Green Gifting : Six Simple Strategies
Be honest. How many gifts have you received that you immediately need to find a shelf for? Conversely, how many times have you given a gift because you felt you needed to, but knew in advance it was not something the other person really needed? Following is a list of ideas for affordable, and desirable, green gifting ideas for real people.
This gift idea has the added benefit of including things the recipient might not be able to carve out cash for currently, but would love to be able to do. Sometimes when we are really pinching pennies, fun is one of the first things to be cut from the budget. Some ideas? National or state park passes to go hiking or take the kids and dogs on a picnic, season theater tickets, restaurant certificates, massage appointments . . . get the idea? Another bonus is that certain items in this category can provide a tax deduction, particularly the non-profit performance companies. Love that!
This was actually what we chose for a wedding favor when we finally made it back from Europe (already married) to throw a bash for the family. Rather than go with the little plastic trinkets that do nothing but get pitched in the trash, we went with nice seed packets which were printed with a wedding wish from us, and decorated tastefully on the front. They were for a perennial flower, so people could take them home and plant them, knowing they would come up every year and they could think of us. Bonus? Having an extra plant in the world is a good thing.
3. Make it known you are open to receiving DIY gifts.
Obviously, I’m not recommending you stand up and start announcing to people you want them to get you gifts. That would be tacky. What I am saying is that since some people aren’t comfortable bringing it up, you might need to break the ice by offering the idea yourself. Keep in mind, I’m not just talking tea cozies here. This could be anything from a set of designer style drapes, to a custom paint job in your living room, to a hand done mural. Are you great at web design, or data management? If you have a skill that people would routinely pay for, then chances are somebody would appreciate receiving a gift that benefitted from them.
4. Engraved, refillable pens.
I have Nora’s previous article to thank for this idea. Although interestingly enough, my mother has been doing this for young family members coming of age for years. Use it for graduations, new jobs, anniversaries, etc. Bonus? These are really a classy gift that people will use. You can also do the same thing with refillable pencil products. Just buy the individual retractable leads to refill them with. Think of all the cheap plastic pen casings that won’t be out there in the landfills!
5. Give the gift of green consumable products.
Think yummy fair trade coffee, soy based candles, or eco friendly bath products. This goes back a bit to the first item. When people are on a budget, they don’t necessarily feel comfortable indulging in these little yummy treats. This way, the gift is affordable for you to give, and provides the recipient with a large chunk of wow. At the risk of shamelessly plugging my own article, this soy tea cup candle pictured above gave me another idea for using all those extra cups and mugs I have kicking around the house.
6. Preserve a piece of family heritage.
I’ve documented this a time or two on our family blog, but one of my favorites is turning an item of clothing from a grandparent into several smaller treasures for younger family members. Think Christmas ornaments, or stuffed bears for the grandkids. Digitally archiving old family photos so everyone can enjoy them is another cool strategy that blends family history with newer technology like the digital photo frames.
While I'm sure there are loads of product specific ideas out there, these were categories I felt provided for a wide range of unique ideas and budgets per strategy. If you have any other great suggestions, remember to spread the love in the comment section below so we can all benefit.