The Obama Inauguration will be sparkly green. But the souvenirs? Eh, not so much. When it comes to going green, your basic little presidential souvenir would feel right at home in a dollar store: plastic, toxic, and…um…just plain ick.
If you’d rather not go that route, there’s a lot you can do to preserve this historic occasion, the green way – and without spending to much money. Jump with me below the fold to see how.
1. Children’s Souvenir Art for Obama
This is the greenest (and cheapest) inauguration souvenir I’ve come up with, so let me know if you’ve got something better. If you have young children, give them some paint and ask them to make a picture of Obama. Who cares if it looks like a blob on a squiggle? Frame it in a salvaged frame, of course, label the back so you don’t forget who it’s supposed to be, and there you go. Years from now, your children will thank you.
Painting on rocks is another kid-friendly quick craft that keeps forever.
If your kids won’t make art at your request, chances are they’ve done a school project for the upcoming inauguration. Intercept it when they bring it home.
You can also put the word out to art teachers or craft teachers at your local middle school, high school, or college. Let them know you’re willing to pay a few bucks for original student Obama art.
2. Senior Citizens Souvenir Art for Obama
Senior centers, residences and community centers are another good source for original, affordable Obama art souvenirs. Some senior organizations host regular art shows for their members. Reach out to the activities director and see if any selling artists are on the roster.
3. Professional Art, Kitsch, and Craft
The Obama campaign inspired a huge number of artists and most of them are sure to be around long after Inauguration Day. Check into local art galleries and consignment shops to find original Obama works, or wait until the weather warms up and go to local art and craft fairs.
You can also find original art, handmade items, and fabulous kitsch on Obama inspired web sites like Art of Obama, or on general craft sites like Etsy.
Another great source for finding artists and getting craft ideas is the Obama Craft Project on flickr.
4. Shop Green for Obama
If you can’t resist a store-bought souvenir, try to find one made of sustainable, organic, or recycled materials. This can get a little tricky, though. The Official Obama souvenir shop has canvas tote bags made from “natural” cotton and toy trains made from “sustainable” wood, but you’d have to dig a little further to find out if that’s organic cotton and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood.
One quick way to sort through the chaff is to start with an organic or sustainable company that you already trust, and search their web site with “Obama.”
5. Party Green for Obama
If you’re planning an inauguration party, include some basic green entertaining tips. Use washable tableware and napkins, and try to include locally made food and drinks.
Turn it into a souvenir-making party by taking photos of your friends holding up their letters or a home-made Obama sign. Frame them as-is, or let your kids cut them up and splice them into magazine pictures for a photo-collage.
You can go one step beyond and combine it with a letter-writing party to our 44th President. After all, how is he ever going to remember all those campaign promises if we don’t keep reminding him?
Image: Carved and painted Obama potato, eob on flickr.com under creative commons.
I appreciate your ideas of looking for alternative souvenirs for such a historical inauguration. America is rich with creative folk art and it’s artistic roots are grounded in it. What could be more fitting than a souvenir made by hand in the USA as compared to a trinket made in China?
I have to wonder though, your article mentions the wooden toy train for sale at the official Obamma store, does the Presidential incumbent and his team realize that it is quite possible that that toy and the kids t-shirts will be illegal to sell come Febuary 10th when the new CPSIA laws come into effect?