Saner Gift Giving (part 1)

The holidays are right around the corner.  The stores are already packing their shelves with more red and green merchandise than the GDP of a small nation.  It's easy to get caught up in consumerism this time of year. (Lets be honest, China is churning out some seriously cute plastic trinkets these days!)  But how do we stay true to our mission of creating a simpler, greener, kinder, saner life while still expressing our love and appreciation for the people in our lives, and not being a total scrooge??

Here are a few of the options I've come up with:

- Shop Local
- Donate to charity
- Give useful gifts
- Gift an Experience

(image via)

Part 1 - Shopping Local

As the great folks at Our Milwaukee will tell you, shopping local carries a host of benefits.  One of the most important (given the current economic climate) is that buying local keeps more money in the local economy.  One study found that of every $1 spent in a locally owned business, $0.68 remains in the local economy (compared to only $0.43 of every dollar spent at a big box chain store).

Shopping local also helps to keep our community vibrant and unique.  It encourages further growth by creating an hospitable environment for other entrepreneurs.  Plus, local businesses give, on average, 250% more to non-profit organizations!

With the "one stop shopping" convenience of malls and big box stores, the idea of buying all your gifts from local businesses can seem daunting.  Here's a few ideas to help you out:

- Get ideas from Our Milwaukee.  Their Local Business Directory will help remind you of just how many local options we have, and just how cool they are!

- Check out a craft/gift fair, or two!  There are lots of them coming up:
                     Art vs. Craft is Nov. 27th
                     The Holiday Art, Craft and Gift Expo at State Fair Park is Nov. 26 - 28
                     Outpost's Alternative Gift Fair is Dec. 5th
                     The Holiday Artisan Market at Discovery World is Dec. 4-5
Lots of churches, schools and ethnic centers have craft fairs this time of year, too.  There's way too many of those to list!

Craft fairs can be a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids, or a girlfriend.  And you're guaranteed to find a unique gift!

emilee rose designs

- Consider homemade.  It doesn't get much more local than your own kitchen or living room.  Do you bake? Knit? Crochet? Draw? Paint? Scrapbook? Decoupage?   Homemade gifts are always some of my favorites - you can feel the love that went into making them.  And an added bonus? A homemade Christmas can save you beaucoup bucks!
(Just be sure to be conscientious about your crafting supplies!)

image via

Next time we'll explore the world of Saner Gift Giving through donations to charities.

Happy Gifting!


  1. Thanks for the shout out! You know I'm all about handmade for the holidays!

  2. We'll be doing a lot of handmade/hand-baked gifts this year, just as we did last year. Another plus: Get to spend time with my wife making those gifts.

  3. Giving experiential gifts is something we've started doing with our nieces & nephews -- not only do they get the chance to do something new & exciting, but we get bonding time. Priceless.

    And hey -- homemade gifts rock.