4 Ways to Give Gifts Sustainably

Reader Contribution by Kari Klaus and Realty Sage
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Whether you have the time to make gifts by hand or you want to shop online, these 4 ways can make everyone happy this holiday season, including mother nature, by going more sustainable with our gifts. 

Homemade Gifts

By using less waste, packaging, and natural ingredients, homemade gifts are not only thoughtful but can be eco-friendly too. Consider re-purposing fabric scraps, old plates, pieces of lumber, and hat boxes to recreate new homemade ones!

This idea list from Shutterfly has 57 homemade gift ideas including homemade salsa, custom cutting board, dyed handkerchiefs, and teacup candles.

100+ Eco Gift Ideas

Even the savviest green gift givers will likely purchase some of their gifts online this holiday season.

Realty Sage’s 100+ eco gift ideas list contains easy one-click purchases of sustainable products for everyone. Many of these products are made by small businesses, which help to promote local economies and entrepreneurship. 

Gift ideas include recycled plastic toys, zero waste starter kit, upcycled purses, Christmas tree scented soy candles, solar power banks, STEM toys, and more. View the full list of eco gift categories.


Instead of holding onto something which you may never use, give it to someone who will! This is a great way to reduce waste and save money, but this list of 10 rules, that all re-gifters should heed, are necessary to make sure that your re-gifting is successful.

For example, always make sure that the original name tag has been removed, that you are not re-gifting in the same circle of friends and that the gift makes sense and will be enjoyed and used by the recipient. After all, re-gifting in a sustainable way means that your re-gift will finally be used and enjoyed by the recipient. 

Buy Local

Both purchasing from local stores and purchasing locally-made products are excellent ways to support local economies and reduce the environmental impact of shipping and additional protective packaging.

According to Sustainable Connections, “Locally owned businesses make more local purchases requiring less transportation and set up ship in town or city centers which generally means less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.”

However you give this season, I hope that you relish in the delight of giving and the happiness that you will create. 

Happy holidays!

Photo credits: Holiday gift:Kari Shea, Unsplash; Homemade candles: Jillien Minera, Unsplash; Open business sign:Mike Petrucci, Unsplash; Passing gift: Kira auf der Heide, Unsplash.

Kari Klaus is the founder of Realty Sage, a data-driven real estate platform which overlays sustainability intelligence onto home listings. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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