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Rethink Energy: Holiday Shopping Picks

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

The stuff we consume — from snacks to knick-knacks — are responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50 and 80 percent of total land, material and water use.

New Zealand recently started a Gen Less campaign and this touching video has all the feels. It is a campaign focused on less = more. Gen Less is a decision to start getting more out of life by using less energy. It’s the first generation anyone can join, regardless of age. Interesting food for thought this holiday season.

Buildings and transportation often get the most focus when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That said, 60-80 percent of the impacts on the planet come from household consumption. If we change our consumption habits, this would have a drastic effect on our environmental footprint as well.

As you swing into the holiday buying season, here are the Rethink Energy Team’s top shopping picks:

Massage or Spa Gift Certificates: Giving the gift of self-care is one of the most thoughtful. Consider a gift certificate for a massage, facial, manicure or other relaxing treatment. Particularly after the rush of the holiday season, any means of stress relief is likely to be a very welcome gift!

Yoga or Workout Classes/Membership: Help your loved ones explore a new class or buy them a month at a gym they already belong to. Buy a punch card to a yoga class, golf lessons or tennis lessons. Even better, sign up for classes together!

A Class to Learn Something New: Turning interests into skills feels good, and whether the person on your list is interested in cooking, knitting, writing, ballroom dancing or juggling, there’s probably a class available to learn more about it.

Go Homemade: Whether or not you consider yourself crafty, you can make a variety or relatively simple homemade items to give as gifts. Everyone appreciates a creative homemade gift, and the possibilities are endless.

The Gift of Time: The gift of time is not only one of the most meaningful gifts, but it can be one of the most helpful. Everyone could use additional help in some area of their life — whether it’s a house cleaning, organizing, cleaning up the lawn or a special project.

Movie or Restaurant Gift Certificates: If gift cards are on your shopping list, consider local restaurants and movies. Dinner and a movie will always be a timeless gift.

Arlington’s Secret Santa Program: You can make the holiday season a little happier for some of Arlington’s most vulnerable residents by taking part in the Department of Human Services’ Secret Santa Program.

Start a Savings Account: For anyone with children in your family, consider starting a savings account. Instead of spending money on gifts, put a few dollars into a savings account to give them when they graduate high school.

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Submit your own Announcement here.

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

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Matt Ruby, Headliner

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