Do you hate the commercialism associated with Christmas? Would you prefer not to buy mass-produced junk that negatively impacts the environment? Here are some more environmentally friendly and less materialistic options.
Environmentally Friendly Gifts
1. Experiential Gifts
You can provide wonderful experiences by purchasing memberships to local galleries, museums, aquariums, conservancies, science centers, and other places your loved ones enjoy.
2. Fitness Gifts
Do your friends or family members like exercising, or have they expressed an interest in getting fit? Memberships to gyms, pools, skating rinks, martial arts studios, aerobics classes, dance studios, and other fitness-oriented facilities and activities can help them fulfill their New Year’s resolutions.
Many people love audiobooks because they can catch up on their reading while commuting, running errands, or doing housework. Purchasing a membership to an online audiobook club such as Audible lets your recipients choose and download books they’d like to read.
4. Handmade Gifts
Rather than purchasing things that have been plastic-wrapped, shipped over long distances, and sold in overpriced stories, why not make something personal and meaningful or buy gifts from local craftspeople? For inspiration and ideas, check out these photos of handmade gifts on Pinterest.
5. Charitable Donations
Purchasing a charity sponsorship is a great way to support a worthy cause, and many charities provide cards, small stuffed animals, or other little goodies as a thank you, so there is something tangible to give on Christmas day.
6. Gifts for Gardeners
Is there someone in your life who loves to garden? You can purchase attractive bee houses, which not only help endangered bees, but also encourage them to stick around and pollinate the garden for more flowers or a bountiful vegetable harvest. There are also beautiful bird and bat houses available at garden centers and from local craftspeople, and seeds to grow native flowers that attract pollinators are a good option as well.
7. Indoor Herb Gardens
Do you know someone who would love to have a food garden but lacks the space or time for it? A small indoor herb garden is easy to maintain, and there are a wide variety of attractive growing kits available, or you could put together your own kit, choosing planters and herbs you know your recipient will love.
8. Baked Goods
Rather than buying processed treats, bake your own, or create time-saving baking mixes in decorated jars such as this chocolate chip cookie mix.
9. Produce Delivery
There are services that deliver fresh, organic, locally grown produce to your door. Gift certificates for produce delivery support healthy lifestyles and local farmers.
10. Entertainment Gift Cards
Most people welcome gift cards for local theaters, Netflix, concerts, music downloads, or other entertainments.
11. Solar-Powered Toys
Batteries are harmful to the environment, but there are plenty of great solar-powered toys available for kids (and adults who still love toys).
12. The Gift of Time
Time is among the most valuable things you can give another person. Give the gift of time in the form of coupons for services (provided by or paid for by you), such as housecleaning, babysitting, painting, gardening, doing repairs, running errands, or anything else your loved ones need.
General Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Christmas
- Make your own decorations from natural materials gathered outdoors. Collect tree boughs, pine cones, leaves, and flowers to make wreaths and dried flower arrangements.
- Turn food into decor. String popcorn, make decorations using nutshells, or decorate blown eggs (you can use the material blown out of the eggs to make scrambled eggs, so it doesn’t have to be wasted).
- Make decorations from recycled household materials such as paper, cardboard, and last year’s gift wrap and ribbons.
- Use energy-efficient LED Christmas lights.
- Wrap gifts in reusable pieces of fabric or, if you have a talent for crafts, make your own reusable gift bags out of fabric scraps.
- Use recycled paper to make this year’s wrapping paper. Decorating it can be a fun project for the kids.
- If you love arts and crafts, you could try making your own reusable wrapping paper from scratch using recycled paper, dried flowers and leaves, and other natural materials. There are websites and videos online that provide paper-making instructions.
- Purchase a real Christmas tree rather than a fake one. Studies have shown that fake trees are actually more detrimental to the environment than real ones.
For information about the history of Christmas traditions, see the main Christmas page.