Even though a "green Christmas" means you're cutting way back on gift-giving this year, you may still want to give friends and family members some token of your love and appreciation. Consider these earth-friendly options that won't break your bank. They'll help simplify your holidays, too.
* Give friends or family with small children at home a gift certificate for three hours of free babysitting they can redeem any time.
* For friends who like to garden, offer to help them weed in the spring.
* If you have particular electronics expertise, donate a few hours of training or support.
* Offer to make supper on a school night when parents can get frazzled and kids cranky if dinner’s not ready on time.
Pictures and memories
* Beautifully frame meaningful photographs.
* Make your own calendar illustrated with photos of family and friends.
* Take everyone to your favorite museum on its "free" night; organize a hike to a beautiful spot; get back to Nature — even in the winter — with an afternoon at your local botanic garden (if you get cold, dash into the greenhouse!)
* Invite friends and family to game night. Play your favorite game, pick up something new at the local thrift shop, or play charades for free. Set up game tables so you can have several games involving lots of people going on at once.
* Food and Games: Ask everyone to bring their favorite game along with their favorite dish. Play a game during appetizers, after the main course, and again after dessert.