The holidays is one time we Eco-consumers feel a bit conflicted. On one hand we love the spirit of giving and receiving, but on the other hand we cringe at the thought of all that wrapping paper that ends up in the trash, for example. *deep breath* I can feel an anxiety attack coming at the thought of all the thousands upon thousands of [mostly unnecessary] items given as gifts during the holidays, and all the wrapping and packaging in which they come. After all, we have come to associate the image of the happy person in a cheerful sweater with her hands full of shopping bags happily trotting down the mall’s halls with the spirit of the holiday season. But I digress.
When shopping for Eco-friendly gifts keep some of these key words in mind. You’ll be gentle on the planet, and most likely gentle on your pocket as well!
Think local, supporting small businesses is important, but particularly if those are local. Think artisan, hand crafted items. I know the local love has been spreading and many cities offer sort of a one-top shop for local items. Local farmer markets (for those lucky to be in warmer climate this time of year) are great places to find local handcrafted items.
If you happen to live in Central Ohio, like I do, Celebrate Local is a store dedicated to only Ohio products. From upcycled spoons turned jewelry, to gourmets salsas; you are sure to find something there. Check Etsy, an e-commerce community of artists, you can search by location to find anything handmade and unique gifts near you.
Here think of low impact on the planet: fair trade, renewable materials. Renewable materials not only consume less natural resource in their preparation, but also are less problematic to dispose of at the end of their life cycle. Look for natural materials like bamboo or hemp, or from recycled and upcycled items or materials such as recycled plastic.
Gift Wrapping Lastly, Don’t forget about going green when gift wrapping. Here are some ideas:
- Reuse paper, ribbons or bags from previous years
- Only use material that can be easily recycled
- Use reusable bag as gift bags
- Make your own tags from recycled paper or recycled card stock
May your holidays be merry and green!