From Dec. 2-10, join makers from all over the world for the inaugural MAKE SMTHNG Week, organized by Greenpeace, Fashion Revolution, and Shareable. It's easy to get swept up in the wave of rampant consumption that has become the cornerstone of the holiday season. But there's another way — and some might argue that it's a far better alternative. MAKE SMTHNG Week is here to provide a way to experience this alternative first hand. During the week, people are encouraged to forgo shopping for new things and instead create, upcycle, repair, and share. So far, more than 80 events have already been confirmed on five continents. These 9 Shareable "how-to" guides are here to provide a little inspiration for MAKE SMTHNG Week events, both big and small.
Photo by Meg Wachter
Upcycling old clothes and other things that would otherwise be thrown away is both an environmentally friendly and enjoyable way to make presents for your friends, family, or even yourself. It's even more enjoyable when you're doing it with other people. This is a great way to hack the holiday season and save some money at the same time.
Photo by Rick Obst (CC-BY)
Little Free Libraries are an excellent way to foster a culture of sharing in most neighborhoods. Six primary steps on how to create a little free library have been adapted from the Service Project Kit: Build a Little Free Library, created by the International Literacy Association and Little Free Library.
Photo by Jessica Hill/Mad in Crafts
From protecting your smartphone with rubber bands to creating a pendant lamp from office extras, it's fun to see how many things you can make out of the same five or 10 materials.
Photo courtesy of Repair Café Palo Alto
Repair Cafés are free pop-up events where people bring their broken appliances, tools, toys, furniture, and other items to get fixed. Expert volunteers are there to provide advice and guidance as well as the necessary tools to fix it yourself. There are currently over 1,420 Repair Cafés registered around the world.
Illustration by Brennan Blazer Bird
Bottle Bricks are an easy way to turn plastic trash and bottles into a durable building material. These "EcoBricks" or "Portable Landfill Devices" can be used at home or on the go, and they can be turned into a bench or other structure. It makes for a great community project.
Photo by Paula Junn
Skillshares are an excellent example of what Shareable would refer to as the real sharing economy. People gather together to share a skill and/or to learn something new. These events can take place in a large venue such as a community center or school, with hundreds of people in multiple spaces over the course of a day, or can be much more intimate with 5-10 people learning and practicing a single skill over the course of an evening.
Photo by Arianna Davalos
Stranger Dinners are a great way to get to know new people with similar (and potentially quite different) interests. Think of it is as hosting a potluck where you don't know most of the people. It could be a bit unnerving, but on the other hand, there is little pressure because you may never see these people again, and it's a great time to try out a new recipe on your unsuspecting guests.
Photo by Carla Borella, CC0
I think Asha Bee describes it best: "A Permablitz is [basically] a permaculture-inspired backyard makeover where people come together to share knowledge and skills about organic food production in urban gardens while building community and having fun." It's a great way to create something that will last for years to come continuing to offer the gift of food and healthy soil. One idea is to ask people to help you with a project, instead of getting you a gift — and you can offer the same.
Photo by Jill Ettinger
Anyone can host a Gift Circle with their friends, family, and even strangers in their community. Once people are gathered, the basic format includes a round of personal introductions followed by a round of asks and a round of offers (this can be unrelated to the asks that were made). Then there is time for people to talk to each other and schedule the giving and receiving of gifts. It's a great way to build community and personal relationships.