Holiday Gift Ideas

Green Living Tips:  Holiday  Gift Ideas
By Jen Fontaine

A couple weeks ago, this Green Tips feature mentioned a few gifts that can help the planet while spreading the word on environmental issues;  these included memberships in your favorite environmental group, and ‘adoption’ of an endangered animal (there are many options in both categories).  This week’s goal is to round out that list and offer a few more suggestions. 

The Inhabitat site below offers quite a range of choices; one category that looks promising is the idea of ‘giving’ your time…. If you are handy with some skill, like knitting or photography, you could dedicate a gift of ‘time’ making use of those skills; take a portrait of your friend or favorite family, for instance.  Even easier, with no special skill required: donate an afternoon volunteering for your friend’s favorite community activity; this could be fun, companionable, and good for everyone involved.

As another way to avoid the buildup of holiday-generated ‘stuff,’ you might consider hosting a game party, or treating your friends to movie tickets or enrollment in a craft or art class; or membership in an outdoor club, or a bike tune-up to help them enjoy the spring season when the cold weather lets up. Or consider giving something re-gifted or recycled.  Uncommon Goods or Etsy might be places to explore for ideas.

Many gifts could be useful in preventing food waste (mason jars, glass refrigerator containers, re-usable containers for snacks). If you have a gardener on your list, consider checking out garden supplies, seeds, or attractive garden pots.  Food gifts are always welcome, and home-made ones add a cozy touch to the holiday.  Baked goods, dry soup recipes prettily layered in a nice jar, the possibilities are almost endless.

Finally, search for Fair Trade or sustainable practices in the businesses you shop with; numbers of businesses now promote clothing, jewelry and household goods made by local artisans in places around the globe. There are too many sources to do justice to here (as in the other categories above); but it’s worth citing the Green America site below, which features their organization’s top ten finalists for the Summer 2015 round of Green America’s People & Planet Award (each were cited for specializing in recycling in some way). To name only one example,  the American-based company RocknSocks was repurposing cotton scraps from textile manufacturing to make its products, and was planning to begin recycling their own returned and damaged socks to give them a new life as “sock creature” toys.

The last list is slightly outdated; and some don’t give a clear note of when they were updated, so a word of warning is in order: some links could be hard to access.  But all that I’ve found make interesting reading, and can be inspiring—so happy exploring!

Some sources:

If you have a Green Tip, a story, an idea, a comment or question, please send them to jennfontaine@gmail.com.

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