Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, Cyber Monday…tis the season for buying alright! If, like me, you haven’t quite finished (or even started) your holiday shopping this year, you still have a chance to make the holidays a little greener by making stewardship choices in the store.
Things to consider:
Packaging: try to select an option that has less packaging—whether you are buying in store or online.
Origin: the bag made of all recycled plastic bottles seems like such a great green gift! But what’s that? It’s manufactured and shipped all the way from China! Buying locally sourced products reduces transportation cost and pollution, and supports local economy.
Quality: will this break by tomorrow morning? It’s a tough choice when you want to get a gift for a certain amount, but there are more expensive, but better made options. By splurging on the better made product, or one with a warranty, the recipient is less likely to need another one by their birthday. Offer to split the cost with a family member or friend to get the nicer product.
Returnability: This one is two-fold. It would be lovely if everyone loved every gift they got, but realistically that glow-in-the dark reindeer sweater is probably not a keeper—to encourage the recipient to return rather than throw away, include gift receipts and make sure that the store has a flexible return policy. OR make sure you’re giving something that you are sure they want or need! If you don’t know and can’t ask, gift cards are a great option (more on this later).
There are many other criteria to ensure that you are giving green, and by no means is it necessary (or possible) to buy gifts that are perfect in every category. For more suggestions visit: BuyGreen.com
My favorite gift mystery: what is a gift that doesn’t need to be wrapped, can last a lifetime, can show thoughtfulness and creativity, and won’t end up on a shelf or in a box?
Answer: a memorable experience! My favorite gift of all is a memorable experience. I have received (and loved) gift certificates (either written or oral) for fun nights out, hikes, paddle boarding lessons, kayaking tours, whale watching, breakfast in bed, even the offer to “plan everything for a whole day so you can just come along and enjoy”. These gifts show that the people who gave them know what I like, they don’t sit on my shelf unused and they are usually a great excuse to get together again! Consider making clever “Gift Certificates” for your family and friends promising to do something together. Make sure to include days that you are free so that you can both check your schedules and commit to making the holidays last.