During the holiday season I love hearing from customers that they, family and friends have agreed to buy nothing "new" as gifts. What a concept! Of course they find fun toys, books, and great clothing at our store but there are other outlets from which you could provide a "green gift".
Make your own gift, buy resale, give something you have and don't need but someone else does; great solutions for the over-populated retail shelves and under-funded wallets. There are many wonderful blogs that give ideas and instructions to craft items, from clothing to decor, even revitalizing furniture and re-purposing every day items. Small businesses, artists, co-ops, farmers markets, resale shops have many great practical as well as whimsical and fun items for yourself or as gifts.
Sometimes new retail items are picked up just because, on a whim, or it was on sale. Sometimes those gifts don't match the receiver's personality or needs. Do some thinking about those who receive your gifts, who are they, what are their needs, what can they not provide themselves but want, how do they live? Do they even WANT a gift? Perhaps they just want a visit, a call, a written note, or some dish you make that they love.
'Tis the season for evergreens, not over-giving. Ok, so sometimes a horrid sweater makes a great story but for the most part, do your best to consciously buy....or not buy!