20 Non-Consumerist & Green Gift Giving Ideas
|November 9, 2011||Posted by under Gifts, Green Living, Holidays|
As the holiday season fast approaches and I see people start to max out their credit cards, I’d like to offer some really awesome alternate ideas for gift giving. If you’re running to the stores and buying all kinds of useless material goods for friends and family this season, shame on you. Have you seen the state of the world lately?
There are so many ways to celebrate the season and it’s not by showing affection by purchasing silly useless expensive things. Things clutter, things need to be cleaned, things end up in yard sales…get my drift?
Here is a list of 20 non-consumerist and/or green gifts for your friends and loved ones:
1. Kiva.org Gift Card – Lend money to folks who are trying to make a living or run a business! I recommend donating to a woman entrepreneur in a third world country. You can buy gift cards starting at $25. People can pick who they want to “lend” money to. Very unique gift.
2. CanadaHelps.org (Canada) or JustGive.org (US) Gift Card: Empower your recipient with the choice to pick which charity they want to donate money too! My mom loves these! Just choose how much you want the gift card to be, then the recipient can go look at all the charities and pick one they want to donate the money too. How cool is that? This is a great gift for those on your list who have it all.
3. Fire & Ice Hote Pepper & Ice Wine Jelly – All you need is a local bottle of ice wine, local peppers and you’re set. This stuff will impress the heck out of your friends! Easy to make. Give with a lovely french baguette!
4. A Plant or Seeds- A plant grows, it’s the gift that keeps on giving! I’d recommend a plant which the person can keep indoors in the winter and plant it in the spring. Rose Plants are popular for that purpose. Plants are cool, don’t dismiss them! And seeds are a wonderful gift for a gardener too. Here is where I have purchased some South African Protea seeds for a friend a few years ago: Protea Seeds
5. Save a Rainforest Gift Card - Save a Rainforest!! “When you purchase a Rainforest Rescue gift card you can be assured that your donation will directly contribute to achieving real on-ground conservation outcomes. Our range of Rainforest Gifts help finance our important work to protect and restore rainforests within Australia and overseas.” For the hippie or conservationist on your list, too cool.
6. Plant-A-Tree Gift Card: http://www.treesforachange.com/treecardpacks.html (they will plant a tree for you and you can track it online (US forrests only)) For Canadians, you can use these guys: http://www.treecanada.ca/site/?lang=en&page=shop&action=details&vid=9 . You can also inquire locally at your ecology/green center for this information, there are likely a lot of local companies who plant trees!
7. Basket of Local Goodies: It’s so EASY to put together a basket of local consumables. I’ve seen so many great treats at the farmers market lately! Anything from mini maple syrups to jams, you can fill a basket with local consumables for your friends and family. I make many of my own goods but I do buy locally made things when I can’t do it myself. Visit a local farmers market or independently owned grocery/health food store, they will carry what you need.
8. Donation to IT Schools in Africa: How cool is this? Get the geek in your life to donate her/his computer or do it yourself! Donate an old computer or give some cash for them to buy one (about $110).
9. Biodegradable Sprout Watches: Ok this is a “thing” but it’s biodegradable! So even when you toss it, no junk in the landfill! How cool is this? Only $30 too! Mercury Free Battery. Made of Corn Resin.
10. Entertainment Guide: Just surf to Entertainment.com and grab coupon books for gifts! For under $30 these coupons last an entire year and are for businesses in your area. North American cities only. (If you sign up for Ebates and buy it through there, you will get 17.5% Cash back!)
11. Group Buying Coupons: Get some cleaning or restaurant coupons for everyone on your list! Easy and fast, not to mention cheap! Get up to 90% off. Click HERE for a list of Group Buying coupon websites worldwide.
12. Plane, Train or Bus Gift Cards: Know anyone who loves to travel? Give them a gift card to bus/train or fly it to their chosen destination! ViaRail (Canada) Offers them as well as PeterPan Bus Lines (US). Check your local transportation company, find out if they are selling them!
13. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Membership or Box. Imagine gifting your loved ones with a CSA Box or membership! They can receive weekly boxes of local produce or just send them one! Check your local farmers’ listings for CSA Memberships in your area.
14. Amazon Kindle E-Reader. For as little as $79 you can buy an E-Reader! And with this reader you have access to FREE book rentals once a month! No more storing books and cluttering shelves. This is the best gift for the avid reader on your list. And it’s GREEN!
15. Reworked Recycled Vintage Style Jewelry: The Dotted Loop makes amazing affordable & luxury jewelry from recycled materials! All pieces are one of a kind. Awesome or what? This would be for the fashionista on your list!
16. Tickets to a concert or play: Treat that special someone with a night out to the theater or symphony. What better way to celebrate the season? And these days, going to concerts and plays can be a luxury If you’re giving it to people who have kids, offer a coupon for free babysitting for that night to go along with it. Your gift will be a huge hit!
17. Animal Welfare Gifts: Want to sponsor or “adopt” a wild animal? Perhaps you want to donate $5 for a feeding bucket for horses. Here is a list of amazing animal welfare gifts for the animal lover on your list. Amazing choices and you can spend as little or as much as you want. A physical card is sent to the recipient or you can choose to send an e-card as well.
18. The Salad Garden Kit: For the healthy eater with a green thumb! CSA memberships can be pretty pricy but we all prefer growing our own or getting local instead of buying at the grocery store right? Reduce your loved ones carbon footprint and save them cash with this awesome kit! They’ll love you for it.
19. DIY Recycled Wool Blanket Slippers: Who doesn’t love a pair of cozy slippers? Recycle a wool blanket or get it thrift to make these wicked slippers. I want some! Can anyone sew some for me? Not only will this cost you next to nothing but the receiver will be thrilled. Package them in a nice Organic Cotton Drawstring Bag (which you can stamp yourself)
20. DIY Messenger Bag out of Plastic Bags: Ok, you have to watch this YouTube Tutorial. I can’t sew but if I could I’d make one because it looks like so much fun! A college or high school student would love one of these! And to make it would be practically free. Don’t buy them silly video games, make them a cool green messenger bag!
One more thing: I once read that a family opted to NOT give each other gifts one year and they collectively sponsored a child in a third world country. Amazing. This is the kind of thing I would do if I had children, I would never get silly toys for them but teach them about the world through these kinds of gifts instead.
HAVE ANY OF YOUR OWN IDEAS? WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
And remember, Consumables, “Experience” Gifts (babysitting, concerts, theater, travel…) or DIY recyclable gifts are the best ones to give. Feel good about gift giving this year. If you follow these suggestions, you won’t cry in January when you see your credit card statement & you’ll feel good about helping the earth too.