Giving Thanks and Giving Back

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The official launch of the holiday season for 2010 starts in just a few days, and my head is already filled with to-do lists, gift lists and goal planning for the season and year ahead. A recent tragedy and general chaos this year has left me feeling overwhelmed, but in spite of this I have been struck by how incredibly lucky I am, and it's inspired me to do a little more this season to make choices that are good for the planet and for humanity. Here’s a little list of my holiday resolutions on giving thanks and giving back.Enjoy the time you spend with those you love: this year I am not going to get stressed out by hosting big meals, back-to-back parties and shopping. Instead, I'm going to work on remembering that it’s all meant to help me show my appreciation for those around me and all that they have done for me.

Support my local community: a quick look around and I can see so many ways to give back, from supporting local crafters and artists to donating to the food bank, volunteering or sponsoring a family with a Christmas hamper. I know I can get a lot more out of spending my time giving back than scrambling to buy more junk for people who don’t really need it.

Scale back: this is something that we’ve done in my immediate family for the past several years. We found that in a family of only working adults we weren’t really longing for excessive gifts and luxury. We’ve switched to a Secret Santa and stocking stuffers only, eliminating four large gifts from our gift lists. We’ve never felt that anything was missing since this switch.

Waste as little as possible: it’s a season of excess and I often get caught up in buying more than necessary to make sure that everything is perfect. This year I am going to make efforts to limit the amount of new items that I buy and move away from traditions that include disposable items, such as wrapping paper, paper cards and Christmas crackers.

Buy only gifts that are ethical and eco-friendly: there really is no reason to buy something that is made of unsafe virgin materials anymore. It’s so easy to find the perfect gift from an ethical source made of healthy and hopefully recycled materials.

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