The UK-based international development agency Christian Aid is offering supporters an Advent email with daily tips to help beat the credit crunch this Christmas, and benefit the planet and its people at the same time.
The handy hints and tips, which will be emailed daily from the 1 December 2008 until Christmas Eve on the 24th, "are designed to help consumers save cash, cut their carbon emissions and have some Yuletide fun," says the NGO, which is involved in advocacy and education both at home and abroad.
Hints include "giving the gift of time" – in an increasingly busy world, says the agency,you can give someone you love some time off by presenting them an IOU for babysitting, walking the dog, washing the car, etc. The babysitting duties could save them at least £20 a night.
Another idea is more car sharing. As fuel costs rise, and traffic jams increase, why not log on to www.pickuppal.com and find someone heading your way home for Christmas. Not only will it save you money by sharing fuel costs but using one car rather than two will reduce emissions. You might even make a new friend.
Making Christmas decorations from found or recycled materials is another possibility, says Christian Aid. "Use holly and pine cones collected from local woods to decorate the house, get the kids to make paper chains from old magazines and bake some gingerbread to hang on the tree. Making your own can be cheap, fun and will keep the kids amused for hours."
There are also tips include how to cut costs on food, fuel, fashion, entertainment and more. Those interested can register for the daily advent tip at: www.christianaid.org.uk/advent