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Find (more) holiday inspiration and creative gift ideas

Find (more) holiday inspiration and creative gift ideas

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The holidays are upon us - and that means consideration of how we celebrate the people in our lives.

We can choose to do things differently. Here’s information on two sources that provide ideas outside the gift box.

More fun and less stuff

New Dream empowers individuals, communities, and organizations to transform the ways they consume to improve well-being for people and the planet. They’ve been offering alternatives about gifting for many years, including extensive information and resources about how to celebrate the holidays in ways that are lighter on the planet and your wallet.

The SoKind Registry is a registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more.

Check out the gift ideas section!


Create memories, not garbage

Metro Vancouver, our neighbors to the North have a holiday campaign called Create memories, not garbage.

There is a collection of creative gift ideas, tips for gift wrapping and ideas for celebrating the season – all with the intention to create memories and reduce waste this holiday season.

Get inspired with gift ideas by price range too with the Merry Memory Maker.

Note: The specific places are in and around Vancouver, BC. Check out the Resourceful PDX map for local organizations.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

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The Buyerarchy of Needs

The Buyerarchy of Needs

Are you already overwhelmed with stressful holiday errands and overspending? Worried about getting buried in all the packaging?

Consider a new low-waste way to approach the holidays this year that might save you some money and bring you a little more joy. The Buyerarchy of Needs is a visual guide to remind you of your other options besides buying something new.

As you look over your holiday lists, take a creative moment and ask yourself:

Is there something I already have I could use in a new way? Could I borrow or swap to get what I need? Maybe a thrift or resale shop has it? Can I make it?

Intrigued? Resourceful PDX is your local resource for tips and ideas to make simple changes in everyday choices. In fact, the Resourceful PDX map includes community-based organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials rather than throwing away or buying new.

Resolve to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year to save money and resources. Explore the website for more ideas and tips in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Learn how The Buyerarchy of Needs came to be by designer and illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic.

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Master Recycler volunteer, Bonita Davis, shares tips to reduce and reuse during the holiday season.

The holiday season is a time when we do more of everything, including celebrating and shopping. It can also be a time when a lot of waste is created in the process, but that doesn’t have to happen. This season, we can have some fun focusing on reducing and reusing to save money and go easy on the environment.

Watch Bonita on KATU Afternoon Live, where she shares some of these tips with host Tra’Renee.

Reduce

Choose experiences rather than things because something out of the ordinary may be the perfect gift for someone on your list – and alternative gift ideas are often waste-free. Know what your family and friends like and want – and if someone has a gift registry for a special occasion, use it!

Resourceful PDX partner, Chinook Book, offers coupons through the print edition or mobile app from local businesses and provides gift ideas and savings at your fingertips.

In the long run, durable materials save us money and significantly reduce waste. Items such as plates, utensils, glasses and linens can be new, used, borrowed or rented. Holiday meals may include leftovers. Plan ahead to save containers, like yogurt tubs, or invite guests to bring their own containers to take home extra goodies.

And don’t forget to use your reusable bags and travel mugs when you are taking advantage of holiday festivities and shopping excursions.         

Reuse

Creative reuse is the name of the game during the holidays. Reusing items and buying used materials can be fun and easy on our pocket. Make SCRAP PDX your first stop for cards, tags, bows, ribbon, gift bags and more.

Collect old maps and the Sunday comics to use as gift wrap. Or use a bandanna or kitchen towel for a no-waste gift.

Return, re-gift, or donate items you know you will not use. It is better to keep them in use with a new owner, rather than cluttering up your space with something you’ll never use. Many people need items during this time of year, so consider donating them instead.    

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

           

Maybe holiday goodness means something more

Maybe holiday goodness means something more

Everyone has at least one person on their list that’s nearly impossible to choose a gift for. Perhaps you have a teenager who wants everything, but likes nothing. Maybe a busy mom who is always trying to put a homemade meal on the table. Or an uncle who says he has everything he needs, but you want to give him something fun during the holidays.

Fortunately, you can find a special something for everyone on your list and — bonus! — skip the retail lines to save your sanity, too.

Do something together

Wrap up cookie ingredients and include a coupon for a cookie-making playdate at your place. Make it extra special for a friend by taking care of cleanup, too. For adventure seekers, take a trip downtown together and brave the Portland underground tunnels tour.

Make it!

Portland offers many ways to make it yourself. Try a woodworking class at the ReBuilding Center, or make something special at one of the many do-it-yourself workshops around Portland.

Feed their mind

Who doesn’t love to learn something new? Portland offers nearly endless options for classes, tours, lectures, and much more. Is your uncle a cheese lover? Save him a seat in OMSI's Design Lab where he can learn to make his own cheese. Help those busy parents in the kitchen by giving them a cooking class. And for that impossible-to-please teen? Gift a video production class at Portland Community College.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

How to shop the bulk aisle and reduce food packaging waste

How to shop the bulk aisle and reduce food packaging waste

We all eat, so grocery shopping is a task we have to do. There are alternatives to help you avoid the clutter created by food packaging, while still getting food you love and need (or want!).

Plastics, paper, metal and glass require natural resources and energy to manufacture into packaging, even if they are made from recycled materials. Think upstream and consider ways to get what you need for yourself and your family by choosing durable options over disposable ones.

Buy in bulk and bring your own containers. Stores like Fred Meyer, New Seasons, Sheridan’s, Whole Foods and Winco make it easy to buy grains, beans, coffee, cereals and snacks using your own bags and containers. By not taking a new bag at the bulk or produce area, your household can save 500 bags a year!

Try these five easy steps for a waste-free visit to the bulk aisle:

  1. Make a grocery list. Include the exact amounts you need (1 cup sugar, ¼ tsp nutmeg).
  2. Inventory your pantry and check off any items or ingredients you already have.
  3. Pack the containers you’ll need for each of the items on your list. Bring empty spice jars for bulk spices, or larger glass jars for coffee or olive oil. Reusable plastic containers (such as deli or yogurt tubs, or other food-grade plastic containers) work well for dry goods because they are easy to transport.
  4. When you first get to the bulk aisle, weigh your containers. Write the weight and the word “tare” on each container. Cashiers are required to remove this weight from the total they charge you. If your store doesn’t have a scale in the bulk area, you can ask a cashier to weigh containers before you fill them.
  5. Write the PLU (price look-up) number and the name of the food on the side of each container (which is necessary if you have multiple containers that look similar in your pantry).

And remember to bring your bag! Pack your durable containers in reusable bags to take to the store. Bonus: many grocery stores offer a refund if you bring your own bag.