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Going Green: Gifting Green in the New Year

Yes, the holidays have come and gone, but green gifts are good year ’round, and especially at the beginning of a new year. Not just because planning now will help you have eco-friendly gifts on hand throughout the year, but also because giving a green gift can plant the seed of a less impactful lifestyle in the recipient’s head, and what better time to get started than the fresh beginning of a new year? If you catch them early enough, maybe you can be the reason someone added another resolution to their list!

Birthdays are a great time to give an eco-gift, since there’s no real limit on what a birthday gift can be. Looking for some easy ideas? Look no further!

  • First, Etsy.com is a great way to get handmade gifts that weren’t made in a pollution causing factory, wasn’t as much as touched by someone in a sweatshop, and are totally sweet to boot! Categories include paper goods, apparel and accessories, and art.
  • How about making something yourself? Homemade brownie, soup, or hot chocolate mix is simple. Include a chemical free ceramic cup, wrap the whole thing up in recycled wrapping paper (www.greengirlgiftwrap.com), and viola! Instant gift set. (Cheap too!)
  • Or get those needles working! Knitting is a great option since there are now several yarns made with organic/pesticide free cotton, or go for organic humane wool or bamboo yarn (Bernat Bamboo Yarn ). Most specialty craft stores will carry several eco-friendly yarn option.

Valentine’s day is coming up, and I don’t think there’s a better way to show someone you care than by giving them an eco-gift that shows you care both for him or her, AND the environment! Okay, maybe that’s just me, but here are some ideas anyway.

  • Flowers are the classic Valentine’s day gift, and there are plenty of options online for anyone who is concerned about the carbon footprint of their bouquet-giving. Even FTD offers reasonably priced organic bouquets. Here is a list of florists you can check out.
  • Chocolate can be not only organic, but cruelty-free as well! Fair-Trade chocolate ensures that you aren’t encouraging the use of pesticides and child labor just to sate your sweethearts sweet tooth!
  • This list, while from last year, is still current with all links, and provides even more ideas for your eco-conscious valentine! Find more ideas here.

Come warmer weather, there will be a few things on everyone’s mind: graduations and weddings. With these gifts, you can be sure that your friends’ and loved ones’ new lives are starting on a footprint-free foot!

  • If you are close to the bride or groom, encourage them to register for an eco-registry. The World Wildlife Fund not only allows couples to register donations in their names, but also the option of giving donations themselves in lieu of wedding favors, with a commemorative card for each guest.

For that recent grad, there is always the option of sustainable or recycled material paper items, etc. Everything Eco has free shipping in the US, and a ton of ideas for gifts, both for graduates and everyone else. I’m thinking about getting this business card holder, myself.

Lastly, I know that the most eco-friendly option for greeting cards is the e-card, but let’s face it, it’s just not as nice as getting a card in the mail. Sometimes a greeting card is even better than a gift, because it lets you share your sentiments with a nice message. Pleasantrees.com is a company that not only makes recycled cards you can order in bulk, but is Forest Stewardship Council certified and plants 3 trees for every card order. Stores like Hallmark also offer recycled options in their stores.

Overall, with just a little research, you can spread the word of green like wildfire throughout this entire year, just by giving gifts with a small environmental impact. And who knows, you could just inspire someone to start doing the same!

Avneet Singh does consider this her official wish list.

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