Summit Gift Guide: Eco-friendly options this holiday giving season
special to the Weekender
Top 5 rules of re-gifting
1. Keep track of who gave you the gift. Never re-gift to the same circle of friends or family.
2. Rewrap gift. Completely unwrap your gift to ensure there is nothing lingering you may have missed, like a special card or additional gift, and then re-wrap the gift with fresh tissue and paper.
3. Make sure it’s the right gift for the right person. Gifts are meant to be special things, so don’t pass along your junk to someone else. Re-gifting is only fitting if it is sincere.
4. Don’t use the gift before you re-gift it, and never re-gift food.
5. Don’t re-gift meaningful gifts from meaningful people.
— Lindsay Pechek, owner, Panache Events in Pueblo
In the glorious month of December, it’s lovely to get wrapped up in twinkling lights and holiday cheer. But our desire to show our loved ones how much we care can fuel another tradition: overconsumption. We end up showering them with gifts that result in more quantity than quality. This season, take a minute to consider some alternative gift options. Reduce your spending, get more for the money you do spend and opt for gifts that have less negative environmental impact.
Gift exchanges with your friends are a great idea — a fun evening when your closest pals exchange holiday gifts. Rather than having to buy a gift for each friend, you arrive with just one gift that then gets traded, swapped and sometimes playfully fought for. Whether your group is five or 15, you only have to purchase one gift. This alone could reduce consumption drastically.
This year, take it a step further and instruct your pals to bring items they already possess, lovely items to re-gift. The point is for everyone to bring something nice that they’ve been given but aren’t able to use — less white elephant, and more sparkly unicorn. It can be a bottle of perfume that someone was gifted that was pleasant, just not quite her scent. It can be an adorable sweater that’s too short in the sleeve length, or a set of wine glasses that’s too tall for the cabinets, etc.
Buying used gifts might sound odd at first, but it’s a great way to reduce environmental impact by keeping those items out of landfills and eliminating the carbon footprint of manufacturing new ones. Buying used books is an easy, money-saving alternate. Check out Ole Man Berkins for used books, rare books, vintage clothing and more (326 S. Main St., Breckenridge; (970) 453-1326), or try any of the many used-book websites, such as http://www.betterworldbooks.com and http://www.thriftbooks.com. EBay is also a great source for used books, along with countless other gift options such as electronics, toys or home goods (http://www.ebay.com). Being able to purchase something useful at a discount is smart, not cheap.
Etsy is a perfect place to find used or vintage items such as art, jewelry and home décor (http://www.etsy.com), and ski gear can be a great item to purchase used. Oftentimes, people sell nearly new boots, poles, skis and boards. There are plenty of places to shop in Summit County. Try Rebel Sports (220 Main St., Frisco; (970) 668-2759) or Recycle Ski & Sport (695 N. Summit Blvd., Frisco; (970) 668-5150). Wilderness Sports in Dillon also has a great selection of used ski equipment and apparel (701 E. Anemone Trail, Dillon; (970) 468-5687).
Virgin Island Ski has a great “Try Before You Buy” program that allows you to rent your equipment to test it out, and if you decide you like it, the store will credit up to three days of the ski rental fee toward the cost of the used equipment (241 Summit Place, Silverthorne; (970) 468-6655). Since most used items are final sale, purchasing used ski gear for someone else can be a bit tricky, so Virgin Island Ski suggests buying a gift card to allow the recipient to try, then buy.
It’s a pretty simple concept — buy things that have been created from recycled products. This eco-friendly method is at the core of Boulder-based business Green Guru.
“We build gear in the U.S.A. from up-cycled materials like bike tubes, banners, wetsuits, climbing rope and PETE recycled plastic bottles,” said Davidson Lewis, founder of Green Guru.
These materials are then cleverly transformed into bags, backpacks, belts, wallets, panniers, bike gear and other accessories. Head to the website, http://www.greengurugear.com, to browse the full collection.
Another company that is up-cycling used tire tubes is Cycle Dog, an Earth-friendly pet company that sells collars, leads and bowls through its website, http://www.cycledog.com. The rugged leashes and collars are also available at A&A Pet Supply and Feed (1217 N. Summit Blvd., Frisco; (970) 668-0495).
Think outside the gift box, and consider giving the gift of shared time. Present your family with season tickets to the Lake Dillon Theater Company (176 Lake Dillon Drive, Dillon; (970) 513-9386), passes to the tubing hill at the Frisco Adventure Park (621 Recreation Way, Frisco; (970) 668-2558) or an all-terrain-vehicle tour with Continental Divide ATV Tours in Leadville (4037 State Highway 91, Leadville; (970) 668-5323).
Plan a play date for your family, complete with handmade coupons: ice skating at Copper Mountain if your kids are younger or cross-country skiing at the Frisco Nordic Center, followed by hot cocoa at Foote’s Rest.
Perhaps your partner would enjoy a cooking class at the Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute in Breckenridge (www. coloradomtn.edu/programs/culinary_arts).
While it may not sound as fun, a useful gift can be completing a lingering project, getting a cherished piece of artwork framed or getting bikes fixed or skis tuned.
When all else fails, focus. Instead of being concerned about presenting your loved ones with a plethora of gifts, think about one present that they’d really love, one item that they’ve been swooning over and you know they’d cherish. Skip the socks, soaps, pajamas and other filler items that you grab at the last minute to fill out the holiday spread.
Instead, invest in one great piece — a camera, a watch or new (used!) skis. It doesn’t have to be high-dollar, just thoughtful.
Encourage your whole family to focus on just one gift per family member. Your gift exchange will result in one memorable present, rather than 10 unremarkable small gifts. While some of these uncommon ideas might take some getting used to, they also might become thoughtful traditions.
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