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R’s of Green Gifting: Practical Ideas for Sustainable Gifts

Updated: Oct 3, 2022


Three hanging clear lightbulbs, repurposed into flower planters. Water inside the lightbulbs with pink and white flowers in each one

Welcome back! Our last blog gave us an introduction to a green gifting path and ways to gift sustainably. With an understanding of the environmental impact of gifting, the next step would be to share some practical ideas for those sustainable gifts.


Presents have become the most tangible way humans establish and build relationships. Seeing someone's eyes light up when they receive a gift you know they would love, gives us a feeling of excitement. A dose of dopamine hits, and that’s probably why gift-giving (or the need to make people happy) can be addictive.


There has been a recent shift in gifting as more people prefer giving and receiving unique experiences instead of tangible presents. The anticipation of experience-based purchases are more enjoyable than material ones. The excitement of waiting for an event combined with the memories gained, create a deeper impact.


So bring more happiness into the life of your loved ones with Part Two of our Three-Part Green Gifting Series. Read on for our list of practical, yet meaningful, gift ideas that don't break the bank and don’t need to cost the Earth.


RETHINK

‘If we want to move towards a low-polluting, sustainable society, we need to get consumers to think about their purchases.’ ― David Suzuki

Whenever we purchase something, we need to think about how our consumption habits impact the environment, and understand that our resources are finite. Rethinking our choices as consumers, curbs our need to obtain material goods. Asking whether an item is a need or a want, or if there's an excess of packaging makes us realize that every single decision is important to keeping the health of our planet.

2 lit white candles in clear glass jars; on the left is a smaller size than the one to its right. Both sitting on top of their respective wooden covers and a few green leaves surrounding them

Take a different approach to gifting, and trade tangible gifts for experiences, workshops, classes, memberships and activities, which foster community and learning. It might be tricky to choose the right gift for the right person, gifts for moms and dads included, so ask the recipient, or their family and close friends, for a list of activities they would enjoy doing. With a number of workshops popping up, gifting ideas are excitingly endless, like this candle-making workshop from Milk Jar Candle Co. in Calgary, Alberta. It is a great way to learn scent-blending and candle making, while using clean-burning, renewable resources, like coconut soy wax and natural wood wicks.


Here are a number of other ways to help rethink how you gift:

A crocheted lanyard with a light pink coloured heart-shape in the between 2 white crocheted circles. Decorated with a eucalyptus branch on the bottom left
  • Create a homemade gift coupon booklet, which lets the recipient redeem coupons for a number of different things, including free hugs anytime or a one-time professional house cleaning service. It gives the recipient the power to use whichever coupon or service they feel like redeeming at any given time.

  • Pay for services like housekeeping, babysitting, dog-walking, car maintenance or hire a private chef, which makes for unexpected yet beneficial gifts, to help lighten their workload at home.

  • Excite the palate with unique and memorable Canadian dining experiences like these listed here and here.

  • Offer to purchase groceries from these zero-waste stores across the country, They provide a variety of necessities from bulk food items to bath products that are good for you and good for the planet.

Rethink gift-giving by thinking outside the box, while encouraging waste reduction. There are so many aspects that we, as a society, can improve on. It all starts with being open to change and truly thinking about the impact of our choices.


RECOMMEND

‘My number one recommendation is to invest in people.’ ― Paul Romer

Recommending gifts and taking recommendations can be bordering on unconventional gifting. If we normalize creating a wish list for special occasions, it will make life easier for both sides. No more feigning excitement over an unwanted gift, and no more agonizing for days or weeks trying to find the perfect gift.

Front photo of a smiling individual, wearing a light grey sweater opening a brown Kraft box with crumpled tissue paper inside

Here are a few ideas on how you can recommend greener gifting practices setting an example for your family and friends:

  • Ask for products that use less packaging, and insist on natural, handmade materials and reusable products. Avoid items like bubble wraps, cellophane and foam packaging

  • When hosting a gathering, choose reusable dinnerware over disposable ones. Toronto-based Go Out @ Home can help to set up your dining spread with their pre-designed table setting collections.

  • Hint for experience gifts rather than material ones like test-driving a fancy car to reuniting old friends

  • Recommend low-waste gift options like:

  • Good Earth Gifting's eco-friendly gifts

  • Electronic gift cards from their favourite store.

  • Get creative and make a scrapbook of memories, a photo album, or a piece of art

  • If you’re good at writing, create and/or dedicate a poem, story or song for your loved one.

  • Tech-forward gadgets

  • Make a donation under the recipient’s name, to a charity of their choice.

  • Go paperless and personalize then send your greeting cards and invitations online from companies like Free eCards, or our American counterparts Greenvelope.

Gift-giving has always been part of building relationships. Recommending great, innovative and sustainable gift ideas is what we at Good Earth Gifting, aim to do.


REPURPOSE

‘It’s not about what it is; it’s about what it can become.’ ― Dr. Seuss

Creativity is making something marvelous out of things that are dilapidated and ready to be discarded. Repurposing transforms an item and finds another use for it, not originally intended by the creator. Quite simply, it is taking one thing and using it as something else. Unleash your inner craftsperson and use scrap materials to create unique, one-of-a-kind gifts that add beauty to your own space or someone you love. Before disposing of any item or household furniture, consider the ways in which they could be repurposed.


Below are brilliant crafts and ideas on how you can turn trash into treasures:

A collection of DC comics: X-Men, Spiderman, Silver Surfer, Colonial Aliens Marines
  • Old maps and comic books can be used as wrapping paper.

  • Repurpose old clothes and scraps of fabric like denim, fleece, cotton into soft items around the house like robes, quilts, pillowcases and bathroom mats.

  • If you’re hosting a meal at home, serve your baked treats on these DIY cake stands and dessert tiers, made with repurposed items.

  • Use mason and other glass jars as pantry organizers or a container to give out your goodies in.

  • Turn different types of cans into wall art.

  • Cut up old socks and winter accessories, and sew them into plush toys like these adorable sock animals.

  • Start a repurposing project with the family. They're a fun way to spend quality time while learning new skills.

  • Literally, anything can be turned into something, even toilet paper rolls can be made into mandala wall art.

Repurposing and upcycling have become a lifestyle trend in the past couple of years, proving the importance of sustainable living. In fact, the British Columbia Institute of Technology offers a course called the Upcycled Design Project, which teaches students to repurpose materials into beautiful and functional furniture designs.


Why not try your hand at creating your next gift?


REPLANT

‘Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.’ ― Robert Louis Stevenson

Did you know interacting with plants and trees can make people happier, healthier, and calmer? Or that they put you in a better mood? Plants purify and eliminate harmful toxins in the air and have been shown to reduce stress and improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent. It makes the perfect addition to any home or workspace.


Due to deforestation and the continual increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, replanting trees in areas affected by unsustainable harvesting should be more important than ever. Good Earth Gifting is proud to be paying it forward to Replant.ca Environmental!