10 Alternative Green Christmas Gifts

December 14, 2010 View all articles in General

Our article on green Christmas gift ideas shows you some of the options available for spreading eco-friendliness amongst your friends and family. (You might also want to check out our Green Gifts for Her and Green Household Gifts lists.)  But our globalized consumer society and its impact on the planet are threatening our future wealth and happiness. Knowing that manufacturing causes pollution, it makes sense that you would want to decrease the disposability and waste of the holiday season by giving meaningful, alternative gifts. That's why we've provided a list of some of the best “non-stuff,” alternative gift ideas (which just so happen to be perfect for the people who already have every thing!).

  • 5 Ducks: Through World Vision you can provide a hungry family with hundreds of protein-rich eggs all year long by donating five ducks for $30. A truly sustainable gift, the extra duck eggs and hatched ducklings can be sold to buy medicine or schooling for children, and the fertilizer the ducks produce will increase crop yields. During your gift purchase check out you will have the option of sending a card by mail, email, or from home.
  • Carbon Offset Gift Certificates: Visit Carbonfund.org and give the gift of carbon neutrality this Christmas. 95 percent of every tax-deductible donation to Carbonfund.org supports their carbon offset projects, education, and outreach. You can purchase carbon offsets by category, such as 6,000 miles of air travel for $11.33, or by the ton (1 for $10). When you visit their website and order your gift, you can either personalize it yourself or you can select the e-certificate option.
  • Video On Demand: Instead of giving away hard copies of TV shows and movies, give the people on your list gift cards to Amazon and/or iTunes so they can download (to rent or buy) and watch their favorites. Your gift will be saving the paper of a DVD mailing subscription, as well as the effects of manufacture and waste disposal of store-bought DVDs.
  • Green iPhone Applications: A green app given to friends or relatives with iPhones can help them live more eco-friendly lives. The AroundMe app, for example, helps cuts back on vehicle use by finding businesses within walking distance, while the Tapit app tracks down stores that will let people refill their water bottles for free. Check out iTunes and browse their selection of green applications from $0-$3, or give an iTunes Apps Gift Card for $15 or more.
  • Adopt a Species: With a $40, tax-deductible contribution to the National Zoo, you can adopt an endangered species, such as the giant panda or the Sumatran tiger, for a friend or family member. With your donation you receive a color photo and fact sheet of your animal and a personalized certificate, both of which you can give to your loved one on Christmas. This is the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for both the animal lover and the kid who has too many toys. Just follow the link to the National Zoo's website to get started!
  • Donation to The Dinner Garden: Help the foodie on your list end hunger for American families in need with a donation to The Dinner Garden. They are a nonprofit organization that establishes food security and ends hunger through home and community gardens by providing seeds, gardening supplies, and gardening advice free of charge to everyone in the U.S. A donation of $30 provides 100 school children with enough vegetable seeds to plant home gardens with their families. After you visit The Dinner Garden website and make a donation of more than $10, they will mail a Christmas card to your gift recipient for you.
  • Adopt an Acre: Through The Nature Conservancy, you can help the outdoor enthusiast on your list protect and restore some of the world's most extraordinary plants, animals, lands, and waters . And when you give Adopt an Acre in Australia as a gift, your tax-deductible contribution will be matched by Pew Charitable Trusts, so your gift will have twice the impact. Visit The Nature Conservancy website to make a gift donation of $50 or more to the state or country of your choice and your friend or relative will receive a personalized certificate and special membership materials.
  • Green Concert Tickets: Green Music Group, a Reverb Coalition, helps musicians like Maroon 5 and the Dave Matthews Band make eco-friendly choices for their shows. The carbon footprint of the music industry can really add up with all the buses, branded products, and effects, but by giving your music loving friend or relative concert tickets to shows approved by the Green Music Group, you'll both be bringing about environmental change.
  • Plant 50 Trees: Through Oxfam America, you can have 50 trees planted for $30 in the name of a friend or loved one. The seedlings are planted in Ethiopia and reverse erosion caused by deforestation, provide much-needed shade for coffee and other staple plants, and produce life-sustaining crops like avocados and bananas. Go to the Oxfam America Unwrapped website to pick your gift and your friend or loved one will get a free card.
  • Give Water: Through The Water Project, Inc. website, you can help a friend or loved one provide water to a family in Sudan, Sierra Leone, or Uganda. Each Water Project, Inc. gift card, available for $10 and up, contains a unique tracking code so the recipient can monitor the water project they helped build.



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