In my opinion Christmas gift giving has become insane! For the most part people overspend money they don’t have to buy things that people don’t really need. Don’t get me wrong, I think giving a gift or two is fun and exciting, especially if you’ve made it yourself. But it has just gone too far commercially and there is too much pressure to spend, spend, spend. Even if you aren’t crafty enough to make your own gifts, you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to give a wonderful gift.
First we need to rethink our gift giving and look for gifts that:
• Are non-material objects
• Use natural resources in a sustainable fashion
• Have an extended shelf life
Here are some common gifts from some common gift categories that I consider to be eco-friendly:
Basically anything made from organic cotton, bamboo, hemp or recycled fleece would do. T-shirts, PJs, sweaters, long-johns, hats all come in these eco-friendly materials, you just have to source them.
Recycle all your old wax and make some cool custom candles for your friends and family for gifts. Or if you don’t have any spare wax lying around to recycle then you can purchase some beeswax candles with all cotton wicks or rustic pebble candles. Just be sure to avoid conventional fossil fuel based candles.
Avoid the plastics, which I know really narrows down your choices, but there are still the staples, the toys we grew up on as kids before all the G.I. Joe’s and a million different Barbie dolls. I’m talking about hardwood blocks and building sets. If you are handy enough you can make these yourself from scrap wood around the house, otherwise you can get FSC-certified blocks. Or art supply sets, books, a membership to the museum or local aquarium. Basically anything that doesn’t require batteries to run it.
Sweets and Wine
This one is an easy one, to make the switch to a more eco-friendly stocking just be sure to buy organic or fair-trade when it comes to your treats like chocolate or coffee beans. You can source out organic vineyards for your wine choices as well. If you have the time be sure to do a little deeper analysis of the companies you are choosing to buy from; just because it says “organic” on the package doesn’t always mean they are using all the best green practices rather just trying to jump on the organic band wagon.