Eco Gifts and Eco Gift Ideas

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eco Gifts and Eco Gift Ideas

* Ideas: Offer/ask for gifts that don't involve buying anything. For example, time together, a back rub, babysitting, offer to teach something you know how to do, donation to charity, seeds from your garden, tickets to an event (musical, lecture series, play, concert, etc.), nontoxic house cleaning service, gift certificates for spas, music downloads, movie downloads, etc. More ideas at: 25 Great, Consumer-Less Gift Ideas.
* Other Eco Gift Ideas:
o Consider purchasing gifts from companies focused on providing products which use renewable energy sources (i.e., solar powered radio or outdoor lighting).
o Eco-Artware promotes gifts made from reused and natural materials.
o Shop for gifts at antique stores, estate sales or flea markets.
o Create environmentally friendly gift baskets filled with sustainable gift items (e.g., compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs, plastic bag dryer, organic cotton socks/scarfs/hats/etc., showerhead with mist setting for lowest flow showers, organic and/or vegan snack items, organic cotton towels, shade grown coffee, fair trade gifts, solar battery charger, solar radio/flashlight, a variety of nontoxic and biodegradeable cleaning products or a nontoxic cleaning kit, etc.)
* Gifts that Give Back:
o Ask for/give the gift that keeps on growing -- a tree!.
o Make it a Fair Trade Holiday! Buy gifts through Online Fair Trade Shops.
o Give alternative charity gifts (check out the great online alternative gifts at the bottom of the page). Another resource: Charity Christmas Gifts.
o Feed a child in honour of someone you love and post their photo on the Wall Against Hunger (World Food Programme).
o Give the gift of a Mosquito Net to save someone from Malaria.
o Give Fair Trade Gifts that:
+ Fund food for the hungry
+ Fund free mammograms
+ Help underprivileged children survive and thrive
+ Help provide books to underprivileged children
+ Help preserve endangered forests
+ Help feed animals in need
o Give Gifts that Give More
o If you are a school teacher, consider asking your students to bring in items that can be donated to a local charity that is distributing holiday gifts for underprivileged children.
* Find Gifts: Green Pages Online and the List of Alternative Gift Fairs in the U.S. can help you locate great gifts.
* Light Up with LEDs: If you are installing Christmas lights, consider purchasing more energy efficient Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs). They have an average life span of 100,000 hours (vs. 1,500) and reduce energy consumption by up to 80-90%.
* Gift Giving Policy: If you have a big family/lots of friends, come up with a plan to reduce the overall number of gifts given. One way is to randomly assign to each person only one other family member/friend to buy an eco gift for. Another (fun) example is for each person to buy and wrap one nice eco gift and then hold a party where everyone takes turns selecting their gift from the unselected (and already selected) gifts.
* Gift Exemption Voucher: For someone you no longer want to exchange gifts with, print out and send them the Gift Exemption Voucher.

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