Green Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas
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Green Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for the Whole Family
- Ideas: Offer/ask for gifts that don't involve buying anything. For example, time together, a back rub, babysitting, offer to teach something you know how to do, donation to charity, seeds from your garden, tickets to an event (musical, lecture series, play, concert, etc.), nontoxic house cleaning service, gift certificates for spas, music downloads, movie downloads, etc. More ideas at: 25 Great, Consumer-Less Gift Ideas.
- Other Eco Gift Ideas:
- Give the gift of Kiva (a gift card that keeps on giving - it lets the recipient choose a micro loan borrower to support)!
- Consider purchasing gifts from companies focused on providing products which use renewable energy sources (i.e., solar powered radio or outdoor lighting).
- Eco-Artware promotes gifts made from reused and natural materials.
- Shop for gifts at antique stores, estate sales or flea markets.
- Create environmentally friendly gift baskets filled with sustainable gift items (e.g., LED light bulbs, plastic bag dryer, organic cotton socks/scarves/hats/etc., showerhead with mist setting for lowest flow showers, organic and/or vegan snack items, organic cotton towels, shade grown coffee, fair trade gifts, solar battery charger, solar radio/flashlight, a variety of nontoxic and biodegradable cleaning products or a nontoxic cleaning kit, etc.)
- Gifts that Give Back:
- Ask for/give the gift that keeps on growing -- a tree!.
- Make it a Fair Trade Holiday! Buy gifts through Online Fair Trade Shops.
- Give alternative charity gifts (check out the great online alternative gifts at the bottom of the page). Another resource: Charity Christmas Gifts.
- Feed a child in honor of someone you love and post their photo on the Wall Against Hunger (World Food Programme).
- Give the gift of a Mosquito Net to save someone from Malaria.
- Give Gifts that Give More
- If you are a school teacher, consider asking your students to bring in items that can be donated to a local charity that is distributing holiday gifts for underprivileged children.
- Find Gifts: Green Pages Online and the List of Alternative Gift Fairs in the U.S. can help you locate great gifts.
- Responsible Shopping: Whenever possible, shop at socially and environmentally responsible stores (ideally local businesses) (research tools for chains: better world shopper and good guide)
- Light Up with LEDs: If you are installing Christmas lights, consider purchasing more energy efficient Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs). They have an average life span of 100,000 hours (vs. 1,500) and reduce energy consumption by up to 80-90%.
- Gift Giving Policy: If you have a big family/lots of friends, come up with a plan to reduce the overall number of gifts given. One way is to randomly assign to each person only one other family member/friend to buy an eco gift for. Another (fun) example is for each person to buy and wrap one nice eco gift and then hold a party where everyone takes turns selecting their gift from the unselected (and already selected) gifts.
- Gift Exemption Voucher: For someone you no longer want to exchange gifts with, print out and send them the Gift Exemption Voucher.
- Alternative Gift Registry: If you have a wedding, baby shower, or office holiday party coming up, register for gifts through the Alternative Gift Registry for an eco-friendly celebration.
- Fair Trade Wedding: Great ideas for creating a fair trade wedding celebration.
- Holiday Cards: If you are sending out holiday cards, you can find eco-friendly ones at Conservatree. Thrift stores also carry donated Holiday cards during the holiday season. As an alternative to standard greeting cards, look into sending electronic greeting cards (check out tree e-greetings to plant a tree with each e-card) or making your own from waste paper.
- Greeting Cards: Great information and suggestions at Greeting Card: Go Green or Go Online.
- Wrapping Paper: To reduce resource consumption from using new wrapping paper, you can find donated wrapping paper at thrift stores during the holiday season. Alternatively reusable gift bags, usable cloth (e.g., nice dish rags), old maps, decorated paper bags, any colorful pieces of material, home-made gift bags, or the Sunday comics can substitute for store-bought wrapping paper.
- Decorating Your Table: Consider decorating with soy candles and items from nature or seasonal fruit and vegetables in a bowl.
- Less Waste: The following sites provide great ideas for creating less waste during the holiday season: