Here's How You Are Making Your Holidays Green

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Beth Hauer

One “experience” gift I’m giving this year is quilting classes. Another idea is a pair of season tickets to the plays of a local theatre group. Another idea is a massage or a day of beauty at a local spa or salon.

posted on 2013-11-29 4:15 pm
Pat Parkhurst

I like to get a christmas tree, real one preferably smaller one that I can get with roots and all and then replant it after christmas…. I don’t like plastic… and you can give the tree as a gift 🙂

posted on 2013-11-29 10:23 am
Elise Drake

I try to buy most of the gifts I give from local vendors, handmade. The people I support often are using organic or reclaimed materials, with sustainable practices. I keep the gift giving to a minimum. Of course I shop with my own bags and purchase post consumer waste wrap and recycle it after gift giving.

posted on 2013-11-24 1:23 pm
Carolyn M.

I frequent reuse (second hand) centers to find interesting gifts and clothing. When I give my gift a card will say “You have received a green gift and it was chosen for you to give it a second life.”

I also go to a creative reuse center to purchase used and some new supplies to make gifts. There I purchase art items like frames, note papers, beads, scrap booking materials etc. When I give this gift my card will say “Made from reuse items to reduce our landfill footprint.” My notes always get an environmental conversation going.

See the to learn what creative reuse centers are like because every community should have one.

posted on 2013-11-22 10:10 am
Lisa O.

Wrap gifts in an “ugly Christmas sweater” or in a flannel sheet

posted on 2013-11-20 12:46 pm
Carolyn Long

I’ve asked the grandparents to give their grown grandchildren information – photos of special pieces of furniture or art with descriptions of where it came from and who made it, or to pass along a few unused or duplicate things like tools or jewelry or kitchen items. The grandparents are downsizing just as the grandchildren are furnishing their own apartments.

posted on 2013-11-18 6:28 pm
Mari Porter

Wrap gifts in Newspaper or make gift bags out of chip bags or other wrappers that are hard to recycle. Just make sure you clean them up good and you can paint them any color you want.

posted on 2013-11-18 3:35 pm
Anna Baker

I’m going to buy most of my gifts used this year (off Craigslist, toy swaps, Freecycle, etc) as not to create the need for new resources.

posted on 2013-11-15 8:29 pm

Buying less from stores and more from local handcrafted items

posted on 2013-11-15 4:25 pm

Use a REAL ‘potted’ tree! Plant it afterwards!!

posted on 2013-11-14 12:00 pm

I like to make handmade and toasty gifts like scarves and hats, and wrap things in re-useable bags or tins. Also baked goods make a great hostess gift!

posted on 2013-11-14 9:22 am

My family does not exchange useless holiday gifts, and therefore do not increase our waste during the holidays due to packaging, wrapping, etc. If we do give a gift, it’s something we made (I give away peach jam and a couple of loaves of pretzel bread). We spend the holiday together playing games, talking, and just hanging out. We all contribute to making our meal over a glass (bottle or two) of wine, and just have a great time. We dont travel far. We all live within 1 hour of a central location, and even carpool there.

posted on 2013-11-14 8:58 am

We are using grocery paper bags to wrap out presents. Add some crayon art, stickers or scrap colored paper to make them festive. The kids love anything involving art so they love decorating their own wrapping paper.

posted on 2013-11-14 8:39 am

I put on an event that has strict “green” guidelines and encourage all my friends and family to shop there or give “experiences” for gifts. The event is the Green Gift Bazaar on Saturday, Nov 30th at the Community Center from 10am-4pm.
At this 11th Annual event on Small Business Saturday, there will be 25 vendors offering a variety of locally made and eco-friendly gifts, all are Made in USA or Fair Trade.
There is no entry fee to shop at the event, which features 2 food related Films in the Center’s theater: The Shrimp & A Place at the Table, sponsored by the Sierra Club and Alton Main Street.
For more information on being a vendor, contact Sara Ansell at 618.780.9197 or

posted on 2013-11-13 4:18 pm

As a family we’ve cut back drastically over the years on gifts and unnecessary waste. We often do a gift exchange with one other extended family member and of course treat ourselves. My wife and I usually give a gift to ourselves by going on a trip or making a end of year donation. This year we plan to buy a new temperpedic memory foam mattress, that should provide us 20-25 years of sleeping comfort.

