Give green



(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

Let’s just come out with it: Auntie Ruth is a lousy consumer. She just is. She has no talent for buying stuff—not the eye, not the patience. She wears clothes until they get old, only ventures into malls when she must (Arden Fair for people watching and the Apple Store), drives cars until they break, eats pretty simply. She ain’t being smug, don’t take it that way. This is America: We buy, therefore we are; if that’s the mantra that sings to you, well, find your part in that vast choir, sing in harmony and may the recession reverse. Fa la la la la.

But while, personally, Auntie Ruth thinks doing with less is more—a belief since youth that’s only intensified, given the high percentage of goods consumed per capita by Americans vis-à-vis any other culture in the world—there’s one time of year when Ruthie just sucks.

In short, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. If gift giving is an art and if you love buying stuff the rest of the year, Auntie Ruth bets you’re durn good at it as the holidays approach.

And so a request: Help Aunt Ruth overcome her consumerist disability. How? Social networking!

Join Auntie Ruth on Facebook and post your favorite green gift—either one you’ve successfully given or one you have your eye on. Local (made within a 200-mile radius of Sacramento) or handmade or fancy dancy. Sure, merchants are welcome to preen their wares, only limit your post to one per customer, have an earnest sense of what green consumerism means and, y’know, don’t be gross.

Generally speaking, a green gift doesn’t require as many natural resources to construct; it didn’t require a lot of gas getting here; it doesn’t have as many unpronounceable ingredients as your average loaf of white bread; it promotes sustainability over a quick obsolescence or eco-destructiveness; it educates about the environment more than it entertains by blowing things up. Y’know: all that.

Auntie Ruth has poked around a little. There’s The Story of Stuff by Anne Leonard, or concert tickets approved by the Green Music Group; there’s guitar-string jewelry from Wear Your Music—old guitar strings from Ani DiFranco, Béla Fleck or Eric Clapton recycled into jewelry, with proceeds going to charity; Vintage Brass Dog Tags from Sycamore Hill (très chic dog tags from reclaimed metal).

What you got?