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Simplify the Holidays Activities, Tips & Resources

November 30, 2020
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Simplify the Holidays Activities, Tips & Resources

The holidays are a time of celebration with family, friends, and the community. However, this once-simple holiday tradition has led to consumption practices that can have serious impacts on our island environment and beyond! Each year around the holidays, Kokua Hawai’i Foundation sets out on a mission to help reverse this trend through our ‘Simplify the Holidays’ campaign!  This campaign- inspired by the Center For Biological Diversity- encourages families to create green holiday practices that promote sharing, laughter, and creativity.  Below you will find creative ideas for simplifying your gift giving and ways to bring joy to both yourself and others during this thoughtful time of year.

Get Creative with Gifts & Decorations
Gift giving is a beautiful tradition during the holidays and can be done both simply and purposely by exploring the resources shared below. Each activity has a lesson plan and/or video attached to make it easier for you and your family to have fun while creating gifts and decorations from the heart:

  • KHF's Simplify the Holidays resources page is a great place to start! These resources are full of tips, activities and gifts to truly make your holiday green. Be sure to also check out our Green Holiday Educator Guidesthat is full of ideas for educatorsof all ages!
  • Lunch On the Go Kits: Make an adorable and earth-friendly reusable utensil kit wrapped in fabric inspired by the Japanese art of furoshiki. Fabric can be printed by you or pre-printed like a bandana!
  • Yarn Stamps: Decorate your own gift wrapping paper or cards with homemade yarn stamps while learning about colors, lines, patterns and shapes.
  • Fabric Bowls: Design a beautiful bowl out of old fabric scraps and give it as a gift or fill your fabric bowl with healthy treats before you give it to someone special!
  • Pressed Flower Cards: These beautiful flower cards are the perfect way to write a homemade card for the holidays. Or you can frame the pressed flower and give it as a gift.
  • Paper Stars: In many traditions around the world, the star is a symbol of shining hope for humanity. Decorate your home for the holidays with beautiful paper stars made out of paper bags. Small paper bags make small stars, large paper bags make big stars!
  • Family "Tree" Leaf Rubbing Mobile: The holidays are the perfect time to talk-story, interview your elders and document your family history! Get outside as a family and make leaf rubbings, collect dates, places of birth, and make the connections necessary to create a family tree!
  • Woven CD Suncatchers: Decorate your home for the holidays and capture the beauty of the sun with these woven CD suncatchers! Reuse holiday ribbon or yarn, and hang them around the house to get into the holiday spirit.  
  • Pinecone Christmas Tree with a Star: This little pinecone Christmas tree looks really cute sitting on a side table, or any little spot in the house that needs some holiday cheer!

Giving Back

All acts of generosity, no matter how big or small, have the potential to create a profound impact on your community, the world, and you. Keep in mind that generosity can be simple and you can tailor it to suit your life. If giving money is not an option, consider giving time.Giving back to nonprofits and your community embodies what the holidays truly are about!

  • Donate to a Nonprofit: Make a donation to your favorite nonprofit in honor of a loved one. No donation is too small! Donations given to KHF help us achieve our mission of fostering environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawai’i. Donate here.
  • Become a Member: Give the gift of a nonprofit membership this holiday season. Nonprofits like KHF run off of all our members! Check out all the different KHF membership options here.
  • Volunteer: Donate your time to a local nonprofit that is working on issues and projects you are passionate about. KHF is grateful for all of our amazing volunteers! Sign up to volunteer with KHF here.

Giving Mindfully

  • Gift Reusables: Give a loved one the tools to reduce single-use plastics in their life! Check out KHF’s Plastic Free Hawai’i Merchandise for some ideas.
  • Gift Plants: A plant or garden tool is a great way to encourage family and friends to start a backyard garden of their own! No matter how big or small a space, a garden or planting section is almost always doable. Check out KHF’s ‘AINA Garden Planting Kits here, the perfect gift for the garden lover in your life!
  • Gift Secondhand: Thrift shops and antique stores are full of unique pre-loved items that make the perfect git! Secondhand goods do not add to the demand for more which helps lessen our dependence on extracting more resources. Get creative and give life to secondhand items this holiday season! 
  • Homemade Gifts: Give the gift of time, energy and yumminess with edible gifts! Bake cookies, cook your favorite comfort food, or treat your loved ones to that special homemade lilikoi jam in a reusable glass jar. Check out our Simplify the Holidays Edible Gift Guide for some ideas!
  • The Gift of Time: We each have unique skills and talents. Offering someone your time and expertise can be a truly thoughtful gift. Material items often break or become outdated, but the memories of sharing an experience or learning something new can last a lifetime.
  • Experiential Gifts: Give the gift of a museum or National Park membership, cooking or art classes, or plan a special day enjoying your favorite outdoor spot. An experience doesn’t have to be a big trip! Outdoor adventures with a loved one are always a fun idea. Take a friend or family horseback riding, rock climbing, sailing, or hiking.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa

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