Reducing / Reusing

Green Giving: 8 Gift Ideas For Giving Less Stuff

Kathleen Rocco

The best gift is the one that the other person actually wants.  Not only will it bring joy for both parties involved, but (most likely) it will not end up as waste.  If you do not have a wish list to choose from and you want to keep your environmental impact low, then practice green gift-giving.

Make crafts.

Making your own gifts may take more time, but it can make less waste. As a kid, I remember making crafts and gifts for my parents and grandparents. Now, I create sprays and lotions with essential oils for others.  Try using leftover supplies or odd items to create upcycled craft projects. There are many ideas on Pinterest. For other creative designs, visit the Upcycle Parts Shop.

Prepare meals.

Homemade gifts of prepared meals, snack items and spice packets are good options.

Design and prepare home goods.

Try your hand at making candles, jewelry, soap, bubble bath, personalized glassware or mugs. You can also make headbands, hair clips, pillows, vases and seed packets. Many ideas are available at www.instructables.com

Give organic gifts, or a gift that creates organics.

Help your family or friends get started with backyard composting. Purchase a backyard compost bin and offer to teach them how it works.

Gift an experience.

Look for local services that provide knowledge, skills or just plain fun. Ideas include cooking, art or yoga classes.  Adventure-based experiences will get people out of the house, so consider rock climbing, kayaking, golf, sky diving or a boat ride. Take a trip on the Cleveland Brew Bus or Lolly the Trolley. Families with young children may enjoy a winter experience like sledding, ice skating and cross country skiing.

Give a gift certificate.

A wide variety of gift certificates are available. You can give them for a movie, sporting event, concert or for travel. Pre-pay a membership to a museum, gym, zoo, botanical garden, amusement park, ski resort or local theater and the lucky recipient can enjoy the gift for an entire year.

Gift a subscription.

Subscriptions to magazines were common years ago, but now you can consider a streaming service, wine or beer club, farm-to-table food service or meal delivery. Check with local breweries, distilleries or wineries to see if they offer a gift subscription for seasonal beverages.

Try giving a gift of time or skill.

Offer to help someone with party planning, baking, babysitting, a repair, house cleaning, pet sitting or window washing. Take their car for an oil change or detailing service. Do you have a special skill or training? I give massages as gifts to friends and family because I am also a Licensed Massage Therapist.

Every year, my niece and nephew have a wish list. I’ve raised my aunt status by actually giving them some of the items on their lists. But, we spend lots of time playing together with the new toys which means I also give them a gift of my time which is valued even more.

When you give a thoughtful gift and encourage that in return, you’re giving items that aren’t just about getting more stuff. Show that you care for others by listening and paying attention to understand what’s most important this holiday season.

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