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Give Eco – Give The Right Gift Which Just Might Be Plastic

I just returned from an editorial meeting for a local magazine for which I write. The topic of “Holiday Gift Guide” came up and…how the economy will impact many people’s ideas on what to buy for the holidays…or not buy.

In the process of discussing this “consuming” issue, we mom writers started talking about some of the favorite ways we plan to save money this year. One idea that really struck me was how much waste we produce by giving each other…and you know we moms are guilty, not very useful gifts.

It’s not really the gifts we give to our family or close friends that just contribute to over consumption; it’s the gifts we give to those we just don’t know very well – teachers, the postman, hostess gifts. I mean really, how many bath salts, boxes of candy and candles does one girl need?

We wrestled with this a bit and finally determined…you know what? Gift cards. Yes, it doesn’t sound very eco, but a little bit of plastic might just reduce waste and over consumption. The votes from many of my friends who are teachers is, hands down, gift cards. Our lead writer, Jennifer is a teacher so, Hey, Jennifer, what do you think?

For colleagues and not-so-close friends, gift cards. For the service providers in your life- gift cards.

And, to make them just a bit more eco – our thought was to give Visa/Master Card gift cards that can be used for household items or better yet, gift cards from local stores…supporting local business, particularly those that support local artisans reduces the carbon footprint of the gift.

So, I ask you readers…is this eco to give a tiny bit of petroleum based plastic for Christmas or have I copped out? What do you think?

Photo Credit: Robinsonmay at Flickr Under creative Commons License


  1. I think the local business gift card idea is awesome. I know this is going to sound mean, but I get so many inappropriate gifts even from family members. Hello, I don’t wear jewelry, burn candles, or take bubble baths. So I end up giving a ton of stuff to Goodwill or regifting, but it’s still kind of a waste. So I salute your idea!

  2. The greenest gift may be no gift at all. I mean, do we really need to give a gift to every person who crosses our paths?

    For our family this year we are going to plan a family vacation with the grandparents, my brother, and our little family, instead of doing the usual crazy conspicuous consumption. Well, the grandparents will likely still give the boy presents, but at least this year I am steering them towards experiences (like a year membership to the zoo, music class, etc.). I am going to give only requested items and experiences. It’s difficult to juggle the holiday fun and generosity, and being conscious of the impact of the gifts on the earth, other humans and my bank account.

    Local gift certificates are a great idea.

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