Ahh the holiday season—the time of crisp evenings, decorated houses, spreading joy, counting our blessings, embracing our loved ones, and lots and lots of trash. Yes, you read that right. The holidays are notoriously known for creating absurd amounts of waste. In fact, Americans throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve than they do the rest of the year. Not to mention, all of the emissions that are released into our atmosphere from flights and food waste. Overwhelming, right? The holidays can become extremely stressful and frustrating for the environmentally conscious but fear not! We have the perfect way to offset those negative environmental impacts and make everyone on your list smile from ear to ear: eco-friendly gift giving. Not only will this reduce the amount of waste produced, but it will also save you money! So, take a deep breath, sit back, and relax because we’ve got your back with our easy to use Eco-Gift Guide.
Our handy dandy gift guide is broken up into two easy to use sections:
- Eco-gift giving
- Eco-gift wrapping
Eco Gift Giving
Attempting to find gifts for everyone on your list is hard enough. Now, add in the factor of sustainability and it becomes even harder. Right? Wrong. This easy to use gift-guide has sustainable options for everyone in your life--even the ones who seem to have it all. Let’s get started!
1. E-Gift Card
What do you get someone who seems to have everything? An e-gift card to their favorite store (preferably a sustainable company if you can swing it). E-gift cards show how much you love the person while allowing them to choose what they want. This way, they do not become part of the 35% of Americans that have an unused Christmas gift collecting dust in their closet. You do not create waste and they get what they want--everyone wins!
Do you have salt or sugar and coconut oil at home? It just takes those two simple ingredients (plus an essential oil of your choice if you want to get fancy) to create a homemade face/body scrub. Buy a small reusable container from your local second-hand store, or use one you already have, and voila! You have a present! No waste is created, and you have just created a thoughtful and sustainable present for your loved ones.
3. Support Sustainable Companies
Not into arts and crafts or DIY’s? No worries. We’ve got you covered. There are plenty of sustainable companies that would love your support this holiday season. Ordering from a company that aligns with your sustainability and environmental values is a great way to use your voice as a consumer. Choosing to buy from sustainable and eco-friendly brands shows the world that you demand better support for our environment and you refuse to support companies that are not willing to comply. There are tons of wonderful sustainable companies out there. Educated Earthling is a proud supporter of Mother Earth and practices sustainability in all aspects of our business.
What better way to fight unwanted carbon emissions than to gift someone a plant that literally inhales their carbon-dioxide and exhales more oxygen into the world?! Plants are a wonderful gift at any time of year. Either take a trimming from your own plant and plant it for them (saving you money) or buy them a new plant baby! When buying a plant, take into account who is receiving it and where they live. If you know your friend does not have a green thumb or lives somewhere that does not get a lot of sunlight, try to buy a plant that is easy to take care of such as a succulent. They still take in carbon dioxide, are easy to care for, and are trendy trendy trendy!
Is your friend/loved one not interested in being a plant parent?
Maybe someone on your list is not interested in material things. Instead, why not buy them tickets to a concert, plan an amazing date night, go skydiving, gift a massage, or purchase a membership to the gym they have been dying to join. Buying someone an experience is a gift that keeps on giving--and to you too if you choose to accompany them on the adventure! There are so many amazing experiences just waiting to be gifted to everyone on your list. Whether that be your friends, siblings, parents, kids, or pets. There is something for everyone!
Does that special someone on your list have an organization or cause they are extremely passionate about? Perhaps they are fundraising for a charity, advocating for a cause, supporting research for a cure, or currently fighting a tough battle. If so, donating to a foundation, event, or research center in their name could be an extremely meaningful and supportive gift. It not only progresses their efforts forward, but spreads hope in dark times.
