The Mall is not the only place to go "shopping" during the holiday season. Some set their sights on dumpsters for their gifting needs, an NPR audio report attests to such, check it out: Forget the Mall: Dumpster Dive for Holiday Gifts.
Keeping with NPR's archives, I found a great report from August 2006 that could be as appropriate today as it was then--when Northwest Airlines laid workers off in 2006, included with the feared pink-slip, they provided a list of recommendations for saving money. One of those recommendations, which caused outrage, was dumpster dive. Hear the report here: Northwest's Advice to the Laid Off: Dumpster Dive.
Scavenging to reduce your evironmental footprint is explored in an experiment untaken by a Newsweek reporter, who took-up the lifestyle of a "freegan" for a month--listen to an interview with her here: Next Big Thing: Writer Becomes a Freegan for a Month.