My favorite kind of green gifts to give are homemade ones. If you’re crafty like me, you could knit a hat or a pair of mittens from organic or sustainably-produced yarn. In some areas, you could even head to a farm or a farmer’s market in your area to find locally-produced yarn products. You could sew a quilt, some pillow cases, or place settings with organic or recycled cotton fabric. Another idea is to make the gift-recipient their favorite meal with ingredients from a farmer’s market, or a set of home-made, natural bath supplies—check out the link below for some great recipes and ideas.
One of my favourite sites for green gifts is the Rainforest Site. In addition to being able to click everyday to help the environment, they have a great “green” gifts section. You can choose from amongst others, recycled, organic, and solar gifts, ranging from journals to jewellery to lawn ornaments. Each gift is also a contribution to preserving more of a chosen rain forest.
A necklace made by female Kenyan artisans, consisting entirely of recycled magazines:
As much as I love the site though, I do feel bad that some of the gifts have to be flown in from other continents (not the best carbon footprint). I think an equally awesome green gift would be something bought from a local artisan or a vintage shop, or a nursery (what’s greener than giving a plant, or planting a tree?).
You could also choose to donate to an environmental charity of your choice in the person’s name (WWF and Defenders of Wildlife are two of my favourites).
I’m often impressed by recycled jewelry. There are tons of purses made out of recycled materials: tire tubes, upholstery, coffee sacks, and more. Anything useful is usually welcome, like vintage dishes or funny coffee mugs. Stores like http://www.sevenplanet.com/ have tons of green gifts to choose from.
If you’re shopping for a child, the World Wildlife Fund has a huge selection of really cute stuffed animals:
You’ll also get a certificate of adoption and other items, depending on how much you donate.
Best of all, your donation is a symbolic “adoption,” and all the money you spend on the purchase goes to conserving that animal in the wild! A great way to really make a difference, as WWF does truly outstanding conservation work.
I do find the the best gifts are the homemade ones but more specifically gifts that go away or bring use. Something I enjoy doing is saving old candle wax and when I feel like I have enough, I melt it all down and pour it into molds. You can use molds like beverage cans (which you can peel away to have a naked candle), other glass containers (like from old candles perhaps? Cheap vases, unmatched glassware when the others have broken etc). You can also use color by adding other colored wax or even old broken crayons. The creative possibilities are endless and you can reinvent products from all over your house.
Something else is to start an herb garden for someone in such a way that it uses post consumer recycled material. Perhaps even pups from your own garden. I did this for a family member who enjoys cooking and the small windowsill garden is still functioning today.
You can also give less tangible things like: a month of Friday-after-work back massages, a promise to make dinner every Tuesday for the next 3 Tuesdays, free pet care/house sitting the next time a vacation comes up, a day’s worth of pitching in around the house/garden…etc. Let your imagination be a gift.
I like to make gift baskets. For instance an Italian basket for someone who loves to cook might include favorite recipe cards, wood utensils and our handmade pasta, fresh organic tomatoes and herbs such as rosemary and thyme from our garden. Or a summer basket of handmade corn tortillas, fresh salsa with organic cilantro, garlic and tomatoes. A house warming gift can include unbleached cotton towels, vegetable based all-natural soaps, lotions, and candles. The link below is to a site with some ideas for childrens green toys.
We are living off grid have been for some six yrs now.We use a tool known as the KILL-A-Watt to track power usage and learn how to reduce it’s consumption..these are a handy quick to use/learn tool that everyone can benifit from & there fun too.
Homemade gifts are great but if you think about it a far better gift would be one that combined all the advantages of being home made with the capacity to really make a difference to people’s lives, less fortunate than others – and still be eco-friendly and bargain priced. Think about handmade Thai silk products
I like to not give things; instead I prefer to give experiences similar to what jacques was saying. Tickets to a show or event, a month membership at a climbing gym, or a donation to an organization such as The Nature Conservancy or Heifer International are great gifts but don’t increase the amount of “stuff” in a person’s life.
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