I had the idea for this posting a while back, when there was still plenty of time to do your holiday shopping. I apologize to those of you who are already done with your shopping, but for those who are not and for those who are starting to plan ahead for next year, here are a bunch of envirnmentally-friendly gift ideas.
- Make a donation in the recipient's name to an organization they support (double bonus if it is also an organization that supports the environment)
- Give the gift of time. Give gift certificates that are redeemable for services such as snow shoveling, gardening, lawn care, house cleaning, etc
- Put together food baskets using organic fruits and veggies, chocolate made from fair-trade cocoa, and locally grown and produced jams and honey. Put it all in a re-usable shopping bag.
- Just about any item that is re-usable that would replace something that the recipient currently is using a disposable version of. Re-usable coffee filters, cloth diapers, and cloth napkins are just a few ideas.
- Solar chargers are now available for things like i-pods, laptops and cell phones. They initially are charged by plugging into the wall, but then they charge themselves from solar power and in turn charge your device.
- A potted plant
- Bamboo items. Bamboo is a quick growing plant that can be cut and re-grown over and over again.
- A membership to the local science museum, art museum, etc.
- A bus or subway pass to promote mass transit
- Make something useful from things you would have otherwise thrown away. See my earlier posts on re-using shopping bags to make plarn for knitting a throw rug or a market bag.
Now for environmentally-friendly gift wrap ideas
- Decorate paper bags with stamps and/or markers and use them as wrapping paper
- Use old newspapers (the comic section works great) and magazines to wrap gifts
- Re-use gift wrap from gifts you have received (if it is wrinkled, try sprinkling it with water and then ironing it)
- Wrap gifts in something else that can be part of the gift, such as dish towels for a college student or woman, baby blankets for a baby, pretty fabric for a crafter/sewer, re-usable shopping bags for anyone who shops, etc
- Check your local Goodwill, similar-type, store for baskets. You have a re-usable item and no gift wrap. You can plan ahead for next year by checking yard sales for baskets during the summer as well.