The Greenest Christmas Gift Guide of All

We are right in the middle of the most consumption heavy time of year for the US, if not the world. We are inundated with crazy “green gift guides” of various sorts (like this one from Timeout LA) that recommend we all spend $110 on a recycled Eco-friendly laptop sleeve. Let’s get real for a second, it would be much more efficient to spent $20 on a cheap laptop sleeve and the $90 you saved on making your life or someone else’s life more efficient and less wasteful.  Better yet, make your own laptop sleeve from something that you were going to throw out anyway.

That said, here’s my shot at the top 5 gifts that you can give your environmentally conscious friends and family this year (spoiler alert: no 3 figure laptop sleeves to be found here).

  1. Nothing (probably a hard sell for many givers and recipients, but it’s the truth).
  2. Something that you made using either materials or ingredients from one of the following (your garden, something that you were going to throw out anyway, something of yours that wasn’t being utilized).  We bought local berries this year and gifted berry jam, as one example.
  3. A service, specifically your service, we usually do a day of yard work for one member of our family who has trouble keeping up with maintenance.  Costs nothing, consumes nothing, other than our transit there. Provides satisfaction for all parties involved. Other ideas would be cooking a group dinner, cleaning a car (if you have one), teaching a skill or craft, the options are endless, depending on your specific skill set. Something else that might fall into this category would be a certificate for a bike tune up from a local bike shop, leading us to #4…
  4. Secondhand bicycle, pays dividends in savings on gas, emissions, and, depending on where you live, time as well. Some areas have a crazy used bicycle market, in that case, you may have to go with brand new.
  5. This is sort of a catch all, but I think that any item which would improve the recipient’s efficiency falls into #5. I would include anything from LED light-bulbs to a canning kit in here.  Ultimately, almost anything that isn’t a resource hog and decreases your reliance on buying “stuff” is a win, as long as it gets use by the recipient. A sewing machine (secondhand perhaps) might even fall into here, though you could certainly get a lot done with just a plain ol’ needle and thread as well.

Happy Holidays!