I love the Holidays as much as the next person, but regularly I feel overwhelmed with the need to buy gifts that will inevitably end up in a landfill. Instead of making my heart happy, it makes me sad for the earth, especially because this is happening on a massive global scale. Here are five simple gift-giving ideas for this Christmas season that benefit both your loved ones and the planet.
- Give experiences
Experiences create memories and zero-waste. Why not give the gift of dog sledding or an escape to the mountains? Maybe a cross-country ski lesson or a day of babysitting for new parents so they can unwind at the spa. Try treating friends with young kids to a trip to the local zoo or ecology park to learn about nature and how to preserve it.
- Give the gift of quality time
Time is our most valuable commodity and something none of us have enough of. My friends and family mean more than a newest latest and greatest gadget. Spending time together is what the Holidays are all about, so give it freely. Ask you sister if she needs someone to take a look at her car that she’s been complaining about. Maybe your folks have a project they’ve been working on that they could use an extra-set of hands. The best present is presence!
- Give knowledge
Some the best gifts I’ve ever received are books. Give someone a book that changed your life, or a book that made you look at things differently. Scribble a note inside the cover and it will make it really special. Sharing meaningful gifts brings people together, plus it’s always a conversation starter that brings back happy memories. I love giving Shantaram, because I traveled the world with this very heavy book and I hung on every word. I never wanted it to end and I love watching friends and family on their journey through the book.
- Give to someone who needs it
What do you buy for the person who has everything? Maybe a goat in Uganda that builds a brighter future? My brother donated in my name to Give a Goat last Christmas and I loved it. Try donating to Kiva campaign that helps development in the third world. If you ask people to donate to your favorite charity in your name, it’s a wonderful zero-waste present that helps the people who need it most on this planet.
- Give from the heart
Looking for something that meets all of the criteria? Why not donate time as a family to the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to serve the Holiday meal or help with the Christmas hampers? Volunteering as a family is great way to bond and be grateful for how fortunate we are around the Holidays. It will also instill some good values in your children and when we get to help others in need people, we end up helping our communities and ourselves.
Do you have some great zero-waste Christmas gift ideas you would like to share? We would love to hear what your favorite zero-waste holiday tradition, share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments below. Merry Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful holiday full of love and laughter.
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