectible shops as well as some nearby auction houses. Your scavenger hunt for a unique gift, such as a wonderful piece of jewelry, pottery or a vintage handbag, could lead to treasure.
Here is some stuff that can be useful:
A reusable coffee mug. It may sound like a ho-hum gift, but when the recipient finds out they are helping to stop billions of paper cups from the waste cycle their response will be Ho-ho! A stainless or glass water bottle will have quite a ripple effect, as will reusable straws. Gifts that keep plastic out of our already troubled waters. Birdseed and a bird feeder can help ensure our songbirds stay strong through the winter.
Plant a tree or trees in someone’s name. Trees are beneficial in so many ways. They sequester carbon as well as provide home and shelter to many different species. Fairfield’s Forestry committee has a program to plant a tree in front of your home. They will do the planting and mulching.
An electric bike might be the perfect gift for a student or commuter. And if you are springing for the big one- a car for that special someone- why not make it an Electric Vehicle? They will thank you profusely every time they don’t have to fill up the tank!
The gift of travel is often on someone’s wish list, so why not make it an eco travel gift? Many environmental groups have offerings of service trips or eco adventures. What a better way to bond with family or friends? And don’t forget, you can offset the carbon footprint of your trip by calculating your CO2 usage a and donating to organizations working to combat climate change.
For the younger ones on your list, animal adoption is a wonderful way to get them to know and follow different species. The World Wildlife Fund, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Sierra club all offer adoptions.Membership to local museums, zoos and nature centers can offer year round hands on interaction with nature.
And while we’re changing the names of days, why not change Cyber Monday to Enviro Monday? However, if expediency and circumstance sends you online to shop, then here are some suggestions.
Shop in bulk from one place, and not one package at a time. This will conserve the energy it takes for you to get your packages. And eschew two day shipping for the slower route.
Give a donation in someone’s name to an Environmental Organization.
What better gift than to help champion clean air, water and earth for the health and prosperity of our planet and its creatures? Priceless.
Your friends at SFTF