Health & Wellness: Gift-giving and the planet


Julie Haufe PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

My husband and I love to watch the show, “Alone,” a competition series where participants try to survive isolated and with limited resources in the wilderness.

It’s evident that one of the biggest challenges of being alone for many days, weeks, or even months is the lost connections with family and friends. They choose their love of them over winning a large sum of money.

Isn’t that true of the holiday experience? I think many would choose that over a physical gift.

For many, the holidays can be a time of loneliness and lost connection. The season will soon be upon us, and there’s no better time to show gratitude to people you have connected with throughout the years.

For some, just showing up is a gift. For others, it might mean a calling to serve those less fortunate and to set aside selfish interests.

As you’re probably aware, the holidays can surround us with lots of stuff and unwanted gifts. As a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

Last year’s gifts often get tossed away, eventually ending up in a landfill, to make room for more stuff, wanted or unwanted. Americans toss 25% more stuff between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, estimated at four million tons.

This holiday season, consider gifting items from local crafters, handmade items, or something that gives another person a memorable experience. Those options are more friendly to the environment, and you’ll avoid contributing to waste and emissions generated from deliveries.

For example, try gifting a local artist’s pottery, jewelry or painting. Try a new service, like a suspension anti-gravity workout, an Ayurvedic consult to work on healthy choices for your body, or an energy Reiki session. To share in an experience, try sharing a game night across the miles through PC sharing.

Here are a few other holiday gift-giving ideas that could positively impact the environment, your community and create a mutually fulfilling experience for both giver and receiver:

1. Homemade gifts, or a gift certificate to learn how to do a special craft of interest.

2. A night out. Gift certificate for dinner, movie or concert tickets.

3. A monetary gift sent to a favorite nonprofit organization in their name.

4. A subscription to television programming or music.

5. A membership to the zoo, parks, trail rides, or outdoor activities like sporting events.

6. House or yard plants.

When it’s time to put up a Christmas tree, keep this in mind: A fake tree must be kept for more than 20 years for its environmental impact to dip below that of a real tree, so a real tree is the greener way to go.

Warmest wishes for this upcoming holiday season.

Julie Haufe is a licensed massage therapist at Statera Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions in Dubuque. She also is an essential oils-certified consultant and Sweet Dimples Jewelry creator.

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