Living lightly on Earth and keeping it habitable is the best gift we can give the people we love. Try these green Christmas gift ideas or come up with your own.
Christmas is a season for giving, connecting with people, and having fun. These are also important aspects of environmentalism so why not combine them into a green Christmas. A gift can be an actual thing or it can be an action.
Green gifts for you and planet Earth is not an idea restricted to people who celebrate Christmas. Feel free to insert you own holiday wherever the word Christmas appears. You probably already realized this, but just in case, green gifting is perfect for any season or occasion.
Bring Your Own Bottle
If you have not kicked the bottled water habit yet, take this opportunity to do so. Buy yourself and everyone on your Christmas list a reusable water bottle or water filtering pitcher.
Chill with a Child
Select a book with an environmental or nature theme and read it with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or kids from the neighborhood. The great thing about books is that they are reusable and can be re-gifted indefinitely. If you are not into buying a book, checking out a book at the local library is free and a librarian can help you find just the right book for your kids.
Three of my many favorites are The Lorax, So You Want to Grow a Taco, and Strange Trees: And the Stories Behind Them.
Surely, you know at least one coworker, friend, or family member who would be delighted to receive a home cooked meal she or he can pop in the oven or microwave or just eat after coming home from a hectic day of work, shopping, or volunteering. Give yourself extra credit for providing everything in reusable containers.
Say hi, hello, or happy holidays to people hurrying by you in the store parking lot, to the harried looking clerk at the checkout counter, or to the technical service rep just before he or she transfers you to another department instead of fixing your problem.
There is no downside to showing a little kindness.
Labor of Love
Consider giving the gift or your labor. Installing a low-flow showerhead, squirting caulking around drafty window frames, or spreading wood chips in the garden are all things that someone might appreciate you doing.
If you are mechanically inclined or tech savvy, friends or family members struggling to assemble a gift for someone else or trying to set up a social media account will appreciate you coming to the rescue.
Make Mondays Meatless
You may not realize it but eating meat has a substantial negative impact on the environment and of course on the animals that are raised and killed for their meat. Give yourself, your family, and the planet a gift by eating vegetarian meals on Mondays or any other day of the week you choose.
Second Time Around
The most earth-friendly gift you can give someone is something that is not new. Making any product entails using resources, energy, and creating waste. Using things as long as possible reduces the need for making new products or at least it would if we gave more things a second life.
Granted, a computer from 1998 is probably not a good item to give. A set of vintage mixing bowls, a gently worn flannel shirt, or a slightly used board game (with all the pieces) might be just the thing for your green gift recipient.
As appealing as it might be to use this as a time to get rid of your old stuff, think twice and be mindful of why you are giving what to whom.
Smile at Someone
There is nothing more disarming than a smile and smiling lifts your own mood too. Try it on your stressed out boss who is freaking out about year-end sales, or the airline check-in attendant who just told you only center seats are available for your 4-hour flight, or the harried restaurant server who forgot part of your order.
During the winter, it seems like no matter how high you crank the heat the house never warms up to where you can walk around in a t-shirt. So help your loved ones warm up with gifts like scarves, sweaters, fingerless mittens, shawls, and slippers. I am a fan of throws those small blankets that are around 50” x 70” that you can wrap around your shoulders, tuck over your lap, or even cover yourself up with to take a nap.
Extra credit if the warm up item was previously worn or used or if it is made from a sustainable material like wool.
Walk on the Wild Side
Give yourself a gift by taking a break from your crazy schedule to enjoy a walk in the wilderness. If you can visit a state or national park fantastic, however, a neighborhood park, schoolyard, or your own garden will work, too.
Observe and listen. Getting to know the other living beings in nature besides people is important as we are all on this planet together.
“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” —Dr. Seuss