Recycling, upcycling and sharing | Local 20/20

Suzanne Jones
Posted 11/24/21

Looking forward to the holidays? Many folks will say “Always!” 

It is easy, though, to feel overwhelmed during this time of year so, how do we get through the season with joy and …

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Recycling, upcycling and sharing | Local 20/20


Looking forward to the holidays? Many folks will say “Always!” 

It is easy, though, to feel overwhelmed during this time of year so, how do we get through the season with joy and cheer?

A holiday is a time to relax and enjoy friends and family. No one enjoys competing for a parking space on “Black Friday” or worrying about how to afford gifts for everyone. 

Of course, in Jefferson County, the pace is a little slower and less chaotic. To keep the pace slow this season, how about keeping it local, while gifting the planet by recycling, upcycling and giving gifts of a service or a favor? 

People like to give and receive gifts during this season, but there is no need to get caught up in the bustle. Gifts such as drawings, hand-painted note cards, or a book of coupons for kind deeds are much appreciated. Personal gifts tend to hold more meaning over time, and it can be fun to create something special for someone we care for. We could also give something we own that we think a friend might like such as a special book, a cookbook, a scarf, or a piece of jewelry. How about designing and giving something made from recycled jewelry? Or knitting a scarf or shopping bag from yarn that has been stuck in a drawer just waiting to be turned into something useful? Special wooden toys and wooden boxes make wonderful gifts. 

Gifts of time are very valuable. How about offering to do a chore for someone, fix something, or help organize something (like their garage next spring)? What if we helped a family gift the planet with a tree? 

Shopping locally and giving recycled and upcycled gifts is a gift to our planet, too. Cutting back on the production/consumption wheel is healthier for our planet and for us. 

Of course, we need to sprinkle the cheer and support our local craftspeople and local restaurants and shops. Gift certificates to get your knives sharpened or a meal at one of our local restaurants would probably be much appreciated. We can also shop locally for everything we need to make our gifts — silver clasps for the jewelry, buttons for the knitted scarves, colored pencils, or watercolors to make the note cards. And let’s not forget about the many local nonprofits who serve our community through thick and thin — one can make a donation in a family member’s name.

Over the past decade, several economists and current philosophers (David Korten co-founder of YES Magazine, Helena-Norberg Hodge, founder of the Local Futures Organization, and Charles Eisenstein, author of “Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition”) have suggested that the best way to protect our local economy is to shop locally. Keeping it local gives us a special bond with our community and adds to our sense of belonging to this place.  

(Suzanne Jones is a local author, musician, artist and teacher of compassionate communication. Tracy Bigelow Grisman is a local artist and musician. They serve on the steering council of Local 20/20.)


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