Last year for Christmas my Mom started a new tradition within our family of giving gifts of charity to each other in lieu of stuff. It went over so well and everyone got involved. This year we decided our charity of choice was going to be something environmental; Repower America for alternative energy sources. Although a few members of the family did donate to this charity (and we excitedly received the confirmation emails), a couple others did something a little different.
Today we received Christmas cards from family in Arizona and when we opened them we were delighted to discover a cardboard card inside with the words “Give the gift of green” printed on the cover. I opened the card and to my surprise there was an American Express gift card inside, confused I began to read the fine print.
Turns out that the Westcor chain of malls sells these gift cards and they are meant to be used anywhere American Express is accepted. The cool news with this one is that through October 31, 2009 $0.70 of each purchase will be donated to American Forests. Westcor will donate a minimum of $100,000. In addition the card holder is created from 30% recycled paper.
In the spirit of attempting to avoid being caught in nothing more than a consumerist trap of buy, buy, buy just for the sake of spending money, this gift card will be one I will be happy to spend. However, in an effort to maximize the importance of the gift I plan to make it a two-fer by spending it on environmentally responsible versions the every day items we might run out of such as laundry detergent, dish liquid, face wash or shampoo.