Keeping green at Christmas doesn’t have to cost more. It can actually save you money, time and stress. Take advantage of all your resources. These include your natural environment, your community and your own personal skills. Here are some ideas on how to keep your gifts green this holiday season.

Recycle and Reuse Wrapping

Pretty packages are part of the look of abundance at Christmas. There’s no reason to scrimp on holiday wrapping when green resources abound. Reuse wrapping from past seasons. Use shelf paper, graph paper, tissue paper and fabric. Tie colorful packages with ribbons or yarn. Add twigs of berries, holly or pine. Even brown paper bags look festive with contrasting texture. Tie your brown paper package with twine. Tuck some dried flowers and grasses under the bow. Add a corrugated cardboard tag.

image public domain

image public domain

Make Your Own Green Gifts

The younger kids will be familiar with crafts projects from school. Let them make presents for everyone out of clay you make yourself. You don’t have to be handy to make a gift that’s special. Herbed salts and sugars are lovely to receive and easy to make. Drop a vanilla bean in a Mason jar of organic sugar. Sprinkle a teaspoon of dried lavender over a few cups of sugar and pour into an airtight glass jar. Fill a lovely recycled bottle with sea salt mixed with your favorite dried herbs. Add a card that lists the ingredients.

Buy Fair Trade Items

Today, many indigenous cultures support their endangered way of life by selling their traditional crafts on the open market. Find them online at sites like Shamans Market. At your local natural foods store, fair trade items are clearly marked. An organic hot chocolate mix with native chilies or a soothing traditional tea blend makes a lovely gift for friends.

Get Gifts That Support Sustainable Causes

Go to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe and look for a cause that strikes your heart. You might matchmake a weaving collective in Zanzibar and your friend the yarn bomber. Most fundraising campaigns offer merchandise for every level of money donated, and donations start small. Get you friend a t-shirt or a signed photo and give her the gift of being involved in someone’s beautiful dream of sustainability.

Create Virtual Gifts

Give a teen a gift card to iTunes or the latest app. How hard is that? It saves packaging and guarantees satisfaction.

Give your friends a promise of service. Whatever it is that they like you for — your awesome kale chips, your great massages, your ability to read astrology charts — give them a card redeemable for just that.

Buy From Local Artisans

Winter farmer’s markets are great places to look for locally produced jams, honeys and chutneys. They’ll also have small batches of cookies and breads. Look into holiday crafts fairs and visit the ones that advertise local craftspeople on site. Often, these are smaller events held in yoga studios or art studios. The artisans will have websites, so you can order online and have the gift delivered.

Pic: Abhasia (Flickr CC)

Pic: Abhasia (Flickr CC)

Give Yourself

Volunteer for a good cause over the holidays. Give yourself and your family the opportunity to make someone else’s holiday brighter. Whether it’s helping to organize a dance at the senior center, getting involved in a building project with Habitat for Humanity or spending time with disabled children, it’s a gift that will give in many surprising ways.

Take the time to be grateful for all you’ve been able to give this year. Enjoy the pleasures of sustainable living, and keep your gifts green this holiday season.

This contribution comes from Gaddy’s Indoor Plant Hire, an environment-friendly company located in Sydney. As a member of the Green Building Council of Australia, GIPH has a focus on providing their customers with sustainable display plants for their offices and events.

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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