“Green and Nearly Free Holiday Ideas”

My pockets are bare, but my heart is full. If you’re like me you might be wondering how or if you will be able to share the joy of gift giving this season. I have been thinking long and hard about some things I can do to contribute to the joy of giving in  way that I can afford and is also green, but most of all, will be memorable and special. There are things you can do from crafting and creating to sharing and touring.
Here are a handful of ideas:
– Volunteer anywhere! This is the gift of self and you can’t really go wrong. You can also get your family involved and volunteer together. For Volunteer options you can go to VolunteerSac.org or call the organization you want to help directly.
Create gifts using your skills.
– if you are the crafty type, you can share your goods with family and friends.
– if you’re not crafty but you have a special skill set you can use your skills to create something personal, restore, or repair items for family or friends.
– Better yet, teach someone a skill or craft, whether it be wood-working, painting, crocheting, or cooking . Make a date and time and take the time to share your skills. These can be valuable tools to help your family to discover hidden talents, learn a family recipe,and also create another option for future bonding.
– maybe you’re not crafty or have a specific skill you can share with them. Sharing your family story by writing it down and framing it and adding a photo of you and your loved one to go along with it. This is a valuable gift in preserving your family history and sharing a special connection with family and friends. You can also record your story on a CD and share it or make a personalized video with a photo slideshow of vintage photos scanned into a computer and put on a DVD. *if you’re like me, you like funny gifts, too. Use your phone photo aps and print our some of those crazy pictures you take and alter.
– You can also give heirloom gifts, even if you’re just starting the process now. You can write a little note to along with the gift or letter as I suggested above. Share something that you love and that your loved one will appreciate.
– Other gifts could be making dinner for a friend or family member, cleaning house for someone else (with green products , of course), a massage or mani-pedi for your significant other.
– Research the history of your neighbor and give family and a friends a walking tour. It’s a great post-Holiday meal exercise and interesting, too! I discovered some really interesting film related history about by neighborhood in Boulevard Park by looking at the “Neighborhood Books” , local neighborhood newsletter, and doing a little online research. My walks are always enjoyable knowing a little more about the houses and land in my neighborhood and my friends love to hear the interesting factoids.
You can also create green gifts by recycling. If the idea of giving used gifts turn you off, then maybe it’s time to put a new face to recycled gifts. I’m not talking about giving your grandma what your brother gave you the year before, but being thoughtful and creative in your recycled giving. Thinking of preserving the planet by not adding to the to masses of junk lying around, but giving people things they can use.
– save glass jars and fill them with goods like beauty products such as soaps, office or art supplies, sewing supplies like a mini-sewing kit, or food that each person will enjoy. Add a personal touch and use gluten free pastas for those allergic to wheat or Whole wheat pastas for diabetics. Fill it with whole oats, jams, homemade cookies or cookie mix. Top it off with a homemade card from recycled paper and some ribbon. Add a polished vintage silver spoon or scoop.
– Or fill jars with pretty objects that are personal to each person like vintage doll parts, miniature cars, holiday mini-ornaments, or other items that can act as an art piece.
– create a terrarium with plant clippings and recycled glasses, jars, or other objects.
– If you’ve got some DVD’s that you’ve already watched and a loved one want to see them, bundle a few up with some string or a ribbon. Just make sure they are in good condition.
– turn found objects into treasures. Clean up vintage items and give them to your friends that will appreciate them.
– create a homemade calendar using online materials and add your family photos. there are many programs online that will help you do this.  My sister made one last year that features images of each person who has a birthday that particular month. Or, be creative and put pictures of of who or whatever you like. Be creative and personalize the gift.
– gifts from the garden are always nice, too. Fresh or dried herbs, or seeds. If you’re going to to someone home for dinner, bring them a basket full of your garden bounty to enjoy at their leisure.
There are also many free family friendly events in Sacramento County for you to enjoy. Make it a special trip and take your friends and family along to enjoy. Make memories together and be sure toke some photos or write about your family outing afterward to save it in family album Start new family traditions.
Here’s a list of just some local and free events:
Going on Now:
In Old Sacramento
– visit the topsail ketch Hawaiian Chiefton. It is docked here through December 13th and is giving tour to the public.
– Check out the Theatre of Lights that occurs in the night sky several times through New years located in front of a beautifully decorated tree.
– On December 3rd around 5:30pm watch the Lighted Boat Parade on the river.
Downtown, just a short walk from Old Sac, or to Old Sac
– watch the ice skaters at the rink and check out the Holiday Decorations. This is happening now through New Years.
– On Sunday December 4th at 1pm, check out a free concert at the Sacramento Central Library by The Sacramento Youth Symphony
– Watch the 29th annual Santa Parade on December 10th at 10am on I Street.
– not much of Holiday fan, but enjoy the season, visit the Crocker Art Museum on December 26th. It’s a free day.
– Like art and want to enjoy Kwanzaa, visit the Crocker Art Museum on December 26th between noon and 4:00pm and take part in The Kwanzaa Family Festival co-hosted by The Sojourner Truth Multi-Cultural Art Museum and Kuumba Collective Art Gallery.
*images are from Michelle’s personal collection and stock art catalog. Green gifts, Terrarium class at Bows Collective, and phone ap with my loved one.