December 4, 2022
 min read

Green up the holidays

Kindness doesn’t stop with each other - our Earth, and where we live, deserve kindness too.

Kindness doesn’t stop with each other - our Earth, and where we live, deserve kindness too. Being kind to our environment should always be a part of our lives, and not just during the holidays. But during the biggest consumer holidays of the year, going green can make a huge difference. Why not try to ‘buy green’ this holiday season, and do the Earth a little kindness? 

Buying green doesn’t mean eating granola and wearing patched-up clothes. Obviously, you can go that route if it’s your thing. But a few simple changes can make your holiday gifting more sustainable and eco-friendly. Whether it’s the gifts you give or how you wrap them, going green is simple.

Gifting gone green

Whether this is your first time giving green gifts, or you’re a seasoned environmental gifting pro, it’s easy to pick something for everyone on your list.

First up, the kids (and their parents will thank you too): If you want to give the IT toy of the year, go for it. But make sure you include reusable batteries, plus extras, as well as the right charger. The kids will keep playing, and the parents will be happy they don’t need to run to the store for more batteries.

If you want to make a bigger difference, try avoiding plastic toys and gifts, or anything wrapped in single-use plastics and packaging. Instead, try giving gift boxes from eco stores or refilleries, or something like a local charcuterie board. Think locally made preserves, cured meats and specialty cheeses with a handmade board. A candle is a great generic gift - but choose one made sustainably, using soy wax that uses natural rather than synthetic scents. And if you can, support a local candle maker while you’re at it.

For the kids, grab wooden toys, puzzles, or even a beginner’s seed starting kit. The other beauty of wooden toys is that they will last for generations and can be used by many other children, rather than getting tossed when they break. 

For the fashionista, search sites like Poshmark for great name-brand clothing and accessories. You can buy used, but if the recipient doesn’t like that, search for items that still have their tags. You’ll be giving clothing and accessories new life while avoiding the landfill.

Similarly, check out your local thrift store for home decor items that you can give. Keep your mind open - with a little upcycling, even the ugliest planter can become the best gift of the year. While you’re at it, grab a houseplant from your local nursery to help purify the air as well.

For people that have everything, gifts that can be consumed or used are always a win. If you’re a baker, bake them a tin of your specialty cookies. If you’re not, grab some baking or treats from your local bakery. Food is always welcome - and so are any other gifts that can be used up. A special soap, candle or lotion can also be a thoughtful treat.

Wrap it up

Your green gifting doesn't have to stop with what you’re giving - the wrapping can go green too! Unlike traditional wrapping, using sustainable wrapping techniques can also create memories. If you start using cloth gift bags now, because they will last for years and years, you can give them to your children and grandchildren in the future. Giving gifts with your fabric bags will bring back memories of spending holidays with you. 

If you can’t find bags, another option is to use a scarf from a thrift store to wrap gifts. Not only will it look pretty as wrapping, but the scarf can also be used as… a scarf! Plain fabric can also be used, whether it’s thrifted or bought new, with the purpose of being used for years. In Japan, gift wrapping is an entire art - and with fabric, you can practice the art of Furoshiki, and have the prettiest gifts under the tree.

If you can’t get over not ripping open gift wrap, try using newsprint or plain brown kraft paper instead. You and the kids will still get the thrill of ripping into the wrapping paper, but it’ll be recyclable and biodegradable, instead of heading straight to the landfill after the holidays. Make it fancy with beautiful ribbons and bows (reused, of course) or reusable coloured twine.

This year, why not create some new holiday traditions? As you make acts of kindness part of your holiday tradition, be kind to the Earth too. Whether it’s eco-friendly gifts, thrifted and upcycled housewares, or just green gift wrapping, every little bit counts.

Kim is creative, adventurous and giving. She joined the Award Pool team as a copywriter.

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