Most people “give” in one way or another over the upcoming holiday season. Whether you give things, experiences, or upgrades like Doug and Laura (last year it was a hot water dispenser. this year it’s cork flooring in the bedrooms!), the information below includes ideas for saving money and being kind to the planet at the same time. But let’s start with some facts about holiday gift giving:

  • From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, household waste in the United States increases by more than 25%. By buying locally used toys, families can reduce their travel fuel consumption and reduce their impact on our recycling and landfill centers. Buying quality used toys also saves families money, which helps in these tough economic times.
  • Every dollar you spend with a local, independent business can generate two to four times more income, wealth and jobs for our community than a dollar spent elsewhere.
  • A health benefit to buying used toys is that plastics and other toxins in the products have off-gassed already in another location and will not effect your children!

For the Project-oriented family: Re-use building supply stores like ReStore and Second Use Seattle have lots of stuff to inspire a family project. Give it brilliance with recycled tile and glass from Bedrock Industries.
Consignment and thrift: Kids go through things so fast it’s easy to find gently used items that seem new
Experiences!: the ballet, a show or season tickets at a local theater, kayaking, skating or other outdoor activities, lessons, restaurants, spa/massage, membership/subscription, the list goes on and on!
Give and do good: Heifer International, Water 1st, Habitat for Humanity, The Krochet Kids, and Fair Trade Seattle all have retail items you can purchase that are not only great in and of themselves, but also do good!

And if nothing else, Think Local! Local retailers are usually easy to spot – they have a more homey feel and often have much more character than chain-store counterparts. A great resource is Seattle Good Business Network‘s Think Local! directory. King County also has some great resources for greening your holidays and saving money here.

The 2012 Seattle Chinook Book (the social/sustainable minded “entertainment” book) is not only a great way to save money but would also make a great gift. (print and mobile apps) are available now. Buy yours from Laura and support CoolMom in the process!! [Look for yours truly adjacent to the West Seattle map and in the Home section]

We, your communities, and the world thank you!