Eco-friendly gifts

When your next gift giving occasion arises, consider choosing something that’s good for your recipient, good for others, and good for the environment. Start by making an effort to support local independent businesses or by tapping into your own creativity.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Especially appropriate for recipients who wish to minimize the quantity of “things” coming into their work and living spaces

• Tickets to a performance. Tickets to a music, dance, lecture, or theatre presentation are invaluable to a lover of the arts. Movie tickets count, too!

• Food. A gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or a place your recipient has been wanting to try is a palatable way to go. If you cook, how about a gift certificate redeemable for a homemade meal.

• The benefits of membership. Think annual membership to a museum, the National Park Service, an environmental group or center, or even a share of a local CSA.

• Body and soul treatments. The gift of a massage, a tarot or astrology reading, or even a meditation class can touch on the right trigger points.

• The gift of a class or workshop. Does someone you know want to try yoga, cooking, dancing, or some other activity? Here’s a way to give them support and encouragement towards a new endeavor.

For those who have a specific appreciation and a place for something material or edible

• Support local artisans and craftspeople. Artists are everywhere! Their work comes in all shapes, mediums, and sizes, and can be functional, decorative, edible, and wearable – sometimes all at the same time!

• Choose fair trade products. Fair trade purchases ensure fair price and labor conditions for artists and farmers, supports sustainability, are good for the environment, communities, and more. These are products you can purchase with a clear conscience.

• Shop vintage or antique stores. The ultimate in recycling!

• Seek out eco-friendly products. Choose items carefully and ask or learn about their contents and manufacturing in order to make an informed decision. Recycled, post-consumer content, soy-based inks, fair trade, and toxin-free are some helpful key concepts to get you started.

• Tap into your own creativity. Perhaps you’re a knitter, a ceramicist, a photographer, a poet, or a creator in another medium. A “homemade” gift to some one who admires your work and vision will be treasured.

For those who appreciate a cause and/or a gesture without the fuss

• Donate to a cause your recipient believes in. Nonprofits always welcome financial contributions and appreciate whatever you can give. Be sure to make the donation in your recipient’s name.

• Volunteer. Volunteer your time to a local nonprofit, organization, or event your recipient respects and supports. Tell them about your experience in a note, accompanied by a photo of you “at work”.

• Shares of stock in a socially-responsible entity. Think “green” and clean alternative energy, micro-finance, or think physical “stock” for a community through an organization or investment by donating to a community foundation.