Green tip for week #31 — Week of November 30, 2008

Green gift-giving for the holidays

As we approach the holiday season and you are getting into the spirit of gift shopping and gift-giving, make sure to think creatively.  Not only can your gift-giving creativity make for unique, unusual, and memorable gifts, but you can use this as another opportunity to make environmentally responsible choices.

For example, you could give someone who you know enjoys the outdoors a sleeping bag or tent to encourage them to get into camping; you could give a solar charger or solar flashlight to someone who likes unique gadgets; or you could give a contribution to a charity to someone who “has it all” to cut out having to buy a material gift and give the gift that pays it forward.

In a consumer society it is hard to think through what gifts might be more environmentally responsible, but obviously wood toys for kids are a good idea (check out natural wood kids toys at ChildTrek.com), and anything that does not require batteries or electricity for kids or adults means less energy drain.  For clothing options, try to choose from environmentally responsible materials, like organic cotton (See MissionPlayground.com), bamboo, and the like.  If possible, reuse wrapping or make something creative using paper from old newspapers, magazines, or paper shopping bags.

Some sites cater to the “green gift” niche or have some good ideas to explore.  Check out OrganicToybox.com for kids gifts; Treehugger.com’s gift guide; or look into the possibility of supporting nature or conservation programs by giving gift memberships for organizations such as The Nature Conservancy or the Sierra Club to people who will appreciate them.

Most importantly, at Christmas and during the holiday seasons remember that being responsible and kind to each other, and to the environment, are a couple of the best gifts that can be given.

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