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Sustainability Secrets: Gifting Smart for the Holidays

Margaux J Rathbun, B.S., N.T.P.
Thursday, December 1, 2016

It’s the holiday season and we are endlessly encouraged to get into the gifting spirit. Unfortunately, with all of the extra fun festivities, usually comes extra waste. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season. It’s time to be like Santa, make a list and check it twice!

1. Get crafty – DIY gift making is basically why Pinterest exists! From homemade painted ornaments to mason jar candle holders, there is a plethora of present ideas on the internet! Bonus points if you use materials that have been reclaimed, like wood, jewelry, beads, and glass. Not only will you have fun creating crafty concoctions, the gift receiver will be overjoyed with the fact that you made it yourself!

2. Wrap it up – Traditional gift wrap is not only expensive, it’s bad for Mother Earth. It is estimated that between Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, Americans throw away 35 percent more trash, creating 25 million tons of garbage or about 1 million extra tons per week! Get creative with your gift wrap by using old wallpaper, newspaper, or even decorated store bags. Save the ribbon and boxes from the gifts that you receive and use them for the following holiday.

3. Big things come in small packages – Not only are gift cards and certificates perfect gifts for those who have everything, they are helpful for reducing waste. All you have to do is put them in a recycled envelope and voila! Get creative with the types of gift cards you purchase. You can even make DIY certificates that are good for chores, babysitting, and driving around town.

4. Buy only organic and sustainable products – When it comes to gift giving, be conscience of what you are buying. Where was your gift made and was it fairly traded? What materials were used to make it? Is it something that can be purchased as used to reduce waste in the world? ORGANIC INDIA products are cultivated and processed sustainably, are USDA-certified organic and are fairly traded. Their products also make great stocking stuffers! Being aware of the products you purchase is important because you can feel good knowing that they helped both the planet and the people that produced them.

5. Donate to your favorite charity – One of the most sustainable gifts you can give is a donation to a charity that benefits our planet. There are so many great organizations to choose from and many times, they will provide you with a small gift as a token of thanks. Check out EarthFirst!, The National Wildlife Federation, and The Nature Conservancy.

6. Big family? Draw names! – Instead of buying gifts for every member in your family, agree to draw names! Not only will this save you time and money, it will limit the amount of extra waste that happens during the gift giving season. It also allows you to find that special gift, perfect for the person whose name you picked.

7. Re-gift – Once considered taboo, re-gifting is becoming a popular trend. Did you get something last year that is sitting on your shelf, collecting dust? Would that sweater Mom got you look better on your sister? If you receive something that you really don’t like or need, consider passing it along to somebody who would appreciate it more than you!

8. Go battery-free – Did you know that discarded batteries are a nightmare for our environment? According to the EPA, about 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Before you buy the latest electronic gadget, make sure it can be recharged instead of taking store-bought batteries.


About the Author

Margaux Rathbun

Margaux is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and the creator of Authentic Self Wellness. Her mission is to inspire others to live authentically as their true selves, nourishing their bodies with the nutrients needed to look and feel their absolute best. Margaux lives outside of Portland Oregon with her husband Jeff and their three dogs.