Sunday, December 23, 2012

Buy local for a green Christmas

Last month this Holiday pledge started circulating online. 

Even if we all kept the pledge just 10% of the time it would make a huge difference in our communities. Buying local keeps four-times more of our shopping dollars in our communities, compared to shopping at chain stores. And according to data from the city of Vancouver, local businesses support local events, charities and sports teams 250% more than big corporations.  

I was reminded of the pledge today when I came across a great locally-made YouTube video about buying local during the Holidays. The video is fun and memorable and reminds you that committing to shop local doesn’t make for boring gifts. On the contrary. Some of the most unique (in a good way) and meaningful gifts can be bought from independent merchants who help to make our communities vibrant.

If you have done the bulk of your shopping at big box stores don’t feel bad. You can still support local merchants when you’re stocking your pantry and fridge for the holidays. The local grocers, butchers, bakers and fishmongers offer locally produced food so you’re supporting the broader local economy when you buy through them.

Need some last minute gift ideas? Remember that memberships, tickets and subscriptions to various arts and sports groups make great gifts, and support our local community. Consider The New Brunswick Museum, Saint John Theatre, Symphony NB, the Sea Dogs, the Mill Rats and other performances that are coming up at local venues.

Give a donation in someone’s name.  For my mom’s gift last year we made a donation to Romero House in her name and wrapped the acknowledgement in a pretty box. It was Meaningful in many ways.

If you have had enough of shopping, consider making homemade gifts. Some of my favourite gifts to give and to receive are edible. They’re practical gifts (don’t get shoved in a closet) and can be extra special. Homemade treats make for great hostess gifts too if you’re off to holiday parties.  Download this free e-book for delicious homemade gifts.

In this season of giving, don’t forget to be generous to those you don’t know. I buy Tim Horton’s gift cards to give to people on the street who are asking for money.

Give as much as you can afford to charities that support the needy in our communities and involve your kids in this kind of giving. There are great lessons to be learned for everyone involved.

I wish you a warm and happy holiday season full of the simple pleasures that Christmas brings. 

P.S. Here’s a green tip:  Cochran’s Country market in Rothesay carries pesticide-free Christmas trees. One more way to buy local.

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