Embrace with joy the changing seasons.
For each yields its own abundance
Reflect the true nature of your light...
Go out on a limb....
Remember your roots!...
There's just some of "Advice From A Tree" by "Ilan Shamir," formerly Scott Alyn, founder of TreeGreetings (I'll spare you the rest). I was introduced to TreeGreetings last year when my friends Adam and Yvonne bought a tree for me as a celebration of "The Solstice: The Only Holiday That Doesn't Piss Somebody Off!"
Last December I got a little e-mail (and the poem) letting me know that they had bought a tree in my name. On May 22, I got another e-mail to let me know that my tree had been planted in El Salvador as part of a project to not only help green the planet, but offer sustainable work to impoverished areas.
Reading these e-mails (and poems) I was fairly sure that I had wandered into a Seinfeld episode actualized. Again. We all remember Festivus in the Constanza household, but do you remember George's fake charity "The Human Fund"? It's goal was "Money For People." Had Adam just sent me a fake charity gift?
No, no, Trees, Water & People is an audited 501(c) 3 non-profit that works out of Fort Collins, Colorado.
While my response might have lacked sentimentality ("You two are such fucking hippies") I was sincerely glad that my friends had not only gotten me something that didn't make me feel like a wasteful asshat, but they'd done something on my behalf that made me feel better about me - even better, to a narcissist.
Since I almost always find myself scrambling for Christmas gifts at the very last moment, this whole tree thing seems mighty perfect. As Adam recently told me, "It may seem a lame substitute for a 'real' present, but a "plant a tree" email card is better than sending the lame, not to mention poorly written, Hallmark card to friends and family who weren't going to get a present from you anyway."
So it was a tree or nothing? Ah, there's the Christmas spirit. There's the Christmas spirit I like, anyway. I would much rather my loved ones forgo gifts for small donations to causes they care about. I don't want to be a Grinch, but the Grinch was green, wasn't he? It seems like most things are going green - designer bags, cars, houses, even (er) Christmas trees. Why shouldn't Christmas itself be the same?
On that note, check out Olivia Zaleski on "Go Green: Give Nothing" and If you're interested in giving donations as gifts, you can click here to read more about Adopt An Acre, Rescue The Reef, and more from the Nature Conservancy.
What do you think? Is it grinchy to not want to give gifts, or is it green?
For more holiday season tips , click here for more from Huffington Post's Living!