Christmas Gift Ideas from the Green Team

Many of the best gifts in life are not things!

Would you consider giving and getting less stuff this year?  By reducing the energy required to produce, package, and transport surplus goods, we can contribute to our planet’s health and well-being.

If you decide to make changes in your gift-giving habits, you might think about starting gradually.  Find a few ideas and give them a try this holiday season.  

Here are some alternative gift ideas

Please share your own ideas and special traditions at

  1. Give an experience.
    • Music, art, riding, or sports lessons
    • One-on-one date night with a child
    • Plan for a movie, play, concert, museum or sporting event with dinner, ice cream or snacks.  The child has your complete and undivided attention.
    • Winter weekend get-away for the whole family
    • Access to a heated pool at your motel/hotel would be a treat in itself.  For children who love splashing around in the water, winter swimming is awesome.  The pool doesn’t need to have Olympic dimensions.  Any size will do.    
    • A subscription to a magazine expands a child’s horizons every month.
    • Cricket Magazine is a great choice.
    • Start a new tradition in which family members write individual notes of appreciation to everyone in the family.  These messages are affirming, honor shared feelings, and strengthen family ties.
  2. Donate to a charity in the name of a loved one or organize an alternative gift fair to support local and international charities.  Because this may be a departure from your traditional gift exchange with family and friends, you might tell them gently that you prefer their supporting a charity instead of buying gifts for you.


  1.  Give the gift of time. Create a gift certificate that offers babysitting, a lunch date with a friend or relative, a home-cooked meal, or whatever you wish to share.
  1.  Give something that you made such as baked goods, spiced pecans, baking mix in a jar, birdseed wreath, or Tried & True Hand Cream


  1.  Select fair trade products for the coffee, tea, and chocolate lovers on your list.
  1.  Check out the reusable bags at    
    • These bags come in many sizes.  Folded up, they are tiny when not in use.  (So easy to carry!)  They make terrific gifts.

Here are other actions that are sure to spread good cheer.  They certainly did in my life during the past year!  As the recipient of every one of these thoughtful gestures, I am thankful to both friends and strangers…..

  • Pay the bill for strangers at the table across the room.  When the waitress told us that our bill had been paid by someone we didn’t know who had already left the restaurant, we were astonished.  That initial act of generosity sparked us to do the same for other strangers in that room – and perhaps they did so as well.  Never underestimate the impact of one random act of kindness!
  • Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen or talked with in a long time.   The blessing of reconnecting is priceless!
  • Give away a really good book that you enjoyed to someone with similar reading tastes.  You may even think of more favorite “treasures” to share with others.
  • Give narcissus bulbs (also called paper whites) that grow in water on a bed of stones or gravel.  The fragrant blooms warm both the heart and soul when cold weather seems endless.
  • Host a potluck or a wine tasting to bring people together.  Invite everyone to contribute food and/or wine.
  • Shovel snow for an elderly neighbor

Charity Contact Information

** Your additional ideas will be appreciated. Share them at

Episcopal Relief and Development

  • Box 7058
  • Merrifield, VA
  • 22116-7058

Soroti Ministry

Fauquier Food Bank

  • 249 E. Shirley Avenue
  • Warrenton, VA  20186

Fauquier Free Clinic

  • 35 Rock Pointe Lane
  • Warrenton, VA  20186

Learning Starts Early Fund

  • Northern Piedmont Community Foundation
  • P O Box 5
  • Culpeper, VA
  • 22701



  • Terrific Home Remedy for Chapped Hands!!!
  • 15 oz. bottle of baby lotion
  •  8 oz. Vitamin E cream
  •  6 oz. Vaseline
  • Mix all together with mixer until whipped and fluffy.
  • Divide into small glass jars.
  • Give as gifts and enjoy!  


  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
  • 4 cups bird seed
  • Bundt pan
  • Nonstick spray
  • In a large bowl, stir the gelatin into warm water until it is dissolved.
  • Whisk in the corn syrup and flour.  
  • Stir well to make a paste.
  • Pour the 4 cups of seeds into the paste and mix until it is very well combined.
  • Press the mixture – a little at a time – firmly into the Bundt pan.
  • You will notice in the morning the paste has become really hard.  It has a whitish color.
  • Just turn the pan upside down and the wreath will slide right out onto a drying rack.  Allow it to dry completely……be careful not to break it though.
  • Tie a ribbon and hang it for birds to enjoy!

This catalogue is brought to you from Saint James’ Green Team with warm wishes for meaningful Advent and Christmas seasons.