What’s one of the best holiday gifts you can give this year? Sustainability! This is the year many people are adding “eco-friendly” to their decorating, travel, and gift lists in order to avoid the unnecessary waste or environmental harm that so often occurs during the merriest time of the year.
Here are some of our favorite ideas for living and giving from the heart without taking from the planet.
1. Guidelines for Green Gift Giving
The good news is it’s pretty easy to keep spirits bright while protecting the planet. You can green the entire process by minimizing your carbon footprint and considering the whole gift-giving experience from shopping to gift wrap and proper disposal.
- Minimize packaging and waste by thinking twice about what you use to wrap a gift. A beautiful potted plant is a great green gift, but not if it’s wrapped in layers of cellophane and decorated with a mylar balloon, neither of which can be repurposed or recycled. Sustainable choices include recycled paper, reusable gift sacks, and natural decorations like pinecones and evergreen sprigs.
- Quality over quantity. The quality and intention of your gift matters more than the quantity. Avoid frivolous items like gag gifts and plastic toys that are enjoyed for a moment before being tossed away. Meaningful and sustainable gifts have a staying power. We’ll provide some ideas below.
- Practice sustainable shopping by bringing your own reusable shopping bags and purchasing gifts from brands with sustainable business practices. Look for companies that are Certified B Corporations, as they’re required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. You can also reduce the carbon footprint of your purchases by shopping local. And if you’re shopping online, start now to minimize the carbon footprint from processing, packaging, and transporting your purchases.
2. Green Gift Ideas For The Young
It’s easier than you think to pamper kids with zero-waste gifts. They’ll love receiving:
- Eco crayon sticks.
- Board games.
- Chocolates and other sweets.
- Upcycled building blocks.
- DIY garden kits.
And kids love experiences as much as adults do. Consider the gift of sporting tickets, a trip to the zoo, cooking lessons, or a day at the amusement park.
3. Green Gift Ideas For The Young At Heart
Along with the suggestions listed above, show your love for the adults in your life with sustainable gifts like:
- Kitchen towels made with sustainable fabrics like linen or hemp.
- Charitable donations in their names.
- Gift certificate to a local restaurant.
- Experiences such as wine tastings, concerts, theater tickets, classes, or spa days.
4. Will you be traveling this holiday season?
To limit its effects on the environment, consider:
- Choosing a location nearer to home.
- Taking the train instead of plane travel.
- Staying in eco-conscious hotels or shared vacation rentals.
- Using public transportation.
5. Get Creative With Sustainable Decor
Who says you can’t be festive and zero-waste too?
- Choose natural materials like garden trimmings, fruits, and vegetables to decorate doors, mantles, tabletops, and more.
- Reuse store-bought decorations from year to year.
- Surround chemical-free candles with greenery and pinecones.
When it comes to merrymaking with sustainability in mind, just a bit of imagination can go a long way. With a little ingenuity, you can reduce the impact of the holiday season without lessening the joy of the season. From gifts made from recycled sources to nature restoration activities, there’s no better time to start celebrating the most wonderful season with the planet in mind.