Green Gifting

The holiday season can often be a time of over doing it; over spending, over eating, over stressing and over wasting! To keep trash bins light and wallets full, try going green for the holidays! Here are 5 simple gifting tips to help keep your stress levels low, and your spending and waste to a minimum.

1. Don’t buy, DIY.

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Do It Yourself gifts are a great alternative to store bought presents. It is easier than you might think to make your own natural beauty products, ready-to-make mason jar recipes, fun accessories, and more! Your friends and family will be super impressed and ready to try out these authentic, homemade gifts!

  • Cosmetic and beauty products can be expensive and full of chemicals. Try making your own all natural makeup products, toothpaste, and face masks with ingredients you can find right in your own kitchen!
  • Make baking and cooking easy around the holidays by gifting ready-to-make mason jar recipes. Fill up a mason jar with the dry ingredients for your favorite cookie, hot chocolate, or soup recipe along with cooking instructions for a simple, fun, and delicious gift.  
  • Give your loved ones a homemade accessory or a staple clothing item like an easy to make infinity scarf to help them dress up their wardrobe this winter. You can also use old clothes in unconventional ways by upcycling them to make new items. For example, using an old scarf to make a cute and simple camera strap.

For more ideas, search DIY on Pinterest.

2. Experiential gifts. Make memories, not waste!

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Forget the material gifts and try a waste-free holiday this season! Traditionally wrapped presents might be fun to tear open but this year save the mess by gifting an experience.  Have a spin-crazy friend or relative? Buy them a set of fitness classes to help drive their addiction. For your less athletic loved ones, try a cooking class, food tour, or tickets to a concert or show!


For more experiential gift ideas, check out Cloud9Living or Groupon (for discounts and deals).  


3. Help your loved ones make a difference.

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Do you see the inner do-gooder in your friend or family member? Try a social impact gift like donating to a charity or foundation in their name. You can also endow a tree, or plant flowers in their honor through the Central Park Conservancy Women’s Committee. Give the gift of an animal, education, basic needs, safe drinking water or support for women and children, through organizations like Heifer and Oxfam. Help your friends and family help others by giving them the extra push they need to ignite their inner philanthropist.


4. Avoid buying new and make re-gifting socially acceptable.

It’s time to change the negative stigma about re-gifting. Re-gifting and passing on items is a great alternative to buying new each year. This doesn’t mean you should throw a pair of old socks in a tote bag and call it a gift but think about who might enjoy a gift you received that just wasn’t quite your style. Better yet, pass on a well loved item for someone else to enjoy.

  • White elephant re-gift exchange: Keep those silly inside joke gifts in the family year-to-year. A white elephant re-gift exchange is a a great way to keep conversation light around the holidays by talking about who ended up with the retro, thigh-high silver boots last year and who’s going home with them this year.
  • Switch it up: Have a clothing swap with your friends to update your wardrobe for the new year and get rid of the same
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    sweater that has been hanging in the back of your closet, begging to be worn since 2012.

  • Not your grandma’s vintage T… yet: Get your relatives on trend by shopping at second hand stores. Thrifting is a great way to reduce textile waste and find a unique and stylish gift for a great price.
  • Read a great book this year?: Pass on a great read from this year for someone else to enjoy. You can even leave notes in the margins and prompt the receiver to do the same before passing it on to someone else. This way the books continues to get passed down as a sort of metaphorical book club. Also, if you are going to buy a book, be sure to check second hand bookstores like the Strand before heading to the nearest Barnes & Noble.

5. Unconventional Gift Wrap.

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    Old newspaper is always a go to gift wrap alternative. Get all your news online? No worries, try wrapping your gifts in reusable cloth, a homemade scarf, or tote bags. This way you save on waste and the wrapping is a gift in itself!

  • If you do use traditional wrapping paper, hold back the urge to tear through it and save the paper to use again next year. Gift bags and boxes that can be used again make a great alternative to old school wrapping paper as well.


No need to stress about over doing it this holiday season! You can find a gift for all the special people in your life without having to take a toll on the environment. ‘Tis the season to be sustainable.


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