Thursday, November 6, 2008

Green Options - Eco-Conscious Holidays: Green Gift Giving

As part of Eco-Libris' ongoing content partnership with Green Options Media, we feature a post that was originally published by Becky Striepe on November 5 on EcoLocalizer. Today's post brings you some great ideas how to green your holidays.

[Image credit: Lizerati at Flickr used with permission]

It's that time of year! There are parties and big meals to plan, gifts to get together, and travel plans to finalize. How is a person supposed to live green during such a busy time of year? This week, we're going to take a look at ways to have a fabulous holiday season without giving up those Earth-friendly ideals. It doesn't have to feel like a sacrifice!

Make It
Manufacturing, packaging, and shipping store bought goods makes a huge environmental impact. If you've got the time, why not make some of this year's gifts by hand? Even if you don't consider yourself artistic, there are fun handmade gifts you can pull together. You get bonus points for reusing materials that might have ended up in the trash or recycle bin! There's still time to whip up a batch of muscadine wine! If you have foodies on your list, you might try assembling a tasty soup mix, complete with recipe card printed on recycled card stock. Handmade gifts are so gratifying. There's nothing quite like watching your loved ones open presents you made yourself!

Buy It
If making gifts by hand isn't your thing, don't despair! You can shop for green gifts, too! Etsy is a great resource for finding handmade goods from thousands of crafters all over the world. Try looking for upcycled, recycled, or vintage products.

There are also great options for gifts that give back. Check out Ten Thousand Villages, a chain of stores dedicated to stocking fair trade goods. They have an online store, as well as over 160 stores across the U.S. and Canada. Heifer International is another great option for green gift giving. At, you can purchase animals, trees, or gift baskets in your gift recipient's name. Each gift helps folks in developing countries live better lives through increased self-sufficiency.

Wrap It
Once the crafting and shopping is done, you can get creative in the gift wrapping department! Rather than using gift wrap that goes right into the waste stream once the present is open, why not make the wrapping part of the present? Try giving your goodies in a tote bag that can double as a grocery tote. Instead of paper, you can also wrap your gifts in pretty cloth. My mother-in-law wraps our presents in baskets or tins that we can use later for decoration or storage.

You can personalize your present with recycled gift tags, or you can make your own! If you're looking for cards, these seed cards by Botanical Paperworks can be planted instead of tossed in the bin. These upcycled cards and envelopes from Lizerati are perfect for tagging your presents, too!

Did you miss the first two installments of the Eco-Conscious Holiday series? Check them out for tips for greener travel and holiday parties!

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