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The Gift of Sustainability: Environmentally Friendly Gift Ideas for the Holidays

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Stephanie Fader is an expert in the celebrations industry. As Sr. Marketing Manager for Punchbowl, Inc, she writes about celebrations, party planning, and the many benefits of eCards.

The holidays are a time of giving, cheerfulness, and general good will. With all of the holiday feasting and gift-giving, it is important to remain environmentally conscious. After all, the better we treat our planet, the longer it will be around for us to enjoy.

There are a lot of ways to reduce waste during the holiday season. When packaging gifts, you can choose to forego wrapping paper that will be thrown away and opt for reusable bags, boxes, and baskets instead. You can also go Eco-Friendly in that actual gifts you choose to give. They say the best gift is one that keeps on giving, so why not give items that allow your loved ones to make sustainable lifestyle choices? Here are a few ideas.

Tote Bags
Tote bags are great because they can be used for so many purposes: shopping bags, beach bags, storage, purses, and the list goes on. By providing people with re-useable tote bags, you help to minimize the soft plastics they use when grocery shopping while giving them a viable means to transport whatever items they want to whenever they need.

The best part about this gift is that it is easy to personalize. You can buy novelty bags based on the recipients’ interests, or you can make/decorate the bags yourself, depending on the level of craftiness you possess. Making your own means that you can choose the material, and be sure that it is free-trade and sustainable. Another option is to buy plain bags and decorate them with designs you know your friends will love. Dying the bags is simple, and there are myriads of options for designs with the plethora of fabric paints, fringe, beads, rhinestones, iron-on appliques, and accents that craft stores carry.

To-Go Coffee Cups

Many coffee shops and convenience stores have started the practice of letting people provide their own cups for soda, coffee, and other beverages. By using your own cup, you cut down on the waste your daily coffee provides. Some establishments even give you a discount for using your own cup because that is factored into the cost of the drink.

There are a lot of products out there that will make great gifts. From “not-paper” coffee cups to insulated tumblers with straws to thermoses and water bottles, there are a lot of options. The design options are also numerous, and you can even get personalized cups with the name of the recipient. Not only is this a practical and environmentally friendly gift, but it is something they will want to show off to everyone they encounter.

Plants

Plants are so multi-faceted that it is no surprise they are such a common element in homes and offices. Not only do they look nice, but they emit oxygen into the air for us to breathe. They are also thought to add a soothing aspect and personal touch to a room.

Choosing to give plants as gifts also allows you a vast range of creativity. You can choose an in-door plant in a trendy pot, a sapling for them to plant in their yard, a starter window flower box, or even cooking herbs that they can grow themselves! This is a great way to instill a love of gardening into a person and give them gifts that they can nurture and watch grow.

Christmas Greetings

The annual family Christmas greeting card is a great way to show friends and relatives how your family has grown and give updates on what the kids have been up to. By embracing technology, you can embrace this tradition without the usual stack of photo paper, stationary, and envelopes. Upload your Christmas family portrait to your computer and include it in a Christmas eCard to send to your loved ones. You won’t have to worry about the Christmas mail rush slowing down delivery, and you can be sure that the card won’t be lost among all the other cards and gifts that accompany the holidays.

The holidays are a time of celebration and thankfulness. By giving the gift of sustainability, you allow your loved ones to celebrate the planet we live on and reduce the impact they have on the environment. What’s even better is that you are providing them with a useful item that is sure to make them to think of you and smile every time they use it. So think “green” this Christmas and give gifts that truly keep giving.

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