The amount of waste and waist gain over the holidays has become a sort of perennial joke. Do the holidays have to be a time for extravagant spending, eating and excess, or can we opt for holiday gift-giving that is better for ourselves and the planet? The answer to the latter is an emphatic “YES!” If you’re looking for ways to show your love this holiday season, avoid wasteful giving and unhealthy foods. Instead, choose one of these healthy and green gifts.
Memberships can be both healthy and green. A gym membership allows your friends and family to make good on their annual New Year’s resolution to shed a few pounds. However, you don’t need to limit a membership gift to just the gym. Membership in an arts organization often allows for free or discounted entry for the whole year. Day spas, dance schools and museums are other places to consider purchasing a membership as a gift. Such memberships have an added bonus for both giver and recipient: Long after the holiday season is over and the elation of gift time is gone, your gift will still mean as much as it did on the day you gave it.
Health Food Cookbooks
Health food cookbooks are another way to give a person a present that will truly last all year. For the friend struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a healthy food cookbook gives her a tangible way to meet her goals. People trying to eat healthier often complain that they don’t know how. What better way to support them than with the gift of a cookbook giving direct instructions? This is the perfect gift for the culinary expert who is looking for a way to tweak their own richer creations. Combining the best of green and healthy, the right cookbook can help a person to eat healthier, not just for themselves, but for the entire planet.
While a puzzle book won’t directly help a person shed pounds or lower their cholesterol, but it will help him to keep his mind sharp. This is no idle exercise. Studies show that doing mentally challenging puzzles, such as Sudoku, have a tangible effect on brain health. While the effects might take decades to manifest, your friends should thank you now for the decreased chance that they will suffer from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or dementia later in life.
Tea sets have a greening effect. Rather than getting a wasteful cup of tea in a paper cup, your friends can make their own. Most people already have a kettle and mugs in their home, however, having your own elegant tea set is certainly an encouragement to make more tea around the house.
Tea also offers incredible health benefits. Many kinds of tea contain antioxidants, which are crucial in helping to prevent cancer. Tea drinkers also have a diminished propensity towards heart disease and strokes. Finally, drinking lots of green tea every day can increase the speed of your metabolism. For the person looking to get healthy in the new year, a classy tea set can make a great gift.
Responsible Children’s Gifts
Holiday gift-giving really is for kids more than anyone else. One main issue when giving to children is that they often already have more than they need. A membership to a children’s museum can work just as well for a kid as a gym membership can for an adult. If you prefer toys and games, make sure that they’re made of products that are friendly to the environment, were manufactured and transported in a sustainable fashion and, of course, are non-toxic.
For the child too young to appreciate such things, there’s Plum. Plum works like Spotify or Netflix for baby clothes. Those with little ones know how quickly they go through clothing, so nothing is a better gift for the new parents in your life than a subscription to this service.
For the Green Geek
You don’t have to get the gadget aficionado in your life something made with unethical labor that will soon take up space in a landfill. The market now offers nifty, planet-friendly innovations, such as, cork iPad cases, biodegradable wrist watches, water-powered clocks and paper shredders powered by human sweat, not electricity. These all appeal to the tech-minded person who is always looking for a new, innovative take on the same old thing. Of course, you can’t discount the green value of an e-reader or tablet for Christmas, either. Read the reviews to make sure you select the right tablet for the recipient’s needs. The number of books saved over the life of the tablet will certainly make the planet smile a little bit.
For the Crafty Person
For the crafter in your life, there is one perfect gift this holiday season: A copy of Happy Gloves and Sock and Glove by Miyako Kanamori. This book gives detailed instructions on how to convert orphaned socks and gloves into cute animals. Not only will this provide that person with a way to green up their life, it makes for opportunities for the recipient to pay it forward, giving a green gift to their friends, rather than just throwing out mismatched socks and gloves.
Greening Up The Holidays
Whether you opt for something healthy or something green this holiday season, you’ll be making a subtle statement. All too often we forget to take ethical and health considerations into mind when shopping for our loved ones during the holiday season. Buying gifts like the ones above show the people in your life just how much you care about them — and the world they live in.
Nicholas Pell is a freelance finance and business writer based out of Los Angeles, CA. He loves the thrill of a good deal and living well on a budget. He has made his own holiday gifts for over ten years and his family seems to be OK with it.