There are lots of ways to be environmentally conscious about gift giving. Yet the most truly ecologically and socially positive gifts are those that don't involve an exchange of material objects at all!
Karma yoga, the yoga of action, celebrates DOING rather than giving or receiving. So if this speaks to you this holiday season, instead of or in addition to exchanging material gifts:
- Give a donation to a charity that is close to your or your loved one's heart.
- Donate a Christmas hamper to a family that is less fortunate than you are, so they can have a hearty Christmas meal (I think many big cities have charities that organise these things).
- Think Global: give a gift to someone who wasn't so lucky in the "birth lottery." Check out the fabulous online shops of Oxfam. You can give a gift in someone's name to support a good cause (for example, providing economic opportunities to women, or children's books to a school). In the UK there is also GoodGiving.org.
- Donate your time to a worthwhile cause or pledge to donate time in the future (e.g. run that half marathon for charity).
All of the above are wonderful activities to do with partners and especially (in my humble opinion as a non-parent but as an auntie!) with kids. As they say, if the tradition doesn't work for you - create a new tradition.
Have wonderful holidays everyone. :)