As fall begins and the weather gets cooler, people’s attention turns to the holiday season, particularly holiday shopping. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend a mind-blowing $850 billion this year on holiday shopping items like clothing, books, electronics, sporting goods, and home decor and improvement.
If the person you’re buying for is eco-friendly, however, these items may not be wanted or welcome. The 3 Rs principles of sustainable living—reduce, reuse, and recycle—don't really work with the typical practice of buying new stuff.
So instead of simply getting online and purchasing that cute new item that you think they’ll like, consider these sustainable gift ideas that your eco-friendly friend or loved one will absolutely appreciate:
1. Make a Donation on Their Behalf
For the ultimate eco-friendly holiday gift that doesn't create waste and gives back to the environment or community, make a donation on your friend’s or loved one’s behalf to a cause they support. Charities rely on donations to further their missions, and the holidays are a perfect time to be philanthropic when many nonprofits have partner matching programs to increase your donation’s impact.
2. Create the Gift Yourself
What better way to show how much you care for someone than to give the gift of yourself! Put your creativity to work with some of these sustainable gift ideas:
Write a poem, song, or heartfelt letter conveying how much the person means to you
Create a piece of art or a craft for them
Organize an event or activity that they’ll enjoy
Plan a special dinner or cook a meal for them
3. Buy Consignment or Vintage
If you must buy physical items, channel the reuse principle of the 3 Rs and purchase gently used goods at a local consignment or vintage shop. Alternatively, there are also online stores that sell consignment goods like ThredUp, Grailed, or Everything But The House.
Regardless of the gift, remember that you don’t need to give physical things to make others happy. Use the holidays to share joy, spread good cheer, and celebrate with loved ones!