Feeling stressed with the holidays around the corner, and don’t know what to give family and friends? Here are some creative and fun gift ideas that will delight and help the planet.

10893895068?profile=RESIZE_710xHomemade food gifts are sure to capture everyone’s heart…especially during the winter holidays. Whether you make your favorite family cookie recipe, gooey chocolate treats, crunchy granola, fruity jams, pickled peppers, or specialty libations, homemade food gifts are the perfect way to show someone you care. Wrap up food gifts in reusable containers (glass, metal, or silicon) or reusable cloth napkins and top with a snazzy bow for an adorable gift that keeps on giving. Reusable containers also help cut down on single-use packaging waste.

Plants, bulbs, and seeds are a wonderful way to brighten someone’s home or office. Pines, holly, poinsettias, and amaryllis are among holiday favorites. Potted trees and shrubs decorated with festive bows do double duty by helping remove carbon from the atmosphere. Native plants and pollinator flowers help improve soils and provide ecosystems for birds, bees, and insects to flourish. Cultivate pots of herbs, bulbs, colorful wildflowers, a cactus garden, or a composting kit for a wonderful living gift.

Handmade art, ornaments, and framed photos reflecting your passion and connection with the special people in your life are among the most cherished gifts. Hand-knitted scarves, hats, and socks are another cozy, heartfelt gift. Take a step toward circular design by reusing/recycling materials – paper, metal, plastic, cloth, glass, etc.--into your creations. Write a colorful description that highlights your inspiration, materials utilized, and wisdom that you wish to share as part of your gift.


Additional gift ideas. Not feeling like a baker, gardener, or artist? Here are more sustainable gift ideas to consider…or combine with your own creations.

  • Eco-friendly gift baskets. Build your own or purchase curated baskets from local businesses. Here are four popular plastic-free, healthful gift themes.
    • Natural foods: Nuts, grains, spices, herbs, teas, coffee, olive oils, vinegar (Amphora Nueva, Harvest House, Monterey Herb Co.)
    • Food prep, preservation and serving:  Bamboo cutting board, cooking utensils, and cutlery sets; reusable food containers made of silicon, metal, or glass; washable cloth napkins; reusable cotton net produce bags; stainless steel water bottles (Eco Lunch Boxes, Mighty Market, Planet Renu, Re-source-fill)
    • Household supplies: Bamboo dish brush and pot scraper, plant-based compostable sponges, beechwood or bamboo soap dish, upcycled kitchen towels, bamboo compost bin, laundry detergent strips, wool dryer balls, mesh laundry bag (Mighty Market, Planet Renu, Re-source-fill)
    • Body and bath: Artisan soaps and bath bombs, hair shampoo and conditioner bars, shaving supplies, brushes for hair and bath, facial masks, deodorant, lip balm, bamboo toothbrush, dental tablets, washable facial rounds, bamboo, or cloth toilet paper (Mighty Market, Planet Renu, Re-source-fill)
  • Electric countertop appliances. An electric kettle, crock pot, Instant Pot, toaster oven, air fryer, convection oven, induction cooking burner (standalone), and microwave oven all cook delicious food while saving energy and time.  They can also help ease the transition away from a gas stove/oven without a major kitchen remodel.
  • Gift cards for your services (IT, shopping, organizing, etc.), groceries, streaming services, and digital media subscriptions, to name a few.
  • Donations to a favorite cause or non-profit is another way to show you care. Possibilities include giving to a food bank, school, health and social services, humanitarian aid, or environmental group at the local or global level.

Educate on ways to help the planet. Informal conversations during social gatherings with family, friends, and neighbors are an excellent opportunity to raise awareness for living more sustainably. As you chat with people and they ask about what is new, casually mention the things you are doing to reduce your carbon footprint and generate less waste, along with the tangible benefits. This often sparks an engaging information exchange. Here are links to more planet-friendly actions to inspire you and share. These action items can also be topics used for games and activities such as Pictionary, Bingo, Table Topics, Good Deeds Jar, etc.  

A gift for yourself. To help you stay balanced throughout the year, and especially during the busy holiday season, check out this book:  Zen and The Art of Saving the Planet, by Thich Nhat-Hahn. It will remind you to breathe, stay resilient, optimistic, and keep on making a difference with actions that positively impact our world.

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