With the holidays just around the corner many of us are searching for the perfect gift ideas. This year try to avoid the awkward smile and uneasy interactions after receiving or giving a gift that sucks! By being more mindful of the impact of your gifts will have, you will not only dodge uncomfortable situations but will also be friendlier to the health our planet and oceans. Here are a few important things to remember this gift giving season:
1) Buy less: It is not just the thought that counts! Think about it…Wouldn’t you rather receive something like a meaningful card or a donation in your name to your favorite nonprofit than a gift that you hate but have to pretend to love!?!? This season make a pact with your friends and family to cut out the ‘thoughtful’ gifts and only buy each other things that are useful and necessary. You can also arrange gift exchange where each one only buys a gift for one other designated person. By reducing the number of gifts bought you are not only saving money but also reducing the amount of waste you are putting out (think of all the plastic packing on most items these days!).
2) Keep it close to home: Buying locally made goods are a great why of supporting your local economy as well as keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum. You will get extra brownie points from the green gods by purchasing local goods made from recycled material.
3) Recycle: Why let that ill suited gift sit in your closet any longer?! After all ‘one person’s trash is another one’s treasure’! There is nothing wrong with re-gifting something to someone who will get better use out of it. Its a win win situation; you get to reclaim your closet space, spend less money and give someone something they will actually use!
4) Make it last: In this day and age many products are designed to break down or become obsolete within a relatively short period of time. It is, therefore, important and more environmentally sound to choose gifts that are not only durable but will remain practical for a substantial amount of time.
5) Give back to the planet: Many companies and organizations are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to give back to mother earth. Why not give a gift that is not only practical but also helps improve the health of our planet and oceans. This year the Sea•thos foundation is offering a limited holiday special on our environmentally friendly tote bag + Lifefactory water bottles. Other gift ideas are bus passes, bicycles and donations to environmental organizations.
6) Holiday wrap: Avoid the metallic and shiny wrapping paper! It is not only tacky but also non-recyclable. Try to re-use wrapping paper, ribbons and bows whenever possible. There are some companies that now make eco-friendly wrapping paper from fibers such as hemp. Fabric scrapes, newspaper, old calendars, maps or poster are creative and alternative materials that can be used as wrapping paper.
7) Make your own cards: Making your own cards not only adds a personal touch but is also much more earth friendly. Get the kids involved and make an afternoon out of it!