The Holiday season seems to start right after you put that last plate away for Thanksgiving dinner. If you are going to spend your green this season, then consider giving environmentally friendly gifts that will lessen your impact on the Earth.
Who knows? These gifts may turn out to be some of the most treasured gifts you have ever given. Here are some of the following suggestions with help from our green friends in the blogshere.
Green America’s Children Gifts
Green America has listed the 10 Green Toys for the Holidays. This year was a disaster for toy companies with the recall of countless toys due to lead paint dangers. Having all boys, I was impressed with one of the listed toy companies, Fair Trade sports balls. Besides being a fair trade company, the Company donates all of its after-tax profits to children charities. Products include footballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, and basketballs. Check out Green America’s other nine listed green toys.
Treehugger’s Everything-Under-the Sun-Gift List
The staff at Treehugger was awful busy creating a list of 180 green gift ideas displayed in 14 separate categories for the different people in your life. Some of the categories include gifts for the epicurean, jet setter, new parents, kids, and DIYers. Each gift has a shade of green designation. Here are some of their suggestions:
- For the person who has everything: a chess set made out of reclaimed materials.
- New Parents: a formaldehyde-free infant car seat cover.
- Kids: Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies’ fuel cell race car that runs on a hydrogen cell
- Male in your life: Hemp Chuck Taylor basketball shoe made by Converse patterned after the old school basketball shoe. (Update: couldn’t find these shoes on the Converse site anymore.)
- Woman in your life: a digital scrap book, a waste-free way of creating beautiful layouts that can be shared online.
Think Charity Gift
Accidental Environmentalist suggests donating to a charity in lieu of a gift. Divine Caroline suggests give back to your country by providing aid and comfort to deployed soldiers and their families through the Soldiers’ Angels program.
Gift of Junk Reduction
Museums are wonderful places to visit.
Perhaps someone on your lists loves art or history. A membership to a museum for the year would be a perfect gift. Check out MuseumLink’s Museum of Museums’ list of US, Canadian, virtual and International museums.
For our nature lovers, National Resource Defense Council has several suggestions. How about buying your special nature lover a pass to the national parks and federal lands. Or perhaps, consider buying them a bird wreath to feed the birds from the Sunflower Farm.
For the gardeners in your life, order a subscription to Organic Gardening magazine. I adore this magazine and I find with every page I learn something valuable.
Speaking of plant, what about a plant gift that helps clean our air in our homes or a perennial plant or bush, for those that can still plant outdoors?
Who does not Love Food?
SierraClub suggests for the food lovers, give them a membership in an organic cooperative. Want a less pricey alternative: a bag of fair trade coffee, organic chocolate, or a reusable lunch kit (such as Laptop Lunches) so they can bring their home cooked meals to work. In the Environmental Defense’s 2007 gift guide, they list sources for organic chocolate. (Check out my review of some organic chocolate companies as well.)
Gift of Your Time
Annie Berthold-Bond of Care 2 suggests giving the gift of time such as baking bread, babysitting for a friend, or creating a photo album as a present. Here are some other suggestions:
- For the workaholics in your life, consider stocking their refrigerators with a week’s worth of home cooked meals.
- Give someone an IOU for you to spend time with them.
- Offer to run errands for the busy people in your life.
- Offer to grocery shop for an elderly person in your life or take lunch to them.
Book and Music Lovers
- Swap your unused books, DVDs, and CDs on Swaptree for others that your recipient may want.
- Purchase a gift certificate to BookSwim.com, a rent a book club that offers different plans for the various types of readers in your life. During the 2007 holiday season, for every gift card purchased at BookSwim.com, the Company will plant through Ecolibris a holiday evergreen tree in various reforestation projects throughout the world.
- Consider buying a gift certificate from iTunes to download songs rather than purchase new CDs.
For the Bling Lovers
Environmental Defense suggests giving your jewelry lover a vintage piece from a jewelry store or eBay. Also consider shopping at Ruby Lane, an online portal for antiques, collectibles, and art.
Whatever you do, try to consume wisely. Try to pick up gifts in one location or close locations to reduce your amount of driving. Look at the packaging of the gift that you are buying. Is it mostly packaged with material that can not be recycled?
Don’t buy to buy. Perhaps ask what your recipients want, their size, etc so they do not need to return it to the store after the holidays.
What about the wrapping paper? Use the funny pages, a pretty pillow case (you can always find them at garage sales), or brown bags. Or a simple ribbon will do. See Linda Ann Nickerson’s article on Helium for other clever ideas.
I probably have hit just the tip of the iceberg in my green gift suggestions. Now, it is your turn.
Join the Conversation
- What are your favorite gift giving suggestions?
- Have any clever giving of time suggestions?
- Do you have any other suggestions on how to consume wisely?