Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Truly Sustainable Gift: Non-Giving

Wow! My family has made the unthinkable shift this year, to cut back on gift-giving between family members. It feels emotional for me to witness this change in tradition come to pass...a tradition of gift-giving which was years in the making, a tradition which goes back years-deep into my childhood between my siblings. We mustered up the jubilant courage, however, and it is now a new beginning. I talked over the phone today to my brother and sister about this idea. It felt like sacrilege to bring it up, but once spoken it just seemed like common sense, and we all immediately agreed to the change. Between my siblings and I there are now multiple nieces and nephews, and also additional extended families-in-law. That's a lot of gift-giving to be done! And stress - to find just the appropriate special item for each individual, and cash - these gifts can really add up. This year, with the economy in the doldrums, it seems the perfect time to introduce this new tradition. So, starting this year, we will only give gifts to the kids. My siblings and I, as we all got off the phone together, breathed a mutual sigh of relief, and laughed at what a great gift we had given to ourselves. More time to enjoy this beautiful, joyful season, and less time spending unneeded money, time, and energy on things someone may or may not actually need. For me, making these changes towards wasting less and wanting less, ultimately makes much more sense, is less wasteful, and is the most truly sustainable gift you can give to yourself, your family and to the planet.

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