1. Gifts of service require little or no use of natural resources, and are very personal and memorable. They can be gifts from you: A coupon book filled with dog walking, massages, household chores, gardening. This is something that can pay forward as well. Or they can be gift certificates from local businesses like a local hair salon or barber shop, a car wash, or even to a locally-owned restaurant. And of course a professional massage is a terrific gift to get your inner lights aglow.
2. In our world of obesity and gluttony, giving the gift of health can be life-changing. A gift of membership to a locally-owned gym or a monthly membership in an organic food delivery service can transform a person from a couch potato to a healthy and active individual.
3. Giving the gift of an event can be so much fun and the recipient will have memories that hold value for years. For example, tickets to a show or concert can be so wonderful with minimal impact on resources. Sports events, local attractions, rock-climbing centers, and zoo or museum memberships are other examples. Another possibility is to give someone coupons to a car sharing group like carshare.org. One can give a membership to a community garden for those avid gardeners lacking their own space to sow.
4. Let’s look at re-gifting in a new light. If you have received an item that is not to your taste, it is simply “kind” to the environment to pass it on to someone who may cherish it instead of purchasing a “new” item. No energy or resources are expended and I also think we should TELL our recipients about it so this trend becomes the new fad in gifting. Spread the word! Re-gifting is the new black!
5. Let’s try to give more battery-free gifts as we all know that batteries have so many toxins and fill up the landfills. Of course we need batteries for many important items but there are also rechargeable batteries and now there are solar chargers.
6. As always a gift of giving back is fabulous. Make a gift to your child, a time to do community work, as a family together, such as working at Community Food Share or the Community Table. We can teach our children that it is such a good feeling to help others and that feeling outweighs any “thing” they may receive.
7. A family outing to a local new or used bookstore is a fun way to spend time together and teach the joy of reading to your kids.
8. Wrapping paper can be made from many types of paper already in your recycling box. Old magazines, paper grocery bags and even computer paper with a touch of some magic markers can become artistic gifting! Find some old, dried grass outside on a hike and you can tie up the package with a touch of nature.
I’m really determined to give more GREEN gifts this year. It’s my way of taking advantage of a time of year when I spend more money than usual, so at least I can make sure that I’m conserving resources in some way and supporting local businesses. How about you?