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Greener Gift Giving

Because gift giving is such a focus of the holiday season many of the environmental issues which pile up from sea to shining sea over the final month and a half of each year are gift related. It doesn't mean people shouldn’t give their loved ones presents but with a little extra preparation we may be able to reduce our gift giving carbon footprints dramatically. 

For instance consider some of the following: 

DIY Wrap

Wrapping paper comes in all shapes and sizes and although only a little is used in each home it all adds up to a lot of waste. That’s why if you’re planning on concealing a gift so it’s a surprise try reusing or repurposing things from around the house to make your own wrap.


For example, if you’re planning to give a new baseball mitt or tennis racket wrap it in the sports section of the daily paper and add a little color to the newsprint with pencil, crayon, or markers. Even if you don't buy the paper anymore ask a neighbor for his copy. 

Another idea is to wrap a gift in an article of clothing you’re no longer using. Going with a sweater or vintage shirt the same size as the person receiving the gift means they’re essentially receiving two gifts in one! 

Renew something old

In some ways it’s so easy to go out to a department store, purchase gifts, wrap them up, and call it a day. However, if we want to get around all the waste from packaging and give the gift giving a truly green twist try renewing or fixing something which a loved one hasn’t had the time or funds to do themselves.Sometimes there’s a favorite but torn article of clothing, jewelry which needs a new necklace clasp, or an expensive but quality piece of kitchenware which needs repair. Whatever it is wouldn’t it be the biggest surprise in the world if someone paid for the item’s renewal so the owner could start off the new year being able to use it again! 

Order Online

There’s a lot of drawbacks about going to malls this time of year. They include traffic, finding parking spaces, long lines, and sheer chaos in some stores. 

Ordering online not only solves all these issues in one shot but if you know what you want and it’s in stock it’s a greener shopping experience because there’ll be less of a carbon footprint attached to the gift. You’ll be burning less fuel by not driving, quite possibly bring home less packaging or plastic bags, and you’ll have more time to focus on that DIY wrap.

Give an experience

If fixing something or ordering online aren’t options giving the gift of an experience rather than something tangible can be a great way to green gift giving. 

It cuts down on waste, pollution, and the memories can last for years. Some examples include concert tickets, season tickets to sporting events, shows, and airline tickets to a vacation destination.

Digital Greetings

Finally, though at one point it may have seemed impersonal in today’s world it’s completely acceptable to send digital cards for all occasions to close friends and family. Digital cards leave less of a carbon footprint, have no waste, and can be downloaded and stored away for years to come without taking up space in a closet or desk drawer. 

There are many websites to choose from and most are free and if you want to design one yourself there’s always that option. 

Best of all there’s very little worry about a digital card reaching it’s recipient late and even if the recipient doesn't get a chance to read it on time the fact it’s there means they know you were thinking about them.proach to life is one of the best ways of reducing stress.



Jakob Barry of is a green-living journalist and DIY enthusiast who writes about practical tips for improving quality of life. From restringing pearls with diamonds to sewing up an old sweater Jakob Barry enjoys opportunities for reusing and repurposing items around the home and believes taking a minimalist ap