At Educated Earthling, we donate 10% of our net profits to Earth Force--a non-profit that engages young people as active citizens by teaching them the skills, knowledge, and motivation to solve tough Environmental issues in their communities and beyond. By purchasing one of our products, you are not only supporting Mother Earth but you are also supporting the amazing efforts of Earth Force. To learn more click here: https://educatedearthling.com/pages/our-donation
The saying goes, “the greatest gift you can give someone is the purity of your attention.” For all my Friends fanatics out there, maybe you know someone who, like Rachel when she mistook a breast pump for a baby bong, is feeling overwhelmed and needs some support for a couple weeks; or maybe your family members are planning on moving and could use a couple more cars or hands for a weekend; or perhaps you are a master at a certain skill and you know your loved one has been wanting you to mentor them. Whatever it is, giving the gift of your time and effort is a wonderful and extremely thoughtful gift. Not only is it sustainable, but it is greatly appreciated and often needed more than a material gift.
8. Buy Used
After all is said and done, if you know your loved one has a very specific gift in mind, try searching for it used before buying it brand new. There are so many amazing products online or in store that are practically brand new, in great condition, and could use a new loving home. I know there are stigmas around buying used items. People claim that purchasing second-hand products is only for people who are not financially stable. They say it is gross or it is cheap and if you have the money you should buy something full price and brand new. Here is what I have to say to that: whether you have $50 in your savings account or $5,000,000 in your savings account, buying second-hand is for you. Purchasing something that is pre-loved is not only a way to find something at a discounted price, but a way to support the environment, and keep high quality goods from going to the landfill. Often times, products that are listed as second-hand are brand new, still have tags, and are waiting to be used. Does that mean they are any less worthy of being given as a gift? Absolutely not. So, forget about the false stigmas and support the environment and your local second-hand store/seller this holiday season.
Eco Wrapping Guide
Now that you have gone through the eco-gift guide and chosen the best and most sustainable gifts possible for everyone on your list, now it is time to wrap! If you chose to give an e-gift card, give the gift of your time, or donate in their name, you don’t have to worry about this section! You’re done. For the rest of you, here is the ultimate sustainable wrapping guide to accent your extremely eco-friendly gift giving this holiday season.
1. Use What You Have
“If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.”
There is no need to go buy a ton of new fancy wrapping paper, despite what your niece’s school fundraiser is telling you. You most likely already have everything you need! Those brown paper bags your groceries come in? Use them. That wrapping paper your birthday gift was wrapped in? Use it. That shipping paper your last shipment came in? Use it. That newspaper that gets dropped off on your driveway every week? Use it. That shoe box, tea box, or jewelry box you have lying around? Yep, use those too. You can pretty much reuse anything for wrapping purposes. Get creative with what you already have and don’t be afraid to reuse multiple items for one gift. The more that is reused or upcycled, the better! Encourage the gift receiver to reuse (or at least recycle) the wrapping as well!
2. Reusable Tote/Bag
Can’t find anything around the house to use? Wrap your holiday gift in a reusable bag or tote. This way, your wrapping is sustainable and cheap, and the person you are gifting it to now has a new reusable bag. Who wouldn’t love that?!
3. Recycled/Compostable Wrapping
If you are the kind of person who needs their wrapping to look traditional and crisp, and the last two options did not speak to you, use recycled or compostable materials for your wrapping needs. Instead of relying on non-recyclable, and often non-reusable, wrapping paper, utilize the many eco-friendly wrapping paper options that can be found online. This will take a little planning ahead but will absolutely be worth it when your gifts are perfectly wrapped and wonderfully sustainable!
4. Go Naked
No, not you. Your gift. We are not promoting showing up to your family holiday party completely nude. Instead, if you are not the type of family that places gifts in a shared area weeks before the big day, consider starting a new tradition of not wrapping your presents. This will save time, energy, and waste and who doesn’t love new traditions?! Get sustainable and go nude (with your gifting) this holiday season.
Alright, Earthlings. Now that you have made it through the eco gift guide, you are equipped to make your best eco-friendly and sustainable gift decisions this holiday season. Ready to look at some eco-friendly gifts? Check out our sustainable stocking stuffers here: https://educatedearthling.com/collections/stocking-stuffers. Thanks for following along and happy shopping!