The holidays are coming up, and 25% more trash is generated during the holidays. To reduce this waste, choose gifts wisely, and wrap with reusable wraps. Teaching kids to choose gifts wisely inspires them to be less materialistic. Here are some gift ideas to please both your loved one and the planet!
Consider giving to a charity. Keep your recipient’s interests in mind, and give to something they’re passionate about. This month’s Vegetarian Times highlights Dress for Success, which helps low-income people find professional attire for interviews; American Rivers, to protect and restore rivers; Farm Sanctuary, which rescues farms animals to fight factory farming and prevent animal abuse; and CARE to empower women to overcome poverty. Visit a charity watchdog to make sure your gift is used wisely: Caritynavigator.org, Charitywatch.org, Give.org, and changingthepresent.org.
Give special food or drink. Maybe your loved one likes tea, or special hot chocolate. Consider introducing them to Fair Trade certified chocolate or coffee. Or give a gift certificate to a special restaurant they wouldn’t normally treat themselves to. Top it off with a night on the town – treat them to an experience, such as a play or a sporting event they enjoy.
Renewables are the gift that keeps on giving. Give some personally decorated canvas shopping bags, or a bag with some markers for them to decorate themselves. A reusable water bottle is a great way to cut the bottled water habit, which will save your friend money and help their health at the same time. What a gift! Tupperware (etc) is great to reduce plastic bags. Or, find a cool lunch box, which reduces the need for a paper bag every day.
Sponsor their favorite animal through your local zoo (or theirs), or through organizations like the World Wildlife Fund. Or give to their local Humane Society, if they like pets.
Reuse gifts by shopping throughout the year at yard sales or reuse shops. You can often find designer fashions for a fraction of the cost. Or make your own. Learn to knit, crochet, or make jewelry or sock monsters and make your own gifts, which will save you money and add a special personal touch to your gift.
The idea is to take the environment into consideration. Have fun with some new ideas to reduce your impact, and remember to think about your wrapping, too. (more on wrapping later)