1. Give people gift certificates provided by a local nursery. The recipients can then do their own shopping in spring. This alternative is not only enviro-friendly, but will also reduce holiday stress for you! If the recipients are not already committed to composting, this is a good opportunity for you to impart some recycling information yourself; inform them of the benefits of compost.
2. Give people plants for a holiday gift. A plant is a gift that will "keep on giving". Even if it does die, it can be recycled--by composting it. Think of composting as "recycling plants". Furthermore, a plant doesn't come in a box, so there's no cardboard waste to dispose of. And if you wish to take "saving the planet" to another level with your gift, make sure the plant comes in a fancy container--one too pretty to throw away! There will also be less temptation to cover up fancy containers with tin foil, which is not biodegradable.
3. Give them an inscribed brick such as those offered by the World Bird Sanctuary--or alternatively, by another organization of your choice. These inscribed pavers not only help the organization, but are a gift that will last for generations. Another bonus is that they are usually tax deductible.
Here are a few other ideas and suggestions on how to have a wonderful gift giving holiday season and still be earth friendly.
• Not sure what to get someone? How about a gift certificate? That way you know the gift will be kept
• Make gifts. Everyone appreciates a home-cooked meal or baked goodies
• Consider nonmaterial gifts. Tickets to a sporting event, movie, play, or concert are a real treat! Or make a charitable donation in someone's name
• When you go shopping, bring your own reusable bag
• Think durable! Consider how long an item will last before you make a purchase. Often, a cheaper item will wear out long before it's more durable equivalent
• And, always remember to look for items made with recycled content