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Green Gifting (for Hanukkah)

In a prior Planet Jewish blog we provided you with suggestions for making your Hanukkah celebration more eco-friendly. In the spirit of reducing waste (baal tashchit) and tilling and tending planet Earth for generations to come, here are some specific suggestions for green gifting over the eight nights of the holiday.

  • Give Alternatives to “Stuff”: Consider giving gifts that do not create waste. Give a museum membership, tickets to a play or a certificate to a local restaurant.
  • Buy Gifts at Fair Trade stores: One way to show that you care about the environment is to purchase gifts at fair trade stores. Items you purchase typically are made by local artisans and buying handmade jewelry, bags and clothes from fair trade shops helps provide a living wage for these artisans. Typically products sold are made from natural and organic materials.
  • Patronize Winter Farmers’ Markets: Even though the prime season for area farmers’ markets has ended, most communities continue to have winter farmers’ markets on a weekly or monthly basis. (In Saint Louis, the Maplewood Farmers Market operates inside Schlafly’s Bottleworks Restaurant monthly. More information is at: (http://www.maplewoodfarmersmarket.com/). At these markets, you can buy locally made jams, jellies, soaps and similar items. These make great gifts.
  • Look for Gifts from your Favorite Environmental Organization: Several national environmental organizations sell clothing, bags, calendars and similar items either online through their websites or at bookstores in your neighborhood. A portion of the sales price benefits the organization and its environmental mission.
  • Give Recycled Items: Some locally owned stores carry items that have been recycled from other products. This is a great alternative to a mass-produced present. Your unique gift of recycled art, jewelry, a handbag or similar item will keep items out of landfills and offer your loved one something that is truly unique.

    Happy Hanukkah!

Originally posted in jewishinstlouis.org at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog.aspx?id=345

Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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