This year I am planning to have a green(er) holiday season. I’ve brainstormed ideas for green gifts and would like to share some of my favorite ideas with you. Of course, the best green gifts will depend on who you’re shopping for and their tastes and preferences, as well as your budget, but these ideas should get you started.
Homemade Baked Goods
Homemade baked goods are appreciated by everyone and you can prepare yours using organic and/or local ingredients for a tasty eco-friendly gift. Present your baked goods in green packaging; for instance, instead of piling cookies on a paper plate and wrapping them with cling wrap, purchase a pretty glass plate at your favorite thrift store (I can buy plates for a dollar or less at my favorite thrift shop). If you want to avoid the need for cling wrap, buy a pretty cookie tin or a couple of glass canning jars from the thrift shop instead.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
A reusable stainless steel water bottle makes a great gift for anyone you frequently see carrying around a plastic water bottle, whether they typically use disposable plastic bottles or reusable plastic bottles. Not only will it save them money, it’s a more healthful alternative because there are no harmful chemicals in the stainless steel that can leach into the water and it’s possible to clean a stainless steel bottle more thoroughly than a plastic one.
Bento boxes are Japanese-style lunch boxes suitable for people of all ages. If you are picturing the Spiderman lunch box you carried to school as a child, get that image out of your mind because bento boxes are a completely different thing. Sometimes they are made from plastic but you can find some made of other materials, as well. You can purchase a variety of small containers that fit inside a bento box to hold different foods. You can also purchase a variety of fun accessories, such as molds that transform hardboiled eggs into cute animal shapes and decorative picks you can use to make mini kabobs of fresh fruit or cubes of meat and cheese, to make lunch more fun.
Gently Used Clothing, Household Goods and Toys
There is nothing wrong with giving gently used items as holiday gifts and in fact, you may find some unique apparel, jewelry and other things at local thrift stores, including some vintage clothing, at great prices. When shopping thrift stores for holiday gifts, look for items that can be thoroughly cleaned; that means avoiding things like shoes, dry clean only clothing and some children’s toys like stuffed animals. Look for items in good condition, of course, and dress them up by presenting them in a pretty way. Try avoiding the typical use-one-time-and-throw-away wrapping paper and use some green gift wrap alternatives instead. For instance, present a decorative cookie jar filled with homemade organic cookies and simply tied with a ribbon, or present vintage jewelry inside a glass sugar bowl tied with a ribbon.