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Five Tips for A Greener Gifting Season

sustainable living Dec 15, 2016

The old maxim that ‘it’s better to give than to receive’ is one that certainly gets tested to breaking point around this time of year. Not many would dispute that there’s something wonderfully rewarding about finding and giving the perfect gift, but the likes of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and a horribly packed high street can, frankly, make shopping for it a bit of a nightmare.

We figured that the best way to restore the deeper pleasure in giving is probably to double the benefit: what better way to redress the balance than to find a pressie that not only suits the recipient down to the ground, but that also gives a little back in some way? Here are five handy gifting tips we’ll be using to hopefully brighten someone’s Christmas this year, while potentially giving the environment a little boost into the bargain...


This is a guest post by Sam Butterworth, a writer with a keen interest in sustainable living and environmentalism. We hope that you find it enjoyable and informative.


  1. Animal adoption and sponsorship

Many leading global eco charities offer adoption and sponsorship packages, and it really is an incredibly rewarding way to both support their efforts and to engage others (particularly young people) with ongoing conservation projects and a broader appreciation of environmental awareness. At the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), for example, you can pledge support for a snow leopard, giant panda, penguin, Bengal tiger, dolphin or many other threatened or vulnerable species for as little as $3 per month. Rewards include beautifully printed fact packs, a cute cuddly toy mascot, and regular updates on the progress of specific initiatives supporting your chosen animal. Similar schemes are run by the likes of Born Free, the Galapagos Conservation Trust and many more besides. They really do make great low-cost present options...and they last a good deal longer than Boxing Day, too.


  1. Green pamper products

Everyone loves a good indulgent soak or scrub, and there are currently a number of very environmentally dedicated companies out there promoting luxurious ranges of bath, body and beauty products that come backed by a litany of strong eco commitments. Some names worth looking out for include the likes of Green People, Faith in Nature, Kaffe Fassett and of course Burt’s Bees; collectively, these brands display many of the key product tags we like to see, such as Certified Cruelty-Free, paraben-free, organic, biodegradable, vegetarian, made from sources of sustainable palm oil, and with zero plastic microbead content. Ethical Superstore is a particularly handy one-stop web shop for finding many of these sorts of brands in one place, plus they also offer sustainable gift-wrapping and charity add-on options at checkout if you want to feel even better about your giving.


  1. Endangered Species Chocolate

Ok, so not the healthiest option on our list...but hey, if you can’t indulge a little at Christmas, when can you? Besides, this company goes quite a bit further than most to assuage any lingering guilt  – not only are their high-end treats attractively packaged and ridiculously tempting (sea salt and almond, anyone? Or maybe you’re more of a lemon poppy seed type?), but they also redirect 10% of all profits to a number of foundations and institutes that directly support urgent conservation projects across a diverse range of global habitats. This is backed by a guarantee of donating at least $10,000 per year to each of their current GiveBack Partners – including such projects as SEE Turtles, the Rainforest Trust, the African Wildlife Foundation and the Xerxes Society for Invertebrate Conservation – and total donations have already amounted to over $1.2m in the past three years. You’d have to call that a bit of a win-win, surely?


  1. Eco gifts to improve your family’s health

That’s right: if you know where to look, you can even find several smart options out there that will help burn off any festive over-indulgences while simultaneously giving your family’s green credentials a valuable new year’s boost. One we particularly like is the Friends of the Earth (FoE) Green Oil Eco-Rider Deluxe Bicycle Set, which offers a variety of maintenance and upkeep tools (all of which are, of course, environmentally friendly and sustainably sourced) that’ll come in mighty handy for anyone looking to increase their pedal power in 2017. The FoE site also stocks a nice little selection of books and products offering numerous fun, healthy activities to help get you all outdoors and enjoying nature whatever the weather, be it Gardening with Kids, Fairtrade footballs, kits for making your own bird feeders, or even 70 fun things to do with sticks (take that, Xbox!).


  1. Homemade presents from reclaimed pallet wood

We put out a blog here on Beyond Vitality earlier this year detailing several great little DIY craft projects that you can make fairly quickly and easily with just a couple of reclaimed pallet boards and a few basic tools. The guide also includes tips on sourcing discarded pallets safely and responsibly, and the gift-friendly projects we’ve highlighted include such handy perennial favourites as tea light holders, birdhouses and wall art. Don’t stop at our suggestions, though – once you’ve got the crafty sustainable woodworking bug, you’ll find there’s a vast catalogue of spot-on present ideas right there at your fingertips. Just look out for splinters, ok?


Photo credits: Bellenza


About the Author

Sam Butterworth is a writer with a keen interest in sustainable living and environmentalism. He has worked for newspapers, magazines, and looks after the blog at eC02 Greetings. He is also a copywriter and writes fiction when time permits.


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