We’re all wrapped up in the holidays now. Between planning for holiday gatherings, making your home festive and bright and negotiating all the challenges created with the supply chain issues, you may think it’s just too difficult to find time to remember the environment. But, you don’t have to be a Scrooge to Mother Earth this time of year. Here are a few simple ways to simultaneously deck the halls and give gifts that are also presents for our planet:
The Gift of Time: Why not give friends and family members the gift of your time instead of more stuff that will simply collect dust? Offer to make a friend a home-cooked meal or babysit your sister’s kids one evening so she can go on a date night. Help a friend with their yardwork or wash their car. Make a book filled with redeemable “coupons” and watch your loved one’s face light up when they see all the extra time you’ll be gifting them.
The Gift of Charity: Each of us has a cause (or two) that is near and dear to our hearts. Why not learn which charity tugs at your friend’s heartstrings and make a donation in their name? It’s easy to do online and is a thoughtful way to show your friend or family member that you truly care about them and the causes they believe in. And, don’t forget about Giving Tuesday. This is a great, global movement focused on helping others through the gift of your time, donations, goods or your voice. If they really love a specific organization, give the gift of a membership. Becoming a member at a local zoo, museum, or park will provide fun that lasts far beyond the holiday season.
The Gift of Your Neighborhood: This year, why not shop in your own neighborhood and discover local stores? Perhaps there’s that little corner shop that you’ve been meaning to explore or maybe you can find that gift card you need at your local supermarket instead of driving across town to get it. They may even have things such as fruit baskets, flowers, chocolates, or wine that will surely put a smile on your special someone’s face. By shopping locally, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and lessening the hustle and bustle of the season.
The Gift of An Experience: While gifting the hottest, trending gadget may be exhilarating at the moment, oftentimes, a short while later, we discover ourselves back in the same spot after the thrill fades, looking for the next exciting purchase to keep that feeling going. Perhaps it’s time to begin buying experiences for your loved ones instead of stuff. Gift tickets to a concert or sporting event to create an experience they’ll never forget or take them bowling or indoor climbing for a unique first-time experience. Similarly, spoil that special someone with a class in something they’re interested in. Cooking classes, Master classes, or enrollment in a sports program can provide skills and community that will last far into the future.
The Gift of a Service: Did you know that consumers are responsible for a significant amount of Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions? That’s because consumer products typically require large amounts of energy, water, and materials to produce them. To counteract this, consider giving the gift of service this year. Imagine the look of joy, relief, and gratitude on your aunt’s face when she realizes that you’re paying for someone to clean her house after the holidays. Services require fewer resources than products and are great job-creators as well.
Give the Gift (but remember Mother Earth): We get it…sometimes you just have to give a gift. After all, how many children have placed the “gift” of a clean room on their wish list to Santa? But, when purchasing that gift, please do your best to avoid products with onerous amounts of plastic packaging and please consider presents made of recycled materials and use recycled paper to wrap that gift. Lastly, don’t forget to recycle that sea of wrapping paper in your living room once the holidays are over!
Have other sustainable gift ideas that you’d like to share? Feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.