B lack Friday, Nov. 25, has come and gone, and sales went up compared with 2010. Black Friday is known in North America for having highest sales records for the holidays. But, what are people buying?
Electronics, toys, and other gadgets are the highest Christmas sellers. Unfortunately most of these products contain harmful chemicals and are made or are packaged in plastic. They’re wonderful to receive, but they have a maximum lifetime and we eventually throw them away, usually for better, newer electronics, toys, and gadgets. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch ends up with a lot of our plastics, products that do not break down and usually end up filling the stomachs of sea and bird life who later starve because they have no more room for real food—plastics do not digest.
So instead of buying Angry Birds stuffed toys and new iPods, consider buying gifts that last a lifetime and help our planet. Donations to organizations like Environmental Defence, The David Suzuki Foundation, and the World Wildlife Fund help build stronger defences in Canada against pollution and habitat destruction. On a smaller scale, plants, seeds, and other organics make great gifts. Not only do plants help purify indoor air, they also add brightness and character to living spaces. Homemade gifts like baking and crafts are often more sentimental than run-of-the-mill gifts that you can find at any big-box retailer.
Tree seedlings or saplings are an excellent gift. You can usually get them in bulk for a fairly low price, and plant them as a family at Christmas time. This is a great idea for the young family in a new home, to help with landscaping and garden-building. For the women in your life sustainable hemp clothing lasts a long time, looks great, and is much more earth-friendly than synthetic fibers.
This Christmas, dig deep and consider what the holiday really means to you. Gifts that can help improve Canada’s natural landscape, or that can promote well-being are much more holistic than plastic toys and gimmicks. Treat your family to gifts that will last a lifetime.