We offer gift ideas for cooks and for bookworms, for gardeners and fashionistas, for outdoorsy folk and indoorsy folk, for climate activists. And of course, everyone has that one friend who already has everything. May we suggest a donation to 350 Colorado in their name? It will make them feel so good!
We hope you find these ideas fun, delicious, informative, heart-warming, pretty, toasty, and most of all useful. All our suggestions encourage you to shop locally, organically, and plastic-free; they promote home-cooking, baking, crafting; and help you send your friends into the great outdoors. We always promote environmental learning (books, films etc)!
For budding vegans and vegetarians
The meat and dairy we eat contribute significantly to climate change. With these delicious gifts, aspiring vegans and vegetarians (as well as adventurous cooks of all persuasions!) can trim their carbon budget.
- Home-made Mango and Black Bean Salsa (recipe courtesy Beth Bennett):
- Home-made soup mix in a glass jar is beautiful and carbon-conscious. Try these recipes, for example. Or cheat, and buy ready-made!
- 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!
- Vegan and vegetarian cookbooks are a great kick-starter. Lots of ideas for fabulous cookbooks here and here.
- A CSA membership will keep your family/friends in fresh greens throughout the growing season.
What better way to spend a winter’s evening than curled up with a book? Especially if is was purchased at your local independent bookstore:
The links will take you to a short description or review.
- Lydia Millet, A Children’s Bible
- Greta Thunberg, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference
- This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook
- Barack Obama, A Promised Land
- Sierra Crane Murdoch, Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country
- Richard Powers, The Overstory
- Ruth DeFries, What Would Nature Do? A guide for Our Uncertain Times
For extra energy savings, curl up get or give a rechargeable booklight.
And how about digital subscriptions: Spotify, movie streaming, Audible, Kindle, Duolingo, at-home exercise or a yoga program?
For green fashion lovers
Fashion has become one of the major contributors to the climate crisis through its manufacturing, shipping and marketing practices; the industry is often guilty of treating its workers badly and ignoring the damage to indigenous cultures. Shop “fair trade” or brands that are known for their commitment to environmental sustainability and social justice.
- Or 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.
- Etsy.com offers a huge variety of fashion gifts made by small-scale artists and artisans, including face-masks, hats and blankets.
For all of us who want to get off plastic
- 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. The array of goods is staggering, from foods to kitchen gadgets, toys and do-it-yourself kits of all kinds.
- 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!
- 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
- A Colorado State Parks pass ($80) or a National Parks Pass ($80) may not reduce carbon emissions, but is a powerful reminder why we work so hard to save the planet.
- 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 beginning to seasoned birders there are great on-line courses available at The Cornell Lab Bird Academy.
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 and/or tied with a pretty ribbon 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: