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3 Sustainable Goals for Gift-Giving

December 4, 2007

lugano.jpgAlthough Black Friday was over a week ago, I am just now putting together my Santa’s list for my gift-giving this year. As I become a more conscious environmentalist, its value in my consumer ethos has increased. Therefore, here are my 3 sustainable goals for gifts this holiday season:

1-Give gifts that enrich the lives of their recipients rather than quickly becoming another piece of clutter in their lives. The key to this goal is the experience. Many people see gifts as objects, when in fact service-oriented gifts can be just as rewarding. Verda Vivo offers great examples of this. However, this doesn’t preclude material goods provided they fulfill a need or want in the recipients life, such as a digital camera for an aspiring photographer or a tool kit for a recent grad. For the person that already has everything, a consumable gift can be a great choice, such as lotion or a specialty food item. A truly valuable gift is one that is used by the recipient rather than continually being set aside until enough time has passed to throw it away. Give these kinds of gifts and you’ll not only get better reactions, but you’ll be reducing superfluous materiality.

2-Give gifts that don’t break me financially. It’s important to have sustainable financial habits as well as environmental. Maintaining control over holiday spending results in the freedom come January to continue pursuing your green dreams without the fear of debt overload. Our society tries to put a price tag on love, goodwill, and the holiday spirit. But there is a lot of truth to the old saying “It’s the thought that counts.”

3-Give gifts that have a minimal negative impact on the environment, and optimally have a positive impact. Even when a gift meets the first two qualifications, there often remains some leeway on this one. When faced with two equally appropriate gifts in your price range, choose the one that’s better for the earth. Maybe it means organic, locally produced, or perhaps even “pre-owned.” Don’t be afraid to re-gift an item in good condition that just isn’t working for you; especially if it will work better for someone else.

Still don’t know what to get for someone? Tomorrow I’ll spill the beans on my Top-Secret Sustainable Holiday Gift Idea. Just don’t tell my friends or family 😉

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