Green Tips and Gift ideas for the holidays


  • Plant a tree in someone’s name from Arbor Day, Nature Conservancy, or Eco-Libris.
  • Make a wish list at a variety of online sites or email it to close friends or family. (rather than give or receive an unwanted gift that will go to waste … or …. see the next item…
  • Re-Gifting is NOT a crime!  If you do not like a gift you receive keep it in the original packaging and give to someone who would like it.  If the gift is valuable, Craigslist is a great way to even make money on the item if you can not return it to the store.  If no one would like it then donate it to the Salvation Army, Goodwill  or other thrift store to give it one more chance before it goes to the landfill.
  • Give the gift of experiences/activities.  Buy tickets for plays, concerts, tours or other fun events such as a play, a symphony, a winery tour,  cooking, art, or dancing classes, or a visit to a  therapeutic specialist ( professional massage is NEVER a bad gift :)
  • Feed and hydrate your loved ones.  Making a pie, baking some cookies, infusing your favorite vodka, or reviving Grandmother’s recipe for those you love is a meaningful and unique gift.
  • Seeds: the gift that will continue to keep on giving.  Heirloom tomatoes and herb seeds are great gifts that will bear fruit well into the future.
  • Honor your loved one with a donation in their name.   Heifer Project gives those in need all around the world animals that will give them a hand up.  American Red Cross, Animal Shelters,Orphanages and Battered Women Shelters are always in need.  Go online and find a reputable charity that will put your money to work helping others.
  • Reuse papers to wrap gifts, regular glossy wrapping paper is not recyclable but newspaper and magazines are…. or try old maps (as a former Map Librarian I still have some old maps I can use and reuse as cool wrapping paper)
  • Be creative with shipping containers and ways of packing the goodies.  Pop corn or balled up newspaper are much better than Styrofoam.  If you have Styrofoam then find a way to reuse it in another package.  While not recyclable Styrofoam peanuts can be brought to any UPS store where they will gladly take it for reuse.
  • Look for fair trade products or items made of recycled materials.
  • Sierra Club has more green Christmas tips, Treehugger has a 2009 gift guide, and the Daily Green has a variety of categories to choose from (such as item under $20, Safe green toys, DIY gifts, etc) or  check out the Green Depot. I personally love Global Girlfriend – not only fair trade items but made by women.

New additions to this post:

  • How about reusing a chip bag for wrapping paper?  After proper washing and drying, flip it inside out and the silver paper could be exciting gift wrap.
  • Reuse old cards for gift tags: cut out parts of cards that would be a nice gift tag (as long as its blank on the back), punch a hole and you hav a gift tag. I also use fronts of old cards to mail as a post card holiday card.  Be creative and make new cards from your old cards too.
  • Try using real ribbon or string that can be reused. Can you make your own bow with that real ribbon?
  • What about cutting up an old shinny curtain or shirt that could make a nice wrap for a gift or  make it into ribbons to wrap your gift?
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