I was at my uber-organized friend’s house the other day and happened upon her advent calendar. Instead of filling each pocket with a little piece of chocolate or a trinket, she’s been surprising her kids with “Gifts of Time”--carefully designed certificates for “one night of choosing dinner” or “30 Minutes of Uninterrupted (i.e. no emails or texting) Mommy Time. “ She says the kids are thrilled with their special treats.
I like getting presents as much as the next person, and my kids, hands down, love presents. But who remembers all the specific gifts you receive each year? What you probably remember more are the family traditions you create and time spent with friends.
“Gifts of Time” are the most perfect eco gifts imaginable--no plastic, no wrapping, no driving to the store. Here are some ideas for everyone on your list:
- Go on a hike with your husband.
- Plan a dinner with a friend.
- Make an ice skating, sledding, or snowshoeing date with your family.
- Pick a cause near and dear to your loved one and donate some of your time in their honor.
- Babysit for a relative or friend.
- Offer to pick up your neighbor’s children from school.
- Clean your mother’s home or run errands for her.
- Let your child pick a game for game night.
These are gifts that cost nothing but have real value. So skip the wrapping paper, give your wallet a rest, and design a few certificates. Trust me, even scrooges will be touched.
Francesca Olivieri is co-founder of sage baby, an online eco-friendly baby store offering everything from organic clothes and skin care to furniture. She also runs a green consulting business; blogs for The Family Groove and Scenic Hudson; and contributes to Daily Candy Kids, YogaCity, Citiscoop, and NRDC’s Simple Steps. Please visit her website at FrancescaOlivieri.com.