7 environmentally-friendly gift ideas

Dr. Marita Schauch Blog

This time of year is full of friends, family, good food, holiday parties, gifts, and, unfortunately, waste.

Each year, the average Canadian spends nearly $2,000 on Christmas, eats 80% more food during the holidays, and throws away enough packaging to stretch around the world 500 times.

While these stats are staggering, you don’t need to go cold-turkey on holiday gift-giving. However, there are a few ways you can make Christmas more sustainable by finding environmentally-friendly options.  Here are a few ideas:

1. Handmade, local goods:

Every city has local artisans, and doesn’t it feel good to support them versus large corporations with a large carbon footprint? Whether you’re stuffing your kids’ stockings or finding a gift for a colleague, source local products such as Picot Collective’s Honey Tobacco goods, mugs from your local potter, or essential oil blends from a sustainable shop.

2. Plants

Not only do plants help cleanse the air in your home, they’ve also been proven to help boost mood and enhance concentration and memory. Plus, they’re uber trendy, appropriate for family, friends, and colleagues, and don’t require any wrapping!

3. Homemade baking

Everyone loves receiving baked goods made with love. Try these clean holiday baking recipes (my favourite is the chocolate coconut bars!) for a thoughtful gift.

4. Reusable coffee mugs

Reusable coffee mug company Keep Cup reported that every minute of every day, one million disposable cups are used and thrown away. Further studies found that less than one percent of coffee cups end up being recycled. While there are many projects that help promote the use of reusable coffee mugs, we all need to get on board with the initiative. The best way to do so? Gift this much-needed item to friends and family, and spread the word.

6. Homemade self-care products

Who doesn’t love receiving bath salts, body scrub, or body butter? Give that person in your life a TLC toolkit with homemade, organic products, and have fun making them! Package the goods in mason jars and complete the presentation by wrapping a tweed bow around the lids. If getting crafty isn’t your thing, find a local company that makes quality products, such as Steele & Co Soap Company or Nezza Naturals.

7. Donate to a cause

Skip the material gifts all together and donate to a cause. Round up a few friends to donate what they would have spent on gifts and give back to organizations such as the Mustard Seed food bank. For the month of December, there is a donation box at Tall Tree Integrated Health, the clinic I work out of. Drop by to give a food or cash donation and help end hunger and homelessness in the Greater Victoria area.