7 Green Gift Ideas for Christmas
Christmas is the time of giving, but often this comes at the price of the environment. Wrapping paper and decorations aren’t the only culprits here – the very gift themselves are as well. Big box retailers are able to offer low prices because they use materials that can be processed cheaply. These manufacturers do not necessarily have the Earth’s best interest in mind. This Christmas, take a step towards a greener holiday season with these sustainable gift ideas.
If you have friends who love to cook, potted herbs are a great natural gift that not only looks great but tastes great as well. There are a variety of herbs to choose from but some of the easiest to maintain are rosemary, mint and basil. These herbs also tend to be very fragrant as well so they act as a natural air freshener wherever it is put. You can easily find these at your local green market or nursery. Try to buy organic if available and tie a pretty ribbon around the pot. This is absolutely a gift that keeps on giving especially since most herbs are fairly hardy.
Upcycled Soda Bottle Containers
If you’ve got some empty soda or other plastic bottles lying around, consider upcycling them into useful containers. All it takes is some spray paint, soda bottle, scissors and a little creativity. Does your friend like cats? You can easily cut the bottom of the soda bottle to a cat shape and paint in the rest of the features. You can use fashion these containers in a variety of ways like creating a planter, cookie “jar” and even a small jewelry organizer. The beauty of this gift is you can create several different looking gifts all from the same base of a soda bottle.
If your friend or loved one is into home fragrances a homemade oil diffuser is a great idea. Many store bought oil diffusers contain a lot of synthetic chemicals. Luckily, you can easily whip up a more natural and sustainable solution by using a combination of different essential oils in an old jar or glass bottle. Before mixing fragrances together, it’s a good idea to make note of any scents your intended recipient does not like so you can avoid them. It might take some experimentation, but once you’ve found one that works put it all together and be sure to include the recipe when you gift it. This way if they run out they can make it themselves at home.
Terrariums have been all the rage for a while because they’re very simple to maintain and can fit even the smallest containers. Why not take advantage of that and give the gift of nature in necklace form? You’ll need a very small glass bottle charm, jump ring, soil, a small plant and a chain. Carefully fill the small bottle with some soil and then transplant the small plant into the bottle with a pair of tweezers. Attach the jump ring to the top ring on the glass bottle and then pull the chain through. Be sure you carefully wrap the glass portion of the bottle with some bubble wrap as it is very delicate. It’s a cute and all-natural piece of jewelry that is bound to impress whoever receives it.
Are you a natural in the kitchen? Do your friends rave about your cooking? If you said yes to either of these it’s time you use your talents and gift the people you care about with some of your delicious recipes. So long as you have some jars with lids, you can pretty much make anything from delicious pesto, hot salsa to marinara sauce. Whatever you choose, make sure to give them enough. If you want you can even include some recipes to go along with the sauces. Wrap the top of the jar with a nice piece of fabric and string or just tie a ribbon around it when you gift it.
There’s a huge market for candles even in this day and age. The glow of fire provides a kind of charm that standard lights can’t. If you know someone who loves candles, you can create some for them. But instead of the standard candles, get creative and put them in some old teacups. You might have some lying around you no longer use because of some damage or you can go to your local thrift store and pick some up for less than a dollar. You’ll just need to pick up that soy wax and fragrance (if you plan to scent the candle) after that and you’re done. There are some great tutorials on making your own candles on the Internet and all it takes is some timing and patience.
Infused Cooking Oil
If you go into any gourmet grocery store, you’ll likely see an aisle of flavored oils. Most of these skew towards the higher price point and why not? They’re delicious. Luckily, you can make your very own flavored oil at home. If, after trying some, you’re feeling generous you can bottle some as a gift to your other gourmand friends. Some great ideas for infusers include: lemon, garlic, basil, rosemary, chili peppers or orange. Mix and match different flavors and spices together until you find one you like and combine it together in some extra virgin olive oil. You will need to set everything sit for about a month until the flavors infuse into the oil, but it is well worth the effort. Present the oil in a nice bottle to your friend, but be sure to keep some for yourself.
As you can see, there are plenty of sustainable gift options this coming Christmas. By just putting in a little time into your gifts you can present your loved ones with gifts that are truly unique and environmentally friendly to boot.