As we start to unpack the decorations and lights gearing up for the holidays, there are ways to deepen meaning in the holidays - and invest in the local economy - without having a major impact on the environment.
Think about an experience that strengthens the local community. Gym memberships are appropriate for all ages, especially those thinking about some health improvement. The City offers inexpensive community resources such as Mulberry Pool and EPIC or a fun backcountry ski or snowshoe trip through the Senior Center.
Or how about alternative household cleaners in a recycled bottled that you can decorate with old ribbons and bows. Make gift giving an activity that you can do with your kids for their teachers. Try old-fashioned recipes like Furniture Polish: ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup vinegar, Drop or lavender and tea tree oil (e.g. full spectrum fungicide).
• A subscription to one of the many Community Supported Agriculture local farms. These CSAs can be split between families and some give discounts if you want to work on the farm. Those types of gifts also help our farmers compete in a very competitive global market and help preserve farmland.
• Need to give a larger gift? Perhaps a golf package at one of the City’s great golf courses? Or try a “green” gift such as purchasing a block of wind energy for a neighbor or co-workers.
• For electronics, remember to buy rechargeable batteries and a charger. One of these batteries can replace 1,000 single-use alkaline batteries over its lifetime. Buy a game console that has an automatic power-down feature mode.
• If you are ready to hang your own lights, remember the City Utilities discount program for energy-efficient lights. If you are buying a big-ticket item, the City offers discounts for energy-efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star label.
• Think about restaurant gift certificates or Downtown Fort Collins gift cards to help support your neighbors by shopping in Fort Collins and keeping tax dollars – and jobs - in the community. Provide the service of a cleaning company or a coupon from you taking on the task?
• Support local artists, actors or musicians. Crafts from local artists are sold in some stores around town and at craft fairs. A play or ballet is tempting at the energy-efficient Lincoln Center. Or see local bands showcased at the community’s Aggie venue.
• Think about using extra vacation time to encourage kids or employees to volunteer at a local non-profit or donate to an organization that helps others.