Green Industry Articles

5 Ideas for Holiday Experiences, Not Stuff

You only need to catch one episode of "Storage Wars" (the A&E Network show in which people bid on the abandoned goods found in storage units) and you know that almost no one needs more mass-produced goods.

Yet the holidays loom and people expect gifts.

But you can resist the door-buster sales and pledge to give experiences, not stuff, this year. Since it's only November, there's still time to think about the ideal gifts for those on your list.

Here are five categories to consider:

1. Art: Fewer and fewer people experience the joy of making something with their own hands. Chicago has Lillstreet Art Center, New York has the 92nd Street Y, and Mystic, Conn., has the Mystic Art Center. Spring for one art class and your gift recipient may discover a passion for ceramics, painting or textiles.

2. Concerts: Music can calm the soul, boost concentration and brain power and provide a brief, healthy escape from reality. Depending on the recipient, some gift possibilities include a round of violin or guitar lessons, lawn passes to Boston's Tanglewood or
Chicago's Ravinia, or tickets to see a favorite band on tour.

3. The basics: Let's face it. In this economy, some people are really hurting and they may have basic needs that are unmet. Someone might find it humiliating for you to take them grocery shopping, but a gift card to an organic market probably would be a welcome
present. So would a gift certificate for a dinner out or for a day at a museum. Consider taking a read of someone's needs and stepping in to provide for them in a way that won't cause discomfort.

4. Services: Look around your neighborhood at local service providers and give friends and family a session with one of those experts. That could be a green cleaning service, a consultation with a professional organizer, or a dinner cooked by a personal chef.

5. Donations: So giving a donation in someone's honor could elicit a gulp. But if that gift supports the recipient's pet cause, you just might end up being viewed as this year's most creative, thoughtful gift-giver. Plus, the recipient will never need to dust, store, or, gulp, re-gift your present.

Source: Green REsource Council Newsletter, November 2011