Donate to a non-profitIf you have an aversion to crowds and meaningless gifts, donate to a non-profit in someone’s name. Food banks, the animal shelter, a women’s or men’s shelter, or Habitat for Humanity are excellent local organizations. Also, consider these environmental non-profits: The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) “works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.” The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is “to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.” The Sierra Club’s purpose is to “bring people together to defend our natural resources and everyone’s right to enjoy them.” The National Audubon Society “protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.” Research non-profits at Charity Navigator for detailed information.
VolunteeringAvoid spending altogether by the giving of yourself. Your time is valuable! Food banks or organizations that do food drives (or gift drives) need help collecting, sorting, and delivering donations. Soup kitchens need help with set up, serving, and clean up. Help feed and clean at the local animal shelter, so staff can go home early. You may be able to foster a dog for the holidays. Bring everyone baked goods as a gift for their tireless and sometimes thankless work. Consider gifting the police and fire departments with homemade treats as well. Call the volunteer coordinator at your local hospital and ask what you can do. Make cards for the children in the pediatric unit. If allowed, visit with other patients, too. Check with Habitat for Humanity to see if they are building a new home. You can also volunteer at the ReStore. Giving your time teaches your children or even other adults that they will feel good when they get outside of themselves. It brings a new perspective on caring for others, and they feel gratitude for what they have. Always call organizations to see what they need or what restrictions they may have. The holidays do not have to be expensive or superficial. Start some new, less materialistic and more environmentally friendly family traditions this year.
Would you like to be the first to hear about our new products and more? Sign up for our Nature’s Path Newsletter.