8 Tips for Sustainable Holiday Gift Giving
Soon, many of us will be swept up in the holiday shopping frenzy. Can consumerism and sustainability coexist? Well, that’s a big question. But on a small scale, the answer is yes. With a little thought and planning, there are simple shifts you can make to do your part for our planet.
And the good news is sustainable gift giving is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for our relationships, our communities, our health, and our finances.
We’ve put together eight ideas to get you started
- Shop local. By spending your money locally instead, you’ll reduce pollution by not having items shipped long distances. The American Independent Business Alliance provides links to organizations that can provide lists of local businesses in your area.
- Bonus: You’ll be supporting your local economy and small, independent businesses.
- Donate money or volunteer time to the recipient’s favorite charity.
- Bonus: The good feeling of knowing your gift will benefit those in need.
- Give an experience, such as concert tickets, a movie gift card, or a museum membership. This is especially great for kids who may already receive plenty of “stuff.” And your recipient will have something to look forward to after the holiday hubbub.
- Optional: Get a matching ticket for yourself, and you can turn it into quality time to make priceless memories with a loved one.
- Homemade goodies cookies or a savory snack mix—love from your kitchen! Or, if baking/cooking isn’t your thing, consider farmers’ markets as a resource for locally made edible gifts, such as honey, mustards, or hot sauces. Check the USDA’s directory to find a market near you.
- Optional: Include the recipe as part of the gift.
- Homemade bath or beauty products using natural ingredients. Check Pinterest or Etsy for inspiration. Not crafty? Shop Etsy or local arts and craft fairs.
- “Upcycled” gifts—there are so many creative ideas out there that give new life to items that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Turn coffee cans into planters, buttons into earrings, maps into paper flowers and more. Check local craft fairs, or DIY. Again, Pinterest and Etsy can offer a wealth of ideas.
- Potted herbs and succulents, or seed packets—great options for the cooks and gardeners on your list.
- Reusable fabric shopping and produce bags—these can be used to wrap gifts or as a gift in themselves.
Creative gift wrapping
When it comes to wrapping your gifts, think beyond new wrapping paper and plastic films. For gift cards, certificates, and donations, try sending digitally. This way you can save plastic cards plus the emissions associated with traditional mail.
For tangible items, try using inverted brown paper bags and reused boxes, adding ink stamps and paper snowflakes for flair. Or chose reusable bags or glass jars.
Another great option is to wrap gifts in other gifts: boxes can be wrapped in a neatly tied long-sleeve shirt and scarves make classy pouches for smaller items. Whatever you choose, remember to save the wrap with your decorations to reuse next year.
What are your favorite sustainable gifts to give or ones you have received? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.