T’is the season for giving and getting, and as a eco-conscious parent, it can also be a stressful time as you try to find the right balance between giving meaningful, environmentally thoughtful gifts and “falling down the rabbit hole” and succumbing to the media hype and pressure from your five year old, to buy the latest “it” gift – regardless of it’s environmental impact. The question is, does it have to be one or the other?
With a nod to the holiday spirit of giving and a second nod to the impact of giving and getting and how this affects the climate change bottom line, we thought we would share some of our favorite seasonal “it” ideas and holiday tips for being a more sustainable and conscientious gift giver. We are offering no judgments or specific recommendations this year as to what gifts to give. We know you are getting multiple e-mails (and probably multiple mailers… “ouch”) everyday on the perfect “green” gift for every age, so we aren’t going to try to compete or add our two cents to that. Instead, we hope the following seven ideas make sense and fit around “the margins” of your gift giving this year. We hope that we can help you feel a little more “in control” as you become a more informed and sustainable holiday gift giver!
1. Join Climate Mama and become a Striding Shopper. This new campaign at Climate Counts helps you support companies that are working everyday to take action on climate change. Support those companies that are making a difference, and let the ones that aren’t know you are not supporting them. In particular, if you are buying “toys” make sure you look up some of the big toy companies at Climate Counts; most of them aren’t striding, or even trying…
2. Join the Union of Concerned Scientist (UCS) Ship it Green Campaign and help educate yourself and the retailers you frequent on ‘cleaner” and ‘greener’ alternatives for shipping and packaging our holiday goods and goodies. Using technology and ideas that already exist the UCS share with us some ideas for reducing carbon emissions and being more sustainable during the holidays.
3. Change.org has come out with a holiday gift guide that helps advance the causes that you or your loved ones may be passionate about. From human rights, and human trafficking, to helping the teacher down the block get the supplies she needs, or supporting your favorite national parks – there is a cause and a gift at Change.org for many of the people on your list.
4. Enjoy and learn from one of the “greenest cities in America” on how to waste less and recycle more during the holidays. Enjoy these great tips direct from the “Big Apple.”
5. Green Gift Monday – Nature Conservancy Holiday Tips for making the holidays “greener.” Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be Monday to learn more about gift giving from the Nature Conservancy!
6. Share Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff and remind the people on your list that everything we consume, buy and play with goes somewhere when we are done with it. You may also want to watch Annie’s new Loops and Scoops with the kids in your life. These are fun short stories about things we see and use everyday in our lives and what happens when we throw these things away. At the holidays, when there is so much pressure for that new “it” present, these short videos may help the kids in your life “think” twice, before they buy or ask you to buy something that won’t matter to them on day 2!
7. Finally – just to make you smile this holiday season…try “elfing” yourself, the kids in your life, or your family pet. (BTW, enjoy the fun, forget the commercialism!)
This post is in support of and was inspired by Jenn at The Green Parent. Jenn is hosting this December Green Moms Carnival, where the Green Moms are blogging about ways to celebrate the holidays “without all the hoopla,” pressure or demands of “buying new stuff.” Check out what these eco-conscious Moms are talking about, from special foods and new holiday recipes, to places to shop for eco-friendly gifts, to ideas for making your own special gifts. Check in with Jenn and let the Green Moms guide you this holiday season on new takes on “old” traditions and new “spins” to incorporate into your family celebrations.