Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eco-gifts: what are the limits?

Is it acceptable to give something secondhand as a gift? Homemade? Recycled or reusable? Something won as a prize, not purchased?

Second hand and thrift stores have decorative items and seasonal knick-knacks. I'm willing to buy these for my own use and for my family. But as a gift? I don't know. Those cloth napkins: wash and press, and they'll look new. But would the gift be tacky? I've given and received used CDs by favorite performers. These CDs play as well as new and provide hours of enjoyment. Sometimes they're out of print, too, unavailable in regular stores. Now that the MP3 generation is here, my old CD craze might be irrelevant, but it's a good starting place to consider the idea of second hand gifts.

Homemade? I'm not a very good artist or crafter, and I'm all thumbs with a sewing machine, so traditional personal gifts aren't viable options. But let me in the kitchen and....cookies. Bars. Gifts in a Jar. I can wrap the gift jars in a re-used gift bag with a few lovely sheets of re-used tissue, and I have a nice gift for someone. Cookies are good for someone who might not bake for themselves or someone who is really busy. Is it okay, though, to give something consumable like this? Something that won't last?

Now comes the other tough call: cheap or inexpensive items. Dollar store. Drugstore clearance aisle. Lip glosses, chapsticks, notepads, pens and pencils, and more -- for less. Is it culturally acceptable to create a gift package with goodies like this? Or what about gifts won in blog blasts? They're new, and even if they cost me nothing but time and effort, they will have value to those who receive them. Is that enough?


Well, blogging friends, what do you think? Times are tough all over. Would you be offended by a secondhand or homemade or inexpensive gift? Would you give one yourself?

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6 Comments:

Blogger Sarah said...

All family gifts this year will be homemade or second hand. There will only be five new gifts given. One for each of three kids, and one for each adult living with us. The rest are homemade. I don't think it's tacky...I think it's sensible and if you took the time to make it it makes it more special.

11/22/2008 11:30 AM  
OpenID blogginonempty said...

I hope folks aren't offended by homemade, that's what the older folks in the family are getting. And by older I mean those 80 and above. The gifts will center around my kids, photo books, trays with their artwork on them, etc.

I make no bones about reusing gift bags, as long as they don't look like the dog chewed on them, I use them.

11/22/2008 2:33 PM  
Blogger Earth Muffin said...

I would not be offended at all by recieving a second-hand or recycled gift. I just like when someone has though enough to give me something! I have re-gifted something that I know we won't get use out of here and I've bought some used CD's and video games in the past. I've not shopped at thrift shops for gifts, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't. Times are hard all over...the fact that you're putting thought into gifts is the important part, not where they came from.

11/23/2008 11:48 AM  
Blogger debra said...

I just found you :-) We are makers of things--we love things made by hand from the heart. When our kids we little we gave things we either mad or found. Wonderful things!

11/23/2008 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Bobbi Piner said...

my husbands family have everything so instead I make some of my favorite homemade cookies and put them in tins. I recycle old tins from yard sales and thrift store or buy them from the dollar store when needed. I can do five different types from around 25 dollars plus a couple of dollars for tins and everyone is happy. The hubby's uppity mother says it is her favorite gift and waits for it all year.

11/24/2008 10:47 AM  
Blogger ORKMommy said...

If you're making cookies, I'll take some! And you don't even have to wrap them!

I love handmade. My niece is finally getting the crocheted afghan she's been asking for for 3 years!

11/24/2008 2:08 PM  

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