Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide
December 14, 2017
Did you know that 60 percent of the world’s Christmas decorations are made in a single Chinese village? According to Inhabitat, most are produced inside the Chinese village of Yiwu, where 600 factories produce 60 percent of all of the world’s festive decorations. The factory workers in Yiwu put in long hours in less-than-ethical working conditions, often dealing with toxic chemicals that have the potential to cause lasting damage to their health.
So think twice before you overload on holiday knickknacks. Why not buy green gifts this year instead? Ones that use fewer resources and produce less waste than ordinary, mass-produced items. There are so many types of eco-friendly gifts you can give.
Ready for some green ideas? Let’s dive in!
Seed Bombs are an easy and fun way to garden! Throw them in a bare spot in your garden or lawn for a rainbow of gorgeous blooms. The wildflower seeds will attract birds, bees and butterflies to your garden. The attractive packaging also makes for a great gift. You can buy them here or make your own in a few easy steps
Plants and seeds make eco-friendly gifts that are sure to be useful. One of NC GreenPower’s giveaways is seed paper – a special paper embedded with wildflower seeds. You can plant it under a thin layer of soil and after 1-3 weeks wild flowers will begin to bloom.
When you add wool balls to your dryer they will not only help soften your clothes without synthetic chemicals, but they also decrease drying time significantly and reduce static. Saving the landfill from disposable dryer sheets is an added bonus. There are also plastic and rubber dryer balls that we don’t recommend so be sure to look for ones made from natural fibers such as wool.
For more information on how to use them and how they work, check out the Homemade Experiment blog.
Many mass-produced goods, including items for children, contain harmful chemicals. Web-based stores such as Hazelnut Kids and Green Toys specialize in kid-safe toys made from natural materials. Vitavibes has put together a list of 4 toxins in toys you should avoid. When giving gifts to children make sure nontoxic materials such as lead-free paint as well as PVC and BPA-free plastics.
NC GreenPower Gift Card
NC GreenPower is all about sharing the benefits of cleaner energy sources and a healthier environment. Give the gift of green power with a donation in honor of a friend, colleague or loved one. You can choose to support renewable energy – generated right here in North Carolina – our Solar Schools grant program, or you can contribute to carbon offsets mitigated within our region. Recipients will receive a personalized card letting them know of your donation on their behalf.
When you donate to NC GreenPower on behalf of someone else, you’re also sharing our message of positive change right here in North Carolina.
This gift is twice as green: no plastic waste (just a card printed on recycled paper), and it helps green up North Carolina.
Organic, fair trade coffee
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life, treat them to a bag of organic and fair trade coffee.
Most of the time, large parts of a forest are cut down in order to grow coffee fast and cheap. Shade grown coffee is cultivated underneath trees and preserves habitats for migratory birds on coffee farms. This also lets beans mature more slowly and creates richer flavors.
Fair Trade offers better prices, improved terms of trade, and the business skills necessary to produce high-quality products that can compete in the global marketplace. Organizations such as TransFair and Rainforest Alliance both include rigorous environmental standards in their certification criteria.
Read more about sustainable coffee in our blog post.
Fast fashion companies sell you inexpensive clothes, but they come at a huge human, social and environmental cost. The average American throws away 65 lbs of clothes every year, wasting natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, shipping etc.
Here are some of our favorite brands promoting sustainability, waste reduction and innovation:
- Everlane – they share factory and production stories while making modern aesthetic clothing
- G Star Raw – these trendy jeans use Bionic Yarn; their RAW sustainable program uses organic cotton with reduced levels of fertilizers and pesticides
- Purple Impression – hand embroidered clothing mixed with modern elements
We also put together a sustainable fashion guide with more ideas for ethical fashion gifts.
Give an experience as a gift, such as a weekend trip or a home cooked meal. You can also give gifts of your time and skill, such as a babysitting or dog sitting. Easy to prepare and no packaging necessary.
Here are more than 46 ways to give experiences this year.
- Many web-based stores have specialized in eco-friendly gifts and products. Mighty Nest is a monthly subscription service that handpicks content and products to help you build a non-toxic, eco-friendly and stylish home for your family. Earth Easy offers sustainable living options with carbon neutral gift ideas organized by category.
- Instead of conventional wrapping paper, try fabric, newspaper, paper bags, old maps, posters, etc. Keep your gift-giving ecofriendly and sustainable.
There you have it! Eco-friendly gifts from a wide variety of categories. What are some green holiday gifts you’ve given or received?