The 350 Colorado Newsletter Committee got together to bring you these gift ideas that help your friends and family reduce their carbon footprint. There are gifts for cooks and for bookworms, for gardeners and fashionistas, for outdoorsy folk and indoorsy folk, for budding climate activists and seasoned climate warriors. And of course, everyone has that one friend who already has everything. May we suggest… a donation to 350 Colorado in their name is sure to warm their heart!
We hope you find these ideas fun, delicious, informative, heart-warming, pretty, toasty, and most of all useful. Happy December! For tips on having a zero-waste holiday season check out this guide.
For budding vegans and vegetarians
The meat and dairy we eat contribute to climate change. With these delicious gifts, aspiring vegans and vegetarians (as well as adventurous cooks of all persuasions!) can reduce their personal carbon emissions.
- Home-made soup mix in a glass jar is beautiful and carbon-conscious. Try these recipes, for example. Or cheat, and buy ready-made!
- Vegan and vegetarian cookbooks are a great kick-starter. Lots of ideas for fabulous cookbooks here and here.
- For yogis, The Yoga Plate puts vegan cooking in the context of your daily practice.
- Your friends aren’t ready to give up animal products altogether? The Reducitarian Cookbook might be for them!
- Beginning vegans may appreciate help with not-so-common pantry items, like nutritional yeast, miso paste, or simply a generous tray of nuts and dried fruits!
What better way to spend a winter’s evening than curled up with a book?
- Bill McKibben – Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
- Naomi Klein – On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal
- Greta Thunberg – No One is Too Small to Make a Difference
- Jonathan Safran Foer – We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast
- David Wallace-Wells – The Uninhabitable Earth
- Nathaniel Rich – Losing Earth
- Elizabeth Rush – Rising
For extra energy savings, curl up with a rechargeable LED book light!
Or, if you have a book-loving friend who doesn’t use the library, invite them over to discover the local library together!
For green fashion lovers
- Shop thrift stores or consignment stores for cool vintage clothes or jewelry.
- Wash and wrap your thrift-store gifts, and if the recipient is new to “thrifting”, include a note explaining why thrift or consignment stores are your first choice! You can use this 350 Colorado article for inspiration.
- Get some 350 Colorado t-shirts ($20) at your next monthly meeting or tabling event!
For plastic haters
- Many great beauty products now come without a plastic bottle or tube. Lush and other companies make things like shampoo bars, zero-waste toothpaste tablets, etc…
- A gift certificate to a zero-waste bulk store is another great option for those trying to reduce their plastics use.
- Reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, bamboo cutlery sets or reusable straws from glass, bamboo or silicone make great stocking stuffers.
- And of course, a 350 Colorado tote bag ($15) helps keep those plastic bags out of our waterways!
For personal climate control
These practical items come in handy to keep you toasty in winter and cool in summer!
- Draft stoppers for doors and windows help keep energy bills down!
- Warm slippers, a blanket, or scarf can help keep you comfy while turning the thermostat a few degrees down. Bonus points if you buy from thrift or consignment stores!
- Folding bamboo fans make great stocking stuffers, keep you cool with the A/C off, and come in all the colors of the rainbow.
- Give a gift certificate to a reputable nursery so your loved ones can plant a tree! Trees are a major investment, and your friends or family will enjoy this gift for many years. And we’ll all enjoy its CO2 storage.
- There are also numerous programs that let you plant trees in someone’s name. Search online for one that fits your needs.
- Other green gardening gifts, such as a store-bought or home-made mason bee house.
- Buy a composter, or sign the person up for a commercial composting program for a year. Your local waste management company likely has a program. Hip new business models like Scraps in Denver and Soil Cycle in Colorado Springs even include composting pickup by bike!
For nature lovers
For the outdoor recreation lover, visit a consignment sports store or ski-swap to find used equipment such as snowshoes, skis, backpacks & everything your recipient may need for their next big adventure!
For hard-core climate champions
Families could consider springing their December gift-giving budget on a serious investment to reduce their carbon footprint, such as:
- A home energy audit – Excel Energy offers rebates under certain conditions.
- Switching to a residential renewable energy option, such as Excel Windsource or community solar.
- A super energy-efficient refrigerator.
- An electric tankless water heater.
- Energy-efficient windows.
- Getting a brand new Nissan Leaf electric vehicle with the incredible group buy through the Colorado Renewable Energy Society!
Most of the classic rolls of holiday wrapping paper cannot be recycled, so keep the eco-friendly going with easy, creative gift wrapping ideas.
Paper bags adorned with hand-drawn doodles or holiday stickers are festive. Newspapers (if you still get “hard copy” news) can be reused as a fun and informative wrapping paper. Stuff a present in a pretty reusable cloth bag, then you have two presents in one. My new favorite wrapping is using a potato chip bag turned inside out to show off the silvery side.
More creative and stylish gift-wrapping ideas here:
More green gift ideas
You can also check out these websites for more environmentally friendly gifts suggestions:
That’s just the tip of the iceberg – google to find lots more ideas!
Have fun making your year-end gift giving a greener experience!