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Eco-Friendly Gifts for the Holidays: Go Green and Give Green

Go Green and Give Green with Eco Friendly Gifts for the holidays

greengiftsWith the holiday season fast approaching, it’s time to start looking for the perfect eco friendly gifts to give all of the special people in your life. When we know we selected just the right gift for our loved ones, it gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling, right? Well – as it was once famously put – we are living in a material world; and sometimes that makes gift-giving stressful and expensive. It may sound a little cheesy and cliché, but oftentimes the gift really is in the giving. This year try bringing back that warm and fuzzy feeling of gift-giving by making it a creative and thoughtful effort. You can be more original (and hopefully less consumptive) by thinking like a green, eco-conscious consumer this holiday season with the help of Sierra Club Green Home. Here are a few tips to help you go green by giving green this holiday season.

Top Tips


  • Make great memories. Buying tickets to the theater, a museum or a concert is a fantastic gift because you’re guaranteed to find something for anyone.  Whether you’re shopping for your artsy bookworm friend or your indie rock ‘n roll buddy, there are so many options for you to choose from.  Depending on where you live and what type of tickets you’re buying, they can become pricey, so you may want to save this type of gift for someone really special.
  • Consumable gifts. Spending money for a product that isn’t going to get any use besides gathering dust in garage is a waste in so many ways.  Selections of organic baked goods, fresh flowers, dried fruit, and organic teas are gifts that are sure to be enjoyed with very little waste.
  • Material gifts. If you have to purchase a material good, just make sure it’s something that will get a lot of use.  Try to stay away from items that are easily disposable or may not be used often.  Just because your sister really likes waffles, doesn’t mean she’s in dire need of a waffle-maker.  If you’re going to spend the money, why not buy something the person really needs?  If you know the person well enough, you might know of something they are thinking of getting themselves, and maybe just haven’t gotten around to it, so beat them to it.  You’ll know your gift will be thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Green Gadgets. This article lists 50 green gadgets that are great gifts for the eco-conscious consumer.  They range from eco-chargers to solar-powered tents!
  • Does not include batteries. Although batteries have greatly improved since they became a household “necessity” in the 1980’s, they still contain harmful chemicals, and still end up in landfills.  If at all possible buy items with either no batteries or rechargeable batteries.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season.  If someone is a “gadget junkie” or have children with lots of battery-operated toys, a rechargeable battery set would be a great green gift in itself.
  • Beware of packaging. When making purchases, look for items that are reusable, use less packaging, and come in recyclable packaging.  It will help cut down the amount of excess trash that is created during the holiday season.
  • Do it yourself. Look through some of the old holiday cards you have received.  If you find a few that you don’t mind parting with, you can make gift tags out of them using these simple steps:
  1. Make sure the back of the card cover is blank.
  2. Rip the card at the crease.
  3. Cut the card to your liking or leave it as it is.
  4. Punch a hole at the top of the card.
  5. Put ribbon through the hole and tie it to your gift bag.

Newspaper comics could make creative wrapping paper as well.  It adds color, originality and gives the person something to read while they wait to open their gift.

  • greengifts2Wrapping it up. Spend the money on the eco-friendly gift not the wrapping!  The holidays shouldn’t be about making tons and tons of trash to be shipped to landfills.  Keep a box in your closet where you can store used wrapping items to reuse for future holidays.  We’re not saying you should open your wrapped goodies with a razorblade and microscope.  Just try to save and reuse old bags and tissue paper that happen to still look new.  It’s not re-gifting to reuse perfectly good paper.

If you don’t have any wrapping material to reuse, look for gift bags that are 100% recycled. Try sticking to bags rather than wrapping paper to make it easier for the person to reuse it later.




…to you

  • Making and putting together your own Christmas items for your loved ones gives each one a personal and unique touch that they will truly appreciate.
  • With the eco-friendly gift bag, you will be giving your friend useful items they can use over and over again, while sending a great message and expressing your own eco-conscious personality.
  • By reusing old cards as tags and used gift bags you can get rid of some of that clutter in your closet.
  • If you buy an item for someone that they use often, you will get the satisfaction of knowing you gave something that is really appreciated.


…to your wallet

  • Reusing or using alternatives to wrapping paper and gift bags will save you money, especially if you have a large family and lots of presents to hand out.
  • Making specialty baked goods for friends and acquaintances instead of buying items may take a little extra time, but it will save you a lot of money on material gifts people may not even want or need.

…to the earth

  • Splurging on items like tickets to a concert produces very little waste (if the event is local).  The packaging consists of no more than an envelope and the tickets themselves.  You’ve given that person an experience they won’t forget with a gift that doesn’t end up in the landfill.
  • Giving eco-friendly gifts like organic teas and dried fruit will limit waste since these gifts are consumed when enjoyed.
  • If you spend a little extra money to buy a high quality item for a good friend or family member that you know they will use often, it will lengthen the time they can enjoy it and lessen the chances of them throwing it out to buy a new one.
  • Reusing gift bags or buying recycled (if you have to purchase) will reduce the amount of new trees that need to be used to make these products as well as limiting waste.
  • Hopefully, this season, your eco-friendly gifts will inspire the receiver to do the same, starting a chain of recyclers eco-conscious consumers.


Further Reading



Pretty in Green

Green Gadgets

9 Responses to “Eco-Friendly Gifts for the Holidays: Go Green and Give Green”

  1. Natalia Says:

    I always save gift bags and tissue. It just seems really silly to throw it away, you only use it to wrap a gift so it shouldn’t matter if it’s reused.

  2. Java23 Says:

    Most people I know, even if they’re not “environmentalists” still save wrapping paper, bags and tissue. It almost seems like you’re TRYING to waste if you don’t. That crap can get expensive, so why wouldn’t you want to save it?

  3. Illy Says:

    My friends know I’m a “greeny” so they expect that their gifts are going to come in some kind of zany, recycled wrapping. And why shouldn’t they, it reflects my personality! I also usually give gives like plants, and people always appreciate them.

  4. Nova Says:

    Great article. Just in time for the “biggest shopping day of the year”. Why get trampled on at retail stores for generic gifts that people won’t even remember you gave them when you can give a truly personal gift?


    I totally agree with the person above, my friends love the green gifts I give them! They’re usually something they wouldn’t think to buy themselves otherwise. And it reflects my personality. I just want to bring awareness to environmental issues any way I can…even in the gifts I give.

  6. Vinnie Says:

    great tips! i lovvvve christmas and now i can feel even better about giving :-)

  7. Janis Says:

    great information. now what I need is a FORWARD TO button so I can pass the information on. I also recommend being able to donate to Sierra Club as a gift “to” someone. This way you get to donate to a cause you believe in and spread the word at the same time. It’s a win win.

  8. Rachel Says:

    My entire family is going green this year whether they like it or not! I’m giving them green bags for Christmas– reusable bags filled with CFL’s, stainless steel waterbottles, organic foods from Whole Foods, draft guards, and sealing tape. They’ll love me by summer ;)

  9. Gigi39 Says:

    Last year I thought I was doing a good thing by sending out recycled holiday cards… they were nice and cute and everyone got the point. This year however, I thought of a better plan: I have a whole bunch of left over cards from years past… I’m using what I have so they aren’t just sitting there and wasting my money! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

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