Sustainable Gift Giving

The holiday season is upon us! This magical time of year filled with friends, family, and food is also a time of heightened consumer waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, holiday materials including bags, bows, and wrapping paper add one million tons of trash to landfills each week. Further, the production and transportation of gifts contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Rethinking the way you gift this holiday season can reduce waste and help the planet. This doesn’t mean not giving any gifts anymore. Instead, it’s about being more conscious of what and how you’re gifting. The concept of sustainable gifting aims to reduce waste, minimize usage of resources, and utilize only biodegradable, reusable, and upcycled materials. Below is a list of ways to become a more sustainable gift giver this holiday season and ways to think outside the (gift) box:

  • Gift experiences rather than material items
    • Ideas: Classes (e.g., Masterclass, cooking, pottery), tickets (e.g., concert, sports event, theater), services (e.g., massages, car detail, manicure/pedicure), lessons (e.g., guitar, dance)
  • Secondhand gifts
    • Search in thrift stores, flea markets, and antique shops for unique, one-of-a-kind items
  • Homemade gifts
    • Ideas: condiments, bread, pickles, candles, soaps
  • Donations
    • Donate to a charitable organization in a person’s name
  • Purchase slow fashion products
    • Purchase products from fair trade certified/environmentally responsible companies (e.g., Patagonia)
  • Buying local
    • Check to see if a local shop has an item you’re looking for before ordering online and support local artists to find original gifts
  • Wrapping gifts
    • Use materials laying around the house to wrap gifts such as brown bags, newspaper, and fabric scraps