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The Best Gifts

2009 December 8

For all of you out there who didn’t attend the Black Friday shopping sprees or surf the web for Cyber Monday deals, there is still hope. There are plenty of homemade gifts just waiting to be created. When I was a little kid, my parents always told me that a homemade gift is always appreciated more than one bought from the store. Not that I could have driven to the store anyway. Nevertheless, thankfully, I had plenty of art classes and industrial art classes from which I could produce enough gifts for the whole family. Am I old enough to say that ‘those were the days’? My parents still have all of my gifts scattered throughout the house. A plastic bowl I formed and melted, a metal paper weight that I forged and cleaned, ceramic bowls, plastic picture frames, and more. These are the gifts that stay around. Another gift that isn’t really tangible but extremely easy to construct are the coupon books I used to give my parents. These would be things that I would do around the house or yard, such as vacuuming, pulling weeds, dusting, and the dreadful picking up sticks. I admittedly despised picking up sticks, but in light of the holiday season, I truly gave my all. As the years went by and I finally got my driver’s license, the gifts gradually decreased from homemade to almost all store-bought. However, now when money can be tight, I think it’s important to note that coupon books can still be given and greatly appreciated. Ever heard the saying “time is money and money is time”? Giving your time to help can be easy on your wallet and can be beneficial to you and your family’s health as well. Here are some ideas for your own coupon book and ‘green’ gift ideas:

  • Give the gift of recycling. In cities where recycling isn’t free, offer to get them started and pay for a couple of months.
  • Make coupons for washing floors and window sills to protect kids from dust
  • Offer to make a delicious meal for your family and rinse fruits and vegetables under running water before eating
  • Create coupons for cleaning bikes and tennis shoes for when the weather gets warm to take walks
  • Compose a coupon to vacuum and dust your house to prevent triggers to asthma attacks and allergies

There are many other things that can be added to your coupon book to help your family stay green and healthy this season. Just click here. And remember that you don’t always have to spend a lot to give a lot.

About the Author: Emily Bruckmann is an intern at the Office of Children’s Health Protection. She is a senior attending Indiana University who will graduate with a degree in public health this spring.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    December 8, 2009

    Heart…. This is a point of important that we don’t have it. Here, our cultural only one way communication. Top to bottom ! I think most of ours didn’t taste that the way of best gift…. “The-tops” just choose what they like so will rise intrigue among of us. So will be rise sense of conflict that among of us. Maybe we have not heart like you……

  2. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    December 8, 2009

    I am a member of the homeowners’ association board of directors of the condo complex I live. We are going to give our members a livible community by moving ahead with the recycled water program that will cut association water bills by 80%; putting in new native landscape that will thrive in our climate; putting in new fences and balconies made from green material; and making plumbing upgrades. The result will be a better environment and much lower association dues since our biggest costs will be greatly reduced and that will be the best Christmas present of all. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  3. Linda permalink
    December 10, 2009

    My husband and I routinely give gift certificates for home repairs to our less-handy friends; over the years, we’ve helped friends improve their homes by installing water saver faucets and shower heads, building garden arbors, and making repairs so they didn’t have to replace an item or fixture.

    While I know not everyone has that sort of skill to offer, everyone has something they *can* do, be it baking a lovely cake, helping out in the garden, painting a wall, or just offering to run errands or babysit. Likewise, everyone has chores and tasks they would love to have help with, or things they just aren’t as good at. The gift certificates let you play to your strengths to offer something of real value to your friends, while not bending the wallet too far out of shape.

  4. Mike Raffone permalink
    December 11, 2009

    Great job on this post. I think it is a great idea to give a gift of paying for recycling for a few months. Awesome job.

    Mike R.

  5. Jani permalink
    January 26, 2010

    It’s true, the best gifts don’t get purchased on Black Friday. I think it’s important for kids and adults to understand that giving doesn’t mean just spending money and getting “things.” Not only that, but I try to instill in my kids that these “things” often become part of the landfill very quickly. This year for Christmas, I asked them to do or make something from the heart for me. What they did for me really was the best gift. They combined their skills — one can draw and the other is a superb writer — and they made me a drawing of the family with a poem. It really made me happy, and almost made me cry reading it!

  6. Andrea Brown permalink
    May 29, 2010

    I don’t think people use picture frames enough as gifts! I mean, you don’t hear about people rushing to the picture frame aisle on Black Friday, eh?
    I really like your blog.

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