TOP 5: Ways to be green and save green this Holiday Season
Do you ever get that overboard feeling around the holidays? Too much spending, too much excitement, too much stuff. Most of us buy gifts for family and friends because it’s a way to express our love and even our thanks for a year full of support and good times. We go hunting for just the thing to make the holiday perfect, memorable, better than the years before. But sometimes our forays result in overspending and wastefulness. We want to get into the holiday spirit, but how much is too much?
Even at the most wonderful time of the year, there are ways to cut back, and in our current economic situation, the first way to do that is financially. Whether you are decking your halls or in need of a special gift, here are three tips for saving green in your holiday endeavors. But your savings go beyond your pocketbook; these economical solutions are eco-friendly as well.
1. Set a budget. You knew this would be the first tip, didn’t you. Holiday spending can get away from you quicker than a snowflake can melt, so be sure to limit your spending, and keep tabs of what you buy. Many people set up a holiday fund and only draw cash from that savings for gifts, clothing, and dÃ©cor for the season.
2. This might be a great year to start a new tradition. Why not pick names instead of exchanging gifts with everyone in the room? The White Elephant Gift Exchange is an idea that has brought loads of laughter to rooms full of kids and adults alike. Some extended families also buy only for the children, or a gift the entire household can share together - like a zoo membership, or a couple of board games.
Recycle Ann Arbor's inside view of the REUse Holiday Shop
3. Check out the Ann Arbor ReUse Center’s new Holiday Shop. The holiday decorations are plentiful, and priced just right. On a recent day in the Holiday Shop, an eight-foot artificial Christmas tree in like-new condition was selling for just $35, and a giant four-foot Christmas stocking (with tags attached) was just $1.00. “Because we accept donations of holiday items all year round, we have a huge selection of like-new decorations for our customers to choose from,” said ReUse Center Manager Gary Urick. “The beginning of the holidays is also a popular time for donations, as people unpack their decorations and decide that they’d like to have something different this year.” The shop is located inside the Ann Arbor’s ReUse Center at 2420 S. Industrial Highway, in an area called Resale Row.
4. Get crafty. Remember those decorations you made as a kid? Paper snowflakes, cookie dough ornaments, wreaths made from pipe cleaners or popcorn. They bring back fond memories anytime I see them. This year my kids are decorating a tree with only homemade decorations. This is making decorating highly affordable and very personal - you will not find another tree on the block decorated with as many fuse-bead ornaments and origami cranes. I like to find recipes and ideas in magazines like Good Housekeeping or Family Fun. I also look for sales at craft store and use the weekly newspaper’s 40% coupons to buy items for crafts. Not only do these items make nice decoration, but they also are an ideal heartfelt gift for special family members.
5. Shop resale boutiques for the kids in your life. We have great local choices for children’s resale in the Ann Arbor area, and all are well stocked with holiday items.
- At Children’s Orchard in the Colonnade Shopping Center in central Ann Arbor, all holiday apparel is Â½ price this week. I saw plenty of tiny adorable holiday dresses and warm red and green jammies for under $5 each. When most of these items are worn only once or twice a year, it makes sense shop a resale boutique first. Children’s Orchard is having their fill-a-bag sale this weekend, and a Santa visit next weekend. Check their website or sign up for their MOM’s Club to learn more.
- “Many people come in surprised by the quality of our merchandise, as well as by how many brand-new items, both clothing and toys, that we get in regularly,” explain Marni Hochman & Elyssa Mount, co-owners of Grow With Me Children’s Resale Boutique. “Many times people sell us new items because they were unwanted gifts or their children outgrew the item before the right season. Most young children are also unaware of whether toys are brand-new or gently-used.” Grow with Me, at 25 Jackson Industrial Drive Suite 500, near Scio Township, is locally owned and operated, and the owners have deep roots in the community. The store could not be more kid friendly, and has a great policy for selling and returns.
- Once Upon a Child, at 4559 Washtenaw Ave, near Ypsilanti, is benefitting from its larger location to accommodate their huge inventory. They recently sent out an email to their customers to tell them about their semi-annual Clearance Blowout Event coming up on December 12. You can get the details and a $5 coupon here.
Lead Shopping Blogger Angie Smith will hunt for deals and dish on the latest in retail in Ann Arbor. Readers will attain notices of great deals, and store happenings in and around the city. To report a news item or tip contact her at email@example.com