#1 Buy from a company that has a sustainable policy that matches your values.
There is no easier way to give green than to support organizations and companies who are taking action to protect our environment by producing cleaner, safer and purer products. There's a growing number of businesses built around sustainable values to choose from, some of which I have talked about in previous blogs like Love Goodly, Beautycounter and Thrive Market, Noble Carriage for baby toys and Grimms Bluff Vineyards.
Whether you choose your gifts based upon the methods by which they are produced or the ingredients in the products, not only are you giving the gift of green, you are supporting companies who have sound environmental principles built into their business plan and who recognize there is a direct link between our actions and global warming. I call it voting with your dollars. The extra bonus is that not only do you give the gift of green to someone else, but you've also paid it forward for yourself and your children and the planet by supporting green business.
After I suggest this, the next question is always where to find these products and businesses. Fortunately, there are more and more resources popping up every day. The Environmental Working Group and Health Child Healthy World can guide you on everything from skin care products to those best for children's health. The Rainforest Action Network provides insight down to whether your bank is financing companies that put forests and people at risk. One Percent for the Planet has a guide of businesses that pledge 1% of their annual sales to support environmental causes. Greenpeace even has a guide to greener electronics! Many cities, like Santa Monica, have their own sustainability seals for green business that also encourages buying local. Last, but certainly not least, my own company, Greenopia offers local listings for eco-friendly products in cities all over the United States.
#2 The Re-gift.
The concept of recycling does not need to be limited to bottles, cans, paper and plastic bags which is why another choice I offer is to give something you already own but know the other person likes or would appreciate. Maybe it's a sweater, a piece of jewelry or a book they've remarked upon. Some of the best gifts I have ever received are the ones my friends have given me, literally off their backs. I love and collect shawls, and you will rarely find me without one within arms reach. More than one of them has come into my possession as a re-gift from a friend who noticed me coveting theirs as I remarked on the color or texture and often it is made by Jules Allen, which I find to be the perfect weight for any California weather. The re-gift is a particularly green gift as it does even involve putting gas in the car.
#3 The Gift of Love.
My last suggestion, which perhaps should be my first, is always the gift of love. It never goes out of style, is always in season and the perfect size no matter how big or small you are or what age and it is as green as it gets! No harmful side effects to our water or air, and there have been no reports of it killing trees.
But for most of us, love is a complicated subject that gets more instead of less complex as one grows older with girlfriends and boyfriends, spouses and significant others, ex's, "halfs and steps," adopted children, distantly related by blood, or chosen to be related because of shared beliefs. Love is non-denominational and the most popular written and talked about topic in the universe. Yet it is not always top of mind when one is racking their brain for the perfect gift. Perhaps that's because our culture ties so much to the material or for some us love might not be present in exactly the way it once was because of a divorce or broken relationship. But love is by far the greenest gift of all. And in its purest form will be re-gifted to you again and again.
I wish you all a holiday season full of past and present love, re-gifted jewels, as well as boxes and bags of presents from companies creating sustainable work environments and products, staffed by employees who work hard every day to live with a green heart.
A Christmas family gathering!