Roll Up Your Sleeves: Top Secret Sustainabile Holiday Gift Idea

December 6, 2007

Roll Up Your Sleeves is a series of sustainable DIY ideas.

If you actually know me, stop reading now. Seriously.

In trying to be more eco-conscious I’m leaning more toward consumable gifts that maximize experience rather than object gifts that sit around until they take their final trip to the local landfill. This year I think I’ve come up with a gift idea that can be enjoyed by nearly everyone on my list, won’t cost too much, and will only minimally impact the environment. Drumroll please….

Dinner in a Basket

What is it? All the fixings for a wonderful meal for two (or more), premeasured and packaged with an easy-to-follow recipe. The beautiful thing is that not only are you giving a delicious meal, but you’re giving them time with someone they care about. You’ve provided an occasion to create memories. Let’s see a paperweight or tie do that.

How to make it: Pick an easy recipe anyone can make. Ideally it should have very few to no ingredients that require refrigeration, especially if you’ll be mailing the gift. I recommend a pasta with homemade tomato sauce and garlic toast as a simple winner. To make it extra-special, try including fresh peppers and smoked Italian sausage. Food Network and Allrecipes have tons of recipes if you want more options. Measure out the ingredients and place them in small baggies; mix together what you can to reduce the number of bags you need. If there are one or two perishable ingredients that are common, you can assume the recipient will have them on hand. Just make sure they are clearly marked on your recipe! Add a bottle of wine and some nice chocolates or cookies to complete the meal.

Presentation is key. As we’re trying to be sustainable here, I recommend reusing a strong gift bag or basket to store all the different items. A seasonal ribbon if cut long can be easily reused. Make sure to include a copy of the entire recipe along with your abbreviated directions so if they like the meal they can make it again!

Dinner in a basket is a gift appropriate for roommates, couples, and families, and pairs wonderfully with a coupon for an evening of babysitting.  This Christmas, my mom and I will be mass producing this gift for 4-5 couples we know. By multiplying the meal we can save on ingredients and spend an afternoon together- a gift itself.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve this gift, especially packaging alternatives, please comment and let us know!  Recipes would be great too 🙂


One comment

  1. Instead of adding packaged cookies, include pre-made dough for the cookies that they can either freeze or use right away and/or if you are mailing the gift, put the dry ingredients in a bag and include the recipe…

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