2015 Holiday Guide: Giving with less stuff and more meaning
Steamboat Springs — Re-gifting the right way
Is re-gifting a past, unused present okay?
“Of course it is,” nationally syndicated financial counselor Dave Ramsey advises on his website. “You might not believe it, but that’s one of the most often-asked Christmas giving questions we receive. You’re trying to save money and pay down debt, and you have this unopened vase from last Christmas sitting around your house collecting dust.”
Ramsey offers 10 rules of re-gifting at his website http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/10-rules-of-regifting including “don’t re-gift gifts from meaningful people.”
“The gift should make sense. While re-gifting is a great way to save money and declutter, don’t re-gift something for the sake of re-gifting it,” according to Ramsey.
The ultimate in re-gifting locally can revolve around finding a good home for practical and desirable items that already have been gifted to local thrift stores.
Recently, a school teacher checked out with an armful of like-new Ty Beanie Babies for 75 cents each from the LiftUp Community Thrift Store. She knew her young students would love them, and she could avoid giving out too much candy as holiday treats.
Last, don’t forget to wrap those re-gifted, sustainable or memory-creating gifts in recyclable comics or a reusable grocery shopping bag.
Gifts that keep on giving
When it comes to environmentally-sensitive holiday gift giving, the staff and advisors at the nonprofit Yampa Valley Sustainability Council believe in staying local and creating memories.
YVSC program director Andy Kennedy said she and her nieces had a great time together last Christmas spending their aunt’s gift certificate for Bumper Cars on Ice at Howelsen Ice Arena.
YVSC employee Larisa Woycio, a graduate of the sustainability program at Colorado Mountain College, suggests buying a gift certificate to rent snowshoes with a friend to go outside for some memorable winter exploration. She is also partial to the snow tubing hill at Saddleback Ranch, which also provides the environmentally sound transportation option of a shuttle bus from Steamboat Springs.
Another part-time YVSC staffer plans to fulfill her teenager’s wish list by giving him a gift certificate to learn how to kayak on the Yampa River this spring. A gift certificate to a friend for a night of babysitting or a night out at a local music event is thoughtful too.
Anne Mudgett, Yampatika development director, suggests gifts that keep on giving and help loved ones reduce their resource consumption all year long such as a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, bike tune-up or compost bin
Mudgett also recommends gift certificates for personal time and talents ranging from calligraphy to cooking and snow shoveling to computer help.
Also a fan of giving of her talents, YVSC Executive Director Sarah Jones plans to make time in her packed volunteer schedule to unwind by baking some homemade goodies to put inside reusable glass or tin containers that can be used to pack lunches later.
Fund the social environment
The three pillars of sustainability are environmental, social and economic so donating to a worthwhile social and economic development cause is a good choice.
Yampa Valley Recycles advisor Catherine Carson said she started a few years ago giving a Kiva.org gift certificate to her nephew. Kiva is a nonprofit organization that connects people through micro-loans to help alleviate poverty. Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world for those without access to traditional banking.
“It really is the gift that keeps on giving,” Carson said. “My nephew’s first two Kiva loans were paid in full, and he was then able to loan to two more Kiva individuals. The cool thing is when these two loans are repaid, he can continue to invest and loan to other Kiva participants. He researched the Kiva opportunities and made the loan decisions by himself.”
Animal-lover Carson also recommends getting a group together to be a kennel sponsor to help care for animals at the Routt County Humane Society. The third-grade class from South Routt Elementary chose that a few years ago.
Gifting to the hunger and poverty charity Heifer International is a favorite Christmas present for Laurie Edwards, the pastoral associate and eco-ministry team helper at United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs. Heifer International provides the opportunity to give live animals raised in the same region to impoverished families around the world.
“We routinely donate to Heifer International in lieu of gift exchange with several family members,” Edwards said. “We also opt more toward gifts of an experience rather than an item.”
Many locals like to support the environmentally positive local foods community by giving a gift certificate to the Community Agricultural Alliance Market ( http://www.caamarket.org), which includes everything from Elkstone Farm Ginger Zest Tea to fresh eggs from free-range ducks to red wiggler worms to use in a worm factory or compost pile.
YVSC staffer Cameron Hawkins said she believes donating to a community-based organization makes an impact. Hawkins recently spent 14 months in Jamkhed, India, working on a demonstration farm with the Comprehensive Rural Health Project.
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