Published: Dec. 10, 2019 By

The holidays can be a time of celebration and connecting with friends and family, often with the tradition of exchanging gifts. If you participate in this tradition, non-traditional or reusable gifts can help leave a positive impact. Here are four things to consider for a green holiday season.

person gives a gift to a friend, who is covering her eyesGive experiences, not things

Experiences with your friends and family help make new memories—creating a great holiday gift. Additionally, studies have shown that experiences, not things, often bring us happiness.

Gifting experiences does not have to break the bank, either. Maximize quality time with your friends or family with these ideas:

  • Plan a day to bake cookies or cook a meal
  • Take them out for a meal
  • Schedule time to volunteer for a cause that’s important to you both
  • Take them out for a movie or bowling

You can also browse sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial for affordable experiences. Look for discounted tickets to concerts, theater shows, sporting events, classes and more. Be sure to read the fine print and consider alternative dates, cancellation policies and refunds before purchasing.

Choose gifts that reduce waste

Sometimes a new item makes the most sense for someone on your gifting list. Consider reusable everyday items that can help reduce waste. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Travel mugs
  • Water bottles
  • Stainless steel straws
  • Fun reusable shopping bags
  • Snack bags and sandwich wraps
  • Bamboo utensil set
  • Leak-proof food storage containers
  • Gift wrap bags

Plan ahead with online shopping orders

The convenience of online shopping is great for the holidays. Planning ahead and ordering gifts early can help you take advantage of greener shipping options.

Depending on where you’re ordering from, there are sometimes in-store pick up options that can help you avoid shipping costs and cut down on trips made by delivery trucks. Some companies also offer different options to have orders delivered together on the same day or in the fewest possible packages.

And remember to recycle cardboard boxes and packaging material once your items are delivered!

Be mindful of reducing and reusing items

Between holiday get-togethers, gift giving and more, there tends to be an above average amount of waste during the holiday season. Looking for ways you can reduce and reuse not only helps the environment, but it can also save you money.

  • Reuse items you already have on hand to wrap your gifts, such as old maps or fabric.
  • Plan a craft day to make holiday decorations with items you have on hand instead of purchasing new ones.
  • Save any gift bags or wrapping paper you receive with a gift to reuse next year.
  • Consider including a reusable gift wrap bag as part of the gift.

For more ideas, check out the Eco-Cycle Green Holiday Guide.