10 Tips for Green Gift Giving

Posted on December 10, 2016

Gifts are one of the best parts of the holiday season. Canadians are so nice they spent an average of more than $1000 on gifts last year. Unfortunately, all that generosity can take away from the ability for our Earth to offer us the gifts we need, like a stable climate, clean water, food, and air. Luckily, there are greener (and cheaper!) ways to give, and show our friends and family how much we love them. Here are 10 tips for green gift giving:

1. Make your own. There are so many DIY gift ideas online it’s ridiculous. Try bath salts in pretty jars, soap, jam making, hot chocolate mixes, aprons from t-shirts or hop on google for hundreds of more ideas! Need ingredients? Check out Community Natural Foods or Sunnyside Natural Market for all sorts of treats and supplies!

2. Buy second hand. Head to a second-hand or vintage store to choose a unique gift that doesn’t have to be made from brand new resources.

3. Buy experiences. Purchase something you and the recipient can enjoy doing together later. Some ideas are zoo memberships, snowboarding passes, restaurant gift certificates (UNA Pizza is always a fave!), movie passes, concert or festival tickets, or think about signing your family up for a fun new skill you can learn together! Maybe an Eco Boot Camp to help a friend to be green!

4. Buy subscriptions or memberships. Subscriptions keep on giving (and reminding how generous you are!). Think green like a Green Calgary membership, a grocery delivery service or a share in a local farmer's CSA!

5. Buy less. Often after we’ve gotten that one big gift we know our loved one really wants we feel stressed to get them more, and go for small, low quality things they may never use. Instead, think about small and usable - treats, gift cards to their favourite places, puzzles, or crafts. One of our favourites is soaps and health products from Rocky Mountain Soap Company or Neal's Yard Remedies! And while it may be hard to think about gardening with all this cold, a gift card from Blue Grass Nursery & Garden Centre could buy a new tree or veggies for a gardener looking forward to spring!

6. Buy Better. Purchase high quality gifts that you know will last a long time and stay out of the landfill. Consider a gift from our EcoStore like a composter or rain barrel (you'll actually be keeping things out of the landfill that way, too!)

7. Avoid the batteries. Discarded batteries are an environmental hazard and 40% of battery purchases take place over the holidays. If you can, avoid gifts that require batteries and opt for plug-in electronics instead. London Drugs has some great deals...and you can take in your old batteries under their Green Deal program to recycle, too!

8. Shop local. If you do plan to buy new, opt for stores that support our #yyc local businesses. Check out the REAP business association for a list of local businesses that strive to be more sustainable! Our favourite local brewery (Village Brewery) also has great gift packs and seasonal bevvies for those all important host gifts, too!

9. Wrapping paper. As much as you might get excited by pretty wrapping paper, we all just want to get to the surprise inside. Think of some unique ways to wrap gifts such as old maps, newspapers, paper bags, fabric, boxes, old calendars, boxes or jars. They can be just as beautiful! Find more ideas here!

10. Volunteer or Give. Give the gift of giving by donating to a cause you know someone cares about in their name, or spending time volunteering for an organization they’re passionate about together. Green Calgary is always looking for both volunteers and donations!