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Going Green: FUN and Eco-Friendly Holiday Traditions

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With the holidays near, you’re likely looking for the perfect gift for your friends, Co-Hearts and family members.  Instead of buying individual gifts, consider organizing a White Elephant gift exchange instead. What’s White Elephant?  It’s a gift exchange that promotes the eco-friendly principles of reducing our holiday shopping frenzy and reusing perfectly good items.  Here are the full rules, but in principle, everyone just brings a fun, wacky, off-the-wall gift and exchanges it with someone else.  There’s strategy involved too—players can “steal” desirable gifts, making it a fun, exciting game for the whole family. You can set any kind of limit on your exchanges—only pre-loved items, or only former gifts, but it tends to be more fun if you let your guests surprise you with a mix of pre-loved, gag, and traditional gifts.  Here are some White Elephant gift ideas to get you started:
  • Bizarre items: Cuckoo clocks, small figurines, and children’s toys have all made an appearance in my family’s annual exchanges.  You can find something spectacular at a thrift store for less than $5. Of course, if you’re a packrat (or just live with one) you can shop your garage or attic instead.  Nothing is off-limits for a White Elephant exchange!
  • Unused items: You got it on clearance! It was such a good deal!  We all have items that we buy but never use.  Maybe it’s a set of martini glasses or decorative pot holders. A White Elephant exchange is the perfect opportunity to unload impulse buys, clutter, or failed gifts.  In fact, re-gifting is encouraged!
  • Local treats: If you don’t want to give a gag gift, or can’t bear to part with your clutter, consider adding some local brews or artisanal chocolates into the mix.  These are the gifts that typically get the most “steals” and are a great opportunity to support your local businesses.  A quick trip to the farmer’s market can yield a plethora of fun ideas.  If you want to be devious, consider getting some extra-hot sauces or stinky cheeses.
Do you have any green holiday traditions?  Let us know by commenting below.  DING!  You are now free to be green!