Giving is the gift that keeps on, well, giving! No matter if it’s a very special holiday or celebration or you just want to give someone a special something, giving a heartfelt present makes you and the one you’re giving to feel absolutely ecstatic.
What would make our gift-giving for the holidays even more special than usual is if we made an effort to be as sustainable as possible. Turns out, as much as we love the art of gifting, it’s extremely wasteful. Bows, bags, and other holiday materials add 1 million tons of trash to landfills each week. Producing and shipping gifts also results in the emission of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. The thing is that the giving doesn’t stop after the new year—we still have birthdays, anniversaries, and a slew of other holidays that add to this growing problem.
We’ve created a sustainable gift guide below to help make it easier for you to make someone’s day without hurting the environment.
How To Make The Entire Process As Green As Possible
Buying or crafting an eco-friendly gift isn’t the only way to be more sustainable during the holidays or any time of the year. Just think about the entire gift-giving experience—from shopping to wrapping to proper disposal. You’ll need to take all of these into consideration to reduce your carbon footprint even further.
To execute this flawlessly, there are two things you have to remember:
Keep Packaging and Waste at a Minimum
So you might have gotten the most environmentally-friendly present for your friend or your special someone. But if you’re going to wrap it in cellophane and add a colorful bow and maybe even a balloon to go with it, wouldn’t that just defeat the purpose of your gift?
Sure, the one receiving the gift will appreciate its beauty for a few seconds, but after that, they’ll just throw it all in the trash. Packaging that cannot be reused or recycled will only end up in landfills.
Look for materials that can be utilized by your recipient again and again, such as reusable fabric wraps. If this is not an option, it’s important to learn how to recycle even the packaging. For example, if you’re using Styrofoam to cushion and protect the item you’re gifting, find ways to upcycle the styrofoam and reuse it.
The bottom line is to utilize as little non-renewable filler, packaging, or decorative materials as possible to reduce waste.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to gift-giving, it would be so much better to just stick to the old adage: “less is more.” Keeping your gifts as simple as possible will make them feel more genuine. Avoid all those filler trinkets like gag gifts and cheaply produced plastic toys. These are only meant to be appreciated for a few minutes before being tossed away.
Instead, look for meaningful and long-lasting gifts that are created by a local small business that employs sustainable practices.
Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Gift Ideas
If we’re talking about some of the most sustainable gifts you can give, pre-loved items definitely take the cake. Everything from clothing and jewelry to furniture and home goods can now be purchased from several sources, including vintage and second-hand stores, as well as internet resellers that sell even high-end items. Opt for these instead of something brand new.
Nothing beats a gift that you made yourself. How about something delicious made from organic and locally-sourced ingredients? If you’re into arts and crafts, why not knit or crochet a scarf or some mittens to keep your loved ones warm?
Good at creating soaps made with essential oils and natural ingredients? Your friends and family members who love scents will appreciate you giving them a piece of your unique craft!
If you have gifts lying around that you have not used, now’s the perfect time to upcycle or re-gift them.
Gifts That Encourage A More Sustainable Lifestyle
How about influencing your loved ones to start a greener lifestyle with gifts designed to encourage more eco-friendly habits? There are a plethora of indoor herb garden starter kits or mushroom grow kits on the market right now, and they’re always a good place to start.
Another favorite is a reusable on-the-go kit that has reusable water bottles, utensils, and drinking straws, among other things. If your recipient loves to be in style, why not give them a cute reusable grocery bag?
Your gift doesn’t always have to be something tangible. If your recipient is someone who loves trying out new experiences, why not give them access to theater shows, escape rooms, concerts, or masterclasses? If they love going to parks and museums, an annual pass will definitely make their entire year. To make these activities even better and more memorable, you can come along with them so that you’ll be able to spend quality time together.
If their love language is acts of service and kindness, it would be nice to do some tasks or chores for them, such as yard work, grocery shopping, baby sitting, laundry, house cleaning, or cooking.
Gift certificates are also one of those things that will always be appreciated, but instead of big businesses, focus on local shops and restaurants instead. If possible, make it waste-free by giving them a digital gift card. Speaking of digital, you can also give out digital subscriptions for apps that will fill their minds, bodies, and souls.
Making The Planet Smile, One Sustainable Gift At A Time
Sustainability is not just a trend anymore—it never was. It’s a way of living and it’s something that we should all consider, no matter what activity we’re doing. This includes gift-giving during holidays, birthdays, graduations, weddings, and all of the events in between. Being a little more mindful about our gifts is the best present we can give to our planet.
For more awesome gifting ideas, check out Creative Gifts’ gift guide for corporate giving, wedding gifts, and more!