When you begin the transition to become conscious of sustainability in your own personal consumption and lifestyle choices, you are quickly faced with a multitude of challenges: avoiding eco-unfriendly packaging, overconsumption, and finding trusted local options for food and other necessities. One of the most common challenges is to rethink gifting. We all care deeply about our family and friends and want to make them feel that love through thoughtful gifts, but the truth is, from the packaging to the wrapping, the vast majority of “gifts” out there are far from sustainable.
To help you continue on the sustainable lifestyle journey we have included a list of eco-friendly gifting ideas to show your love for people while also showing your love for our planet.
1. Plant something!
There are so many spring bulbs available that bloom in the late-spring and summer months. Nothing is better than sitting outside and enjoying spring and summer blossoms. Even without a yard, flower boxes can be purchased for indoor and outdoor use.
In addition, if you have the space, buy a tree sapling to plant with your loved ones! Not only are you giving back to the Earth, you are giving a gift that will continue to grow year after year. Being outdoors and enjoying nature is an easy and free activity to do with your friends and family!
2. Cook a meal
As Chef Joe Bastianich says, “In Italy, food is an expression of love. It is how you show those around you that you care for them. Having a love for food means you also have a love for those you are preparing it for and for yourself.” So why not cook a meal for your loved ones to celebrate their birthday or special occasion? This can be done in person or remotely. Decide on a recipe beforehand, purchase locally made organic ingredients, and make a delicious meal to share with family and friends.
A great gift to go with this activity is a set of sustainably made bamboo cooking utensils or beeswax food wrap for saving leftovers. Soyummy.com also has a great list of sustainable cook wear that is essential for the eco-friendly kitchen.
3. Deliver brunch
Ordering a meal supports local businesses while celebrating the people in your life and staying safely socially distant. Apps like postmates and Grubhub make it possible for food to be delivered right to your door. You could even order flowers along with groceries to be delivered and brighten up their day. This is a simple way to say, “thinking of you”, from thousands of miles away.
4. Get crafty!
An activity for those who want to make something personal is to take an online DIY workshop! Many cities, such as Salt Lake City, are offering classes such as Crochet and cocktail making. It may be useful to check the website of the city you live in to see if they offer any special occasion activities. Painting and wine nights have also started popping up all over the world to be creative while also having a social event with your favorite folks!
Finally, National Geographic posted a how-to on making a birdfeeder that reuses old plastic bottles and can be done with kids! All of these activities can be done in person or over Zoom. Completing a DIY project is a great way to spend time with your loved ones.
5. Take an Online Fitness Class
If you're feeling up for it, there are countless online fitness classes being offered today. Sweat with Self is one example of a fitness studio offering free online HIIT, cardio, strength training and more. If you or your loved one prefers a gentler approach to movement, try taking a yoga class or a meditation session. Not only is this a great way to spend time together, but you can also release pent up anxiety and stress together! Many local studios are offering online practice, as well as fitness gurus like Adriene Mishler.
To accompany the class you can gift them an eco-friendly yoga mat and storage tube! Check out Mache’s eco-friendly yoga mat tubes as well as The Good Trade’s list of the top 9 favorite sustainable yoga mats and accessories.
6. Take a Tour of an Art Museum… from Home
What’s better than spending a Sunday strolling through a garden or taking in the sights of a world-famous art museum? Thanks to the digital age, you can visit any top museum from the comfort of home! Take them on a 360 tour through the Louvre or explore the entire Smithsonian in an afternoon. My personal favorite is a visit to Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny.
7. Offer to Clean the House or Help Out
Chores and housework are never an enjoyable task. Instead of giving a physical gift try gifting them an eco-friendly house cleaning service for a day. Along with this cleaning gift you could send a package of sustainable cleaning supplies or sustainable sheets. Our favorite brands are Blueland for cleaning supplies and Ettitude for 100% eco-friendly bamboo silk sheets.
You could also offer to babysit their children or watch their dog for while they go on vacation or a night out. Helping them out with day-to-day life will not be quickly forgotten, like a new shirt or candle!
Send a Wellness Care Package
Last but not least, if you absolutely cannot be with your loved ones on special occasions, you can send a care package. This can include pictures, handwritten notes, flowers, snacks, or anything you feel fit to make them feel special on this day. We love the idea of sending:
- Reusable water bottle
- Eco-friendly hand sanitizer
- Mache Yoga Mat Tube
- Homemade mask
- Hand-written card
Sending a care package not only says, “I’m thinking of you”, but provides necessary items to keep your loved ones safe during unprecedented times.
No matter what you decide, there are multiple ways to show your friends and family that you are grateful for them. Try to think outside the box and choose products or services from brands that are eco-friendly, sustainable, and who offer transparent practices. Share this information with your loved one to help spread awareness of conscious companies and your desire to contribute to a better world for us all.
Remember, every dollar you spend can be a vote for the planet.