Written by: Joanna Birns

Have your holiday presents been wrapped in your closet since Halloween? Or are you waiting for some last-minute, Black Friday deal to find that perfect present? Either way, we want to help you give the gift of green this holiday season. From shopping to wrapping, here are some great sustainability tips on how to keep your holiday shopping as green as a Christmas tree. 

  1. Shop and buy local: An easy way to practice sustainability this holiday season is to shop and buy your presents locally. When you shop locally you cut down on transportation emissions, and you support small businesses and communities. Take a stroll around your closest shopping area, farmers’ market, or downtown to see what cool gifts you can find.
  2. Quality over quantity: The holidays tend to generate a TON of wasted resources from unwanted presents (think: the itchy wool socks Grandma gets you every year for Christmas even though you live in San Diego….). Try to avoid giving the fall-back gift of a scented candle and opt for something more useful if you can, like a reusable tote bag or a set of metal straws. If you’re shopping for children, look for higher quality toys that can weather crayons, food, and be tossed around like a football.
  3. Give memberships or an experience!: Cut down on your gift-giving carbon footprint by giving the gift of a membership or an experience! Rather than an actual item, non-tangible presents often require less water and emissions to produce and deliver. Try searching for fun events or classes in your area. If you’re buying a gift for a close family member, cooking classes are the gift that keeps on giving. Who doesn’t love eating homemade pasta?!
  4. Consider pre-loved items: If Macklemore has taught us anything, it’s that second-hand is far from second-best. Head to your local thrift store — you never know what fun and unique items you’ll find. Gifting a pre-loved item not only saves the resources required to obtain and ship a new present, but it gives new life to an “old” gift.
  5. Get creative with the wrapping: When we think of presents, we picture bright wrapping paper, colorful tissue paper, and big, shiny bows. But a lot of gift wrap can’t be recycled or reused. When wrapping your presents this year, think of the tree. Try reusing gift boxes, bags, or ribbons that you’ve saved from years past. Look around your home for inspiration: old newspapers, paper bags, pillowcases, or pretty glass containers all make for gorgeous and rustic looking gifts. And when you are unwrapping your 10th pair of socks (thank you Grandma), try to recycle as much of the gift wrapping as possible, or save the bags, bows, and boxes to reuse for next year.

Holiday shopping can be tough, but keeping your gift-giving green doesn’t have to be. As we always say, small changes make a big difference. Happy holidays, and happy shopping!