11 Eco-friendly Gifts
Well, let’s get to it, shall we?
11. If it truly is the thought that counts, then give thoughtful and meaningful gifts that have lower price tags for both your wallet and the environment. Offer coupons for childcare or petcare or lawncare or household work or a car wash. Give a gift that shows the person that you’re thinking about their needs.
10. Give gifts that make use of services instead of products: a massage, a manicure or pedicure, piano lessons, French lessons, cooking lessons. Better yet, give in the name of your recipient to organizations like Heifer Project International; they’ll receive the gift of knowing that somewhere in the world, a family’s life is richer and healthier and more secure because of them.
9. Give the gift of an experience: a theatre production, a concert, a museum visit, an ice-skating adventure. Either give tickets so they can go and take someone; or go with them and let your gift be the gift of time spent together with you.
8. Give antiques or heirlooms or treasured personal items: your grandfather’s watch, your great-grandmother’s brooch, a crystal vase that your parents brought home from their trip to Ireland. Not only is this a wonderful way of recycling, but it is also a way to make your gift a meaningful one.
7. Grow your gifts. Give several lovely little pots of different herbs, or one beautiful, larger pot with several kinds of herbs in it. You could combine plants of oregano, basil and thyme for an “Italian Seasoning” herb blend. Consider the recipient and then choose plants accordingly.
6. Christmas is one of the best times to give edible gifts. Edible gifts are such a treat that we who receive them come to look forward to them from year to year, allowing them to become part of our own holiday traditions. I still firmly believe that every Christmas holiday season should include my Aunt Trudy’s peanut butter fudge and Sally’s extraordinary divinity. They are treasured parts of my Christmas tradition. But don’t worry if you can’t master these difficult delicacies. Every December issue of home-keeping magazines, as well as the Internet, is full of recipes for cookies, cakes, candies and other delights that are easy to make. A little research and you’re all set. But don’t limit yourself to sweets: make homemade salsa or humas or other savory gifts.
5. Consider buying gifts that are made from recycled materials: purses made from candy wrappers, earrings made from reclaimed glass. There are as many gifts to choose from as there are things to be recycled. Check around and find artisans who work with recycled items; not only are you reducing your total Christmas footprint, but you’re helping do reduce waste in landfills.
4. Buy local. Shop local craft fairs or find local crafters and artisans: woodcrafters, potters, metalworkers, etc. If an item has been made locally, then it doesn’t have to be shipped, which means it doesn’t have as large an ecological price tag. Plus it supports local industry.
3. Every time I unpack my winter clothes, I see the scarf Kathy made for me and I think of her with affection. Do you knit? Crochet? Work with beads? Make jewelry? Make candles? Sew? Write poetry? Then give a one-of-a-kind gift that tells the recipient that this was made especially for them.
2. Give gifts of the bounty of the harvest: local delicacies like honey or maple syrup, or something from your summer garden that you’ve preserved (dried, canned, frozen): tomatoes, peppers, garlic, fruit, etc.
1. Regift. There. I said it. I know there are some who might look down on this idea, but this is a wonderful way to recycle. Why clutter up your living space with things that (while well-intended) are not something that you are inclined to use. Why not regift them, and provide them a good home to someone who will enjoy them? After all, isn’t that what the original giver intended? Just make sure you are a thoughtful regifter, doing your best to insure that the original giver does not wind up with wounded feelings in the process.
Whatever you choose to give, consider the method of production, the method of purchase and the method of delivery. Buying something for a friend far away? Maybe it’s better to buy online and spend a few extra dollars for gift wrap, instead of having the item shipped to you only so you can turn around and ship it again. Think about your gift-giving choices – and their implications – this season.
Hope you discovered some good ideas. Tomorrow, we’ll have 10 Green Ideas. See you then.