The Best Gifts

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 views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.