posted on 2013-11-11 11:04 am

We will give a tree planted in the person’s name to people on our Christmas gift list.

posted on 2013-11-08 9:42 pm
Shari Lewis

I will be giving the gift of zoo and museum memberships to friends with kids, theatre and movie tickets to those without. The gift of shared experiences last longer than any items.

posted on 2013-11-08 8:06 am

You can grate the beeswax with a cheese grater

posted on 2013-11-08 2:51 am

No plastic bags for anything. Gifts bags instead of gift wrap. They can be reused over and over again. Shop online instead of driving all around town. I have a fake tree but have had it for almost 20 years.

posted on 2013-11-07 10:21 pm
Jane Woods

I am making most of my Christmas presents and they have no shelf-life! During the year I learned to quilt and have made most family members a quilt or sofa throw or table runner. They will be mailed in the one size-one price Post Office boxes that can be used again, or given in person whenever possible. I will go on a baking frenzy soon for close friends and more distant relatives and will give these gifts in re-useable tins. No gift wrap at all and my Christmas cards are from recycled paper and I put a sticker on the envelope asking that the recipient please recycle the paper.

posted on 2013-11-07 4:19 pm

Give to charity! At the office holiday party, I like to replace the standard white elephant junk gift with a donation. The recipient doesn’t take anything home to throw or stash away, and the world’s left a slightly better place.

posted on 2013-11-07 12:17 pm

We use a real tree every Christmas. Real trees provide habitat for animals, give oxygen back into the atmosphere, and are used in Galveston for sand dune repair. Artificial trees use petroleum energy and go to landfills, when they are thrown away. Ditch the plastic and get a real tree!

posted on 2013-11-07 8:09 am

I believe in basically buying one gift per person, no bows, never. If it’s in a gift box from a store, it does not get any additional treatment, ie, no wrapping paper. If it’s in any box, say white in color, no wrap. It’s what’s inside that counts, not how you decorate it on the outside.
I never buy live trees, and use the same scant decorations year to year, just placing them differently for a different look.

posted on 2013-11-07 7:26 am

I use newspapers, road maps, paper bags, etc., sometimes magazine pages, especially my wildlife/bird mags, anything that is interesting and different for gift wrap, birthdays, holidays, etc. Some people like it, some people don’t… I go with those that like it. And, I reuse gift paper from gifts we’ve received, bags and ribbons… I have collected a lot of good things.

posted on 2013-11-06 9:27 pm

I do not wrap gifts–I give gifts in 1 reusable shopping bag.
I do not buy a tree–I decorate my “houseplant” called a Norfolk Island Pine–which is around 8′ tall.

posted on 2013-11-06 9:27 pm

Several ways: reuse last year’s Xmas bags–we laugh about ‘passing the bag’ each year;
reuse saved tissue paper; no wrapping, only bows; donate to charity in kids’ names.

posted on 2013-11-06 8:19 pm
Rebecca Robertson

Continue my tradition of folding all used tissue paper from gifts into nice squares to put in a box to use for next year. My father-in-law helps. It’s sweet.

posted on 2013-11-06 7:10 pm

Never use plastic shopping bags, just the reusable shopping bags i use all year. For wrapping, any recycled paper is fine. And if i need small boxes, well i can always use the toilet paper center with a recycled or painted bow. For me no gift, no wrapping, just give a small donation for a local charity or give me a nice plant for my garden.

posted on 2013-11-06 7:00 pm

reuse all the giftbags from last year that I save in my closet and NOT buying gift wrapping paper, simply use household containers not used anymore as gift holders.
Use the same xmas decor that my family has had since 1993.(We never buy new ornaments)
Try to get gifts that involves going out outside or neurological stimuliation.

posted on 2013-11-06 5:03 pm

This holiday season I am purchasing water bottles that have a filter for everyone that I buy for. Such bottles encourage people to drink more water and at the same time eliminates the need for disposable plastic water bottles, reducing waste and promoting good health. You better believe that these will be wrapped in the funny pages or crosswords.

posted on 2013-11-06 3:37 pm
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