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Thinking Green and Buying Gifts

Dec 2, 2007
Gift shopping is not often an environmentally friendly process. You can drive all around town, trying to find a gift that is just right, or you buy it online and deal with often excessive packaging. It's not easy to get under control.

While some of this really cannot easily be contained, there are some things you can do to consider the environment even as you give great gifts.

Some people will be more open to gifts that are obviously environmentally friendly. You may be shopping for someone who would be delighted with some stylish cloth shopping bags so that they don't need to get plastic bags at the grocery store anymore, or they may think the entire idea is nuts. That's something to consider as you shop.

The kind of gift you give is the first thing to consider. Quality should always be a factor. You don't want to give something that is going to break quickly. In many ways this is as important as what the item is made of and how it is made. Things that break quickly, even if made in an environmentally friendly fashion, are not all that good for the environment.

If you have the skill to make things, sometimes that can be very green too. It can depend on what you're making and what you use to make it, but there's something about a well done handmade gift that can really stand out.

But gifts don't have to be things. You can give a membership to a museum, tickets to a play, or offer them some of your own time. Many times these are even more appreciated than other kinds of gifts.

Shopping isn't the only challenge, of course. Gift wrap is also a challenge. But you can do all kinds of things that are greener and/or more creative.

Try making your own gift wrap, for example. Butcher paper, paper bags and so forth can easily be decorated attractively. This is especially fun for children to do.

You can also make the wrap a part of the gift. Kitchen tools in a new bowl, for example. If you skip the all too common plastic wrap you can keep your gift from wasting anything more than a tag.

Perhaps above all else, make sure you're giving something that will be wanted and used. Things that are used and treasured for years are far better for the environment than things that last only a short time, for the most part... except of course for food gifts. You don't have to give up gift giving to live a greener life, but you do need to think more about what use will be made of what you give.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.greensahm.com/ and gives advice for stay at home moms on trying to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. She has more tips on green gift giving at her site.
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