Gobble, gobble, gobble.
Food is one of the mainstays of Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Millions of us will devour a staggering number of calories in a short time, myself included.
Food will not be the only commodity consumed across America as the holiday season officially commences. The day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, on an average day a typical Minnesotan creates roughly six pounds of waste. But from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day household waste increases by more than 25 per cent. Nationally, the added food waste, shopping bags and gift packaging contribute an additional one million tons of garbage per week to the nation's pile. That's an extra two billion pounds heading for the landfill every seven days!
I hope to keep the calories, gas guzzling and impulse buying in check. In fact, I'm making a list and checking it twice to be sure I'm part of the solution and not part of the problem.
When I was younger I would ask my ma what she wanted for her birthday, Mother's Day and Christmas. "I don't need anything," was her reply. It was maddening. Now that I'm older, I finally get it.
I, too, have arrived at the stage of life where I don't need anything. Seldom do I give Robert or Mariah any hints on what to get me for a special occasion. Through the years I've had short lists. No bows or bangles, cookbooks or kitchen utensils for me. Instead, I asked for a saws-all, shop vac, portable drill, box saw, small sander or power washer. Those gifts under the tree brightened my face like a light bulb.
Now that I have all those tools, it's hard for me to come up with a list of material goods I want or need. I'd rather save the money for a trip. Forget the bathrobes and bracelets. Doesn't a wildlife watching trip to Africa sound more like me?
Here are some gift ideas in keeping with the no-waste holiday concept: Gift certificate for a massage, a hair cut and style, manicure or pedicure, membership to the Northland Arboretum, Paul Bunyan Nature Learning Center, Crow Wing County Historical Society, Brainerd Lakes Audubon or Bay-Nee-Shay Bird Club, Heartland Animal Rescue Team or garden club, Daily Dispatch and/or Lake Country Journal subscription for a snowbird, college student, friend that's moved away or a senior citizen, phone card for long-distance calls are great for students and seniors, merchandise gift certificates from local art/frame, craft, scrapbooking or hobby stores, music lessons, book (new or used) gift certificates, AAA memberships for students or seniors, theater tickets for Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts, state park vehicle entrance stickers, pass for cross-country skiing (statewide) or Ski Gull, gift certificates for area consignment and antique shops, homemade presents (bird feeder, scarf, cards), cookies, banana/pumpkin bread, fruit cake (ha ha ha), jelly/jam or other treats.
Many area businesses and eating establishments offer gift certificates. Or better yet, invite and treat someone to lunch or coffee at one of the local restaurants or coffee shops.
A recent poll showed people want to have more personal fulfillment and a less-stressful holiday season. Often the most treasured gifts we can give are our time, love and energy. There are endless organizations that could use your expertise or money. Make a commitment to one of them and instead of buying multiple gifts for each family member, volunteer as a family to help with worthwhile endeavors. Offer to shovel snow, wrap gifts, provide transportation, walk a dog, baby-sit, make a meal or run errands.
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