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9 Green Gift Ideas For The Holiday Season
Dated: December 17 2014
It is once again that most wonderful time of the year. The winter holidays are upon us, meaning fun gatherings with family and friends, lots of chocolate and, of course... presents! Unfortunately, consumerism can get a little out of hand. According to RecycleWorks.org, waste per household increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Americans throw away 4 million tons of gift wrapping and shopping bags annually, buy 2.65 billion holiday cards, and spend an average of $800 per person on gifts. It’s no wonder, then, that a national survey found 70% of Americans wish there was less of a focus on holiday gift giving. Although material-free gifts are often the most environmentally conscious presents, eco-friendly products are increasingly available, thanks to programs like EnergyStar and efforts by individual manufacturers.
Want to give gifts that your friends and family will love while still caring about the environment? Giving green gifts is about more than just choosing a sustainable product. There are lots of ways to give gifts that can help your friends be more environmentally conscious or that don't require buying any items at all. Check out these ideas from our gift guide to get you on your way to a happy (and green) holiday!
1. Gifts That Help Conservation
World Wildlife Fund, National Wildlife Federation, Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club and many more will allow you to adopt an animal or buy gifts that benefit the organization and its conservation work.
2. Minimalist Gifts
Friends don’t want more stuff? You can give experiences like a wine tasting, bike tour, pottery class, cooking class, movie tickets or show tickets. A lot of people (not just minimalists) prefer these to physical gifts!
3. Recycled Or Upcycled Goods
If you’re going to buy something, see if there is an upcycled or recycled version of it (Uncommon Goods or Etsy are good sites to start looking). These goods can often have more character! Flattened wine bottle trays, bottle glasses or vases, upcycled clothes turned into bags or other clothes, reused fabrics, fleeces and jewelry are all options.
4. Gifts That Will Help Cut Down On Waste
There are lots of thoughtful gifts that can help people cut down on using single-use containers or food waste. For example you can give bento boxes, salad containers orreusable snack bags for lunch, along with a bamboo utensil set or nice chopsticks. For the kitchen, a sleek compost pail, nice cloth dish towels or a water filter are all good ideas. And everyone can always use a reusable water bottle or a good coffee thermos.
5. Gifts That Will Help Cut Down On Energy Use
You can give all kinds of water- or energy-saving tech that's fun to use and green.Learning thermostats or smart light switches can be a good choice for people who love gadgets.
6. Gifts You Can Make Yourself
Get crafty with homemade candles, paper, lip balms, jewelry, photo prints or hand-knitted scarves. Friends will love the personal touch.
7. Food Gifts
There are endless ways you can give edible gifts around the holidays. Homemade jams or preserves, syrups, infused liquors or homemade extracts are all cool gifts, especially for the culinary minded. You can also make baking jars or homemade candy. If you know the person likes to cook, a subscription to a local meat or cheese club or CSA can also be fun.
8. Growable Gifts
Even during the winter, giving plants can be fun. Seedlings, herb plants, a terrarium, tree planting kit or seed paper are all cool ideas. Remember to include instructions on how to keep the gift alive!
9. Gifts That Help You Get Outside
Help your loved ones get outside this year by giving them a good reason to go! Some ideas include: membership in an outdoors club, sailing club or kayaking group; rock climbing lessons or climbing gym membership; a deluxe tune up for their bike or entry into their favorite kind of race.
The Huffington Post, Katherine Boehrer
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