Jim Hightower suggests some alternative gift ideas in his column, “Give A Gift That Matters:”
It wasn’t that long ago that the act of “gift giving” didn’t require a maddening trip to Walmart or a desperate online search for this season’s must-have toy. Rather, a gift implied something from within, a little piece of yourself, no matter how small, showing you care.
Could that old-fashioned concept possibly become new-fashioned? Yes. With today’s working-class depression severely restricting the ability of most people to splurge on “stuff,” and with the public’s rising unwillingness to keep shoveling their money at narcissistic corporate profiteers, a return to a more modest — but also deeper — spirit of gift-giving seems to be spreading.
Realizing that buying globalized corporate crap is not really a gift, more and more people are putting their money where their values are. They’re buying from local artisans, fair-trade merchants, certified sweatshop-free manufacturers, recycling shops, co-ops, farmers markets, homeless centers, church bazaars, charities and other sources of the burgeoning non-corporate economy.
And what if you used your gifts as a way to inspire the recipients of your presents to tap into their own generosity? This is surprisingly easy to do. As proposed by a Methodist church group in my town of Austin, Texas, just send a bit of cash to that grandson, niece, mother-in-law or whomever — on the condition that they must donate the money to a charitable organization of their choosing.