It’s that time of year again to really get serious about eco friendly gifts. It’s not easy to keep gifts environmentally friendly, as the biggest rule of all is that you shouldn’t be buying unnecessary things. Still, you can find some really great gifts that shouldn’t be all that hard on the environment, and will be appreciated even by the folks on your list who aren’t interested in going green.
Nuts can be a very healthy snack, and it’s not that hard to find organic ones. Make sure you know there aren’t any allergy issues to consider, of course. They can even be part of a really nice looking gift basket.
Flannel sheets are a great way to keep the nights warm. They’re a nice bit of practical luxury, especially for cold winter nights.
Know someone who’s ready for a new purse? A fair trade handbag may be the perfect gift. Not only are they practical, they can make a great style statement.
You don’t have to feel as though all the eco friendly clothes are for women. There are some great designs out there for the men in your life.
For the person in your life who just loves to cook with mushrooms. It’s a very simple kit to start growing mushrooms inside your home. You can find a variety of kits, such as pearl oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushroom kit and others.
Some yoga gear manufacturers make the effort to keep their products kind to the environment. Yoga itself is a good form of exercise, and only requires a little gear. A yoga mat or other helpful gear is a nice present for someone thinking of taking it up.
The great thing about bamboo is that it grows quickly. It can make some cute toys too. There can of course still be some question about how the bamboo is grown and processed, but there are some pretty great toys which can be made from cut up bamboo that has been dyed or painted.
One of the best ways to green up your Christmas gift giving is to give time rather than things. This works for many of the people in your life.
Time for the Kids
It’s easy to let day to day life mess with the time you have available for your children. Make a part of your gift to them be some special times together, doing something they love to do or share one of your interests.
Camping trips can be good for helping kids to really appreciate nature, for example. Winter’s not the best time in many areas perhaps, but it’s not too early to start thinking about where you’d like to go. Even just heading out to a local campground can be an adventure if you don’t camp a lot.
Hiking is another good choice that is rather less time consuming. Find a beautiful, natural place in your area and start hiking. It’s a great time to talk with your kids too.
You can also plan activities around the home. Do a craft, build something together, play a game, just talk.
Time for Your Parents
If your parents are still alive, and reasonably accessible to you, make the most of it. You can give them time with you to just talk, or you can help them with running errands. You can even combine time with your parents with time with your kids and go camping or hiking as an extended family.
Time for Your Friends
If your friends have young children, giving them the gift of time can take the form of offering babysitting for their kids. What parents don’t appreciate the chance to get out without the kids for a bit?
Just Remember… It’s Not All About THINGS
Giving the gift of time is a great way to remind yourself and the people you love that there’s so much more you can give one another than just things. Clutter.
The gift of time can have so much more meaning than almost any other gift you can give.
Happy almost Mother’s Day to all my fellow moms out there. Here’s to a happy, fun day with your family.
Our tradition has always been a fairly simple gift for Mother’s Day. It’s not like I have a ton of material needs that aren’t being met, after all. I love the look of jewelry certainly, but I don’t particularly need or want more of it. I spent 6 years working in a jewelry store, after all. My husband figures he’s pretty lucky to be off the hook in that area.
So far, he’s just picked up some plants for the garden. That’s good enough for me.
The real trick to the day is keeping it from being too hectic. We each have our own mother to deal with, after all.
On his side of the family is the traditional get together at the bay for a picnic. Frankly I’ve always found that to be a lot more work than other ideas, but such is life. The kids love it since that means they get to play with cousins they rarely see otherwise. This is an extended family gathering, meaning any degree of relation is likely to show up, and that my side is welcome too if they’re in the mood to come over.
Then we go see my side of the family. Fortunately, going to the bay brings us close to my mother’s house anyhow, assuming she didn’t show up at the picnic herself.
It’s so nice that both sides of our family is into simple gifts these days. The main gift is considered to be simply getting together.
It’s a wonderful gift. Fairly green when family is local, and very meaningful.
I love it when my kids pick something green out to give to someone. We try so hard to avoid an excess of plastic junk, and it’s great to see it rubbing off on my kids.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. I took the kids shopping to figure out what they wanted to get him. They of course first looked through the toys… we’re talking about kids, after all. But they couldn’t think of anything that Daddy didn’t have already that they thought he would like.
So we went to the garden center.
The kids weren’t too certain, until they came upon the strawberry plants. That did it! They each picked one out for him.
Then we passed some grape vines. Once again, they couldn’t resist.
I just love that the strawberries are in the peat pots so that we don’t have to figure out what to do with the pots once the strawberries are planted. We have too many of those already. I know my daughter is eying them for crafts, but we do not need more.
No, we didn’t wrap them. I rarely wrap birthday gifts for grown up family members. It’s really just not that necessary. They’ll be surprised one way or another. If I must, a gift bag from our reuse stash will do the job.
It’s almost Christmas, but there’s still time to find gifts for those you care about. My favorite kind of gift to give combines green with practicality. It’s not always an easy combination, but finding it can be great.
You have to know, of course, what will be welcome. Giving CFLs is green and practical, but not everyone is going to appreciate being given light bulbs, no matter how much money they’ll be saving.
Reusable shopping bags can work. Interest in these has been increasing as cities look at banning or having stores charge for plastic bags.
A composter can be a great gift for the gardener in your life. You can find models that will work indoors or out, depending on the space available. It’s really amazing how much food waste happens just incidentally, as well as from failing to use food up soon enough. Seeds from Seed Savers would be another good idea.
Cloth diapers can be a great help to the expectant mother… says the expectant mother. If you know the type she wants, so much the better. You could also make some cloth wipes at home and include a recipe to soak or spray them in for use on baby’s bottom.
And of course, many of the ideas I gave in my post on Green Gift Ideas to Give to the Non-Green will work just as well for the enthusiastically green.
The most important key here is to think about what is needed. So many people have much more than they need, but you can probably find something practical and green, rather than something that will sit about, unused. Give it some thought and try not to rush into something just because you need to buy SOMETHING. Think about books you can give, gifts of time and other such things. Sustainablog has a great post on holiday gifts that keep on giving.