Great Green Gifts for the Holidays

by Alison Lueders, Great Green Editing

We’re rounding the corner to Christmas. As time ticks down to the big day, you may become more pressed, and less thoughtful, about the gifts you choose. The good news: buying “greener” gifts is easier than ever. You can delight the recipient and do right by the planet by giving items like the following:

Give a "green" gift this year!
Give a “green” gift this year!

1. Home-made food. If you cook, bake, or can delicious organic foods – from cookies to jams – people will gobble up that truly unique gift with a smile.
2. House plants. They are both beautiful to look at and they clean the air. Whether large or small, a house plant can bring a lasting touch of beauty to any space.
3. Soy or beeswax candles. Check twice! Most candles are made of paraffin, a petroleum by-product. When they burn, they produce black soot that pollutes your indoor air. Choose soy or beeswax candles for the same beautiful effect in any room, with NO pollution.
4. Fair trade chocolate. Many major chocolate manufacturers (think Hershey, Godiva, Sees) get their cocoa from Africa, where slave labor is unfortunately common.  Choose Fair Trade chocolates for a delicious gift that doesn’t harm workers.
5. “A book of beloved recipes.” This idea comes from Green America. Whether from friend to friend or generation to generation, it’s a lovely way to keep favorite traditions alive.
6. Reusable drink containers. Make it easy for people to lose their “single-use, plastic bottle” habit by giving them festive mugs or reusable water bottles instead.
7. Pleasant or exciting experiences. This may be a movie, a massage, a boat ride, or a helpful or entertaining app for their phone. The list is endless, and it’s your thoughtfulness in matching the gift to the person that matters most.
8. Time together. A meal, a walk, a hike, a bike ride. In our busy lives, taking time with someone to listen and to share can be the most precious gift you give, by far.
9.  A donation to a favorite charity (or nonprofit). Do it in honor of the person who already has everything. Most organizations will send them a lovely card describing the good that will come of the donation. Click here to give to Sustany®!

Whatever you choose, try to:
10. Buy local. In Tampa Bay, one of the best resources for local green businesses is Going Green Tampa. Hundreds of companies can make your holidays “green” and bright.
11. Go easy on the wrapping paper and ribbons. Some people reuse wrapping paper. For others, a cardboard box with a tag is OK! It’s what’s inside that matters.

The real meaning of the holiday isn’t about “stuff”. It’s about celebrating and strengthening our connections to one another as family, friends, and neighbors. There are many thoughtful and creative ways to do that while still treading lightly on the planet.

Warmest wishes for a joyful holiday season, from The Sustany® Foundation!