Thursday, November 19, 2009

Green Tips: Giving "Green"

Christmas is coming and already the malls are packed with people trying to get the perfect gift. This season try to lessen the impact on the environment and give some awesome eco-friendly gifts.

1. Make a donation in someones name. They get the tax deduction and somewhere someone else is getting a great gift too. Our favorites are WWF, Oxfam, the TLC, UNHCR, WildArc, and the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Fund. A lot of these organizations will also offer gifts when you donate that you can wrap up and give to someone along with the donation. It's a feel good gift all around.

2. Give homemade goodies. Every year I give everyone a big box of Christmas cookies, homemade chocolates and some other baked good like scones or brownies. It really is fun to munch away on homemade treats with a cup of tea in front of the Christmas tree. This gift is especially good for people with special dietary needs who can't just go to the bakery and pick out a treat. So try making peanut free, diary free, gluten free or vegan treats for someone who will really appreciate them.

3. Try making homemade bath products. Warning this is really addicting! Last year I made peppermint bath bombs for everyone in my family and oh man were they nice (of course I used the defective ones myself). Bath oils are really nice to make too and homemade beeswax lip balm is surprisingly easy to make. I'll post some instructions for these ideas soon.

4. Homemade drinks. Let's face it, we all do some drinking over the holidays. Try giving flavored vodkas (cranberry vodka is my favorite) or bottle some margarita mix. Another idea is to pick out a nice red wine and give it with some homemade packets of mulling spice. This one is endless!

5. Give a "time" gift. Last year my mom was getting a little run down over the holidays so for her gift I gave her 4-5 days worth of homemade frozen dinners (lasagna, enchiladas, tandorri chicken and tamali pie). I wanted her to be able to come home from work without having to worry about dinner and she could just sit back and relax until dinner was done. Do something similar, give containers of frozen homemade soup or show up one afternoon and offer to put up Christmas lights for someone. I don't think any gift is more appreciated over the holidays than the gift of relaxation.

If you don't have the time to do any of these then please try to purchase gifts that come in minimal packaging and if you can, purchase from a local eco-friendly company. Also, use re-usable gift bags this year instead of gift wrap. Be creative here too. You could hang a necklace or a gift card in the tree on Christmas morning, or use a scarf to wrap another gift. I hope one or more of these ideas has inspired you to do something different this year :)

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