Monday, December 10, 2012

Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

It's that time of year: when every day there's at least one blog post in my reader featuring a gift guide. 

I try to be environmentally conscious in my daily life, so when giving to others I try to maintain the same approach, but without forcing my beliefs on anyone. How do you balance eco-friendly choices with your loved ones' interests and personalities?

Give experiential gifts.

Who doesn't like movies and TV? By giving gift subscriptions to Netflix or Hulu Plus, you can not only deliver your gift via email or printing on regular paper (no plastic gift cards needed!), but you'll encourage your giftees to watch their favorite shows online versus buying DVDs.

You could also buy memberships to museums, or tickets to a concert to attend together.

Donate to their favorite charity.

I realize this might be a controversial "gift" (there's an interesting conversation about this topic currently on a forum I read). This is certainly an area where it could be easy to impose your own preferences by giving to your own favorite organization. Alternatively, though, this can be a great way to show you've paid attention and know what a person is involved with and cares about. For example, give a gift to the animal shelter or food kitchen where your sibling volunteers, or to literacy organizations for your parent who is a teacher.

Introduce eco alternatives.

Rather than just buy a sweet-smelling boutique soap or lip balm from a mainstream store, look at natural food stores or specialty stores for unpackaged natural soaps and lip balms in paper tubes or metal tins

Also pay attention to comments on your own lifestyle throughout the year - did someone mention how handy your reusable produce/bulk bin bags seem to be, or how cute your reusable sandwich bag is? Perhaps they'd enjoy getting some of their own.

Buy handmade and local.

You might have a local Saturday market or holiday craft shows to attend, or you can check out etsy for handmade jewelry, clothing, and more. Many sellers use recycled or otherwise eco-friendly materials, and you know you're supporting an independent seller, rather than underpaid foreign labor. The recipient will also stand out when wearing their unique gift.

Note: I have no affiliation with any of the products, sellers, or organizations linked above. Just items that I've purchased in the past for myself or others and enjoyed.

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