10 Sustainable Holiday Gift Ideas: a guest post by Shannon Sullivan

This sustainable gift guide will help you give with the environment in mind this holiday season. In my family, I’m known for two things: my commitment to the environment (I’ve taken bags of frozen food scraps on public transportation to the nearest compost site) and my gift-giving skills. I wanted to combine these two aspects to choose the perfect sustainable gifts this year—and I thought I’d share my expertise!
Here are my top 10 sustainable holiday gift ideas for every recipient:

1. Recycle, but make it fashion: Ideal For The Project Runway Binger

For a fashion-forward friend, consider clothing made from recycled plastic bottles or upcycled fabric. More and more brands are adding pieces made from recycled materials, from athletic wear by Girlfriend Collective and Patagonia to luxury fashion from Prada and Gucci. Who knew sustainability could be so chic?

2. Steel drinking from plastic: Ideal For The Sustainability Beginner

Tired: plastic water bottles.

Wired: stainless steel water bottles.

They’re sleek, stylish, and more eco-friendly than reusable plastic bottles. Stainless steel bottles also tend to be insulated, so your recipient can use it for coffee, tea, or soup.

3. Waste not, want not: Ideal For The Gardener/Home Cook

You don’t need a backyard, or even a lot of space to compost! A composter makes the perfect sustainable holiday gift for someone who wants to minimize their waste or up their gardening game. Compost, made up of nutrient-rich organic material, soil, and water, is excellent plant fuel.

4. DIY it up: Ideal For The Hardest To Shop For

One of the most heartfelt—and sustainable—gifts you can give is something that you make yourself! Tap into your creative side to make something tailored to your giftee, be it their favorite cookies, a piece of art, or a product of your cross-stitching hobby.

5. Go all the way waste-free: Ideal For The Activist

The most sustainable gift is one that has no packaging at all! Donating in your giftee’s name to an environmental nonprofit or projects, like the GlobalGiving Climate Action Fund, goes even further by protecting forests and endangered species and helping communities around the world become more sustainable.

6. The gift of responsible relaxation: Ideal For The One Who Needs To Take A Breath

Put together a kit for sustainable self-care! Pick a few minimal or no-waste favorites like bath bombs, solid lotion, bar soap, and solid shampoo and conditioner. You can even add a safety razor for a waste-free shaving option. Bonus points if you can find a Do Not Disturb sign made of sustainable bamboo.

7. One in a billion: Ideal For The Social Media Star

For the person in your life who is attached to their phone—so, just about everyone—check out these sustainable phone cases. One billion phone cases are produced from plastic each year and will end up spending far longer in a landfill than they did in their user’s pocket. Cases made from cork or plant-based materials can be recycled or composted!

8. Zero-waste starter pack: Ideal For The Recent Sustainability Convert

If your recipient is committed to a plastic-free lifestyle but doesn’t know where to start, look no further than a zero-waste kit! With basics like reusable sandwich bags, cloth produce bags, shampoo bars, and beeswax wrap, a kit is the perfect gift to set someone up for their waste-free journey.

9. Along for the ride: Ideal For The Adventurer

Giving an experience rather than an object is the ultimate sustainable gift. Check out a masterclass, an annual pass to national parks, or a you can both try. After all, the greatest gift is being able to spend time together!

10. A virtual gift for the virtual age: Ideal For The Socially Distanced Giftee

Another waste-free gift option is a digital gift card. Bought and used completely online, you don’t have to wrap it or worry about it arriving on time. A GlobalGiving Gift Card lets the recipient choose from thousands of nonprofit projects—working for every cause from coral conservation to forest regeneration—to support in 170+ countries. You can give the sustainable holiday gift that keeps on giving with a GlobalGiving Gift Card.

Shannon Sullivan was raised in North Carolina and currently resides in Washington, DC. After graduating from New York University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in French, she interned at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York and then spent several months in France teaching English to elementary school students. She works at GlobalGiving.com, a nonprofit that supports other nonprofits in more than 170 countries, as part of the Marketing and Communications team.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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12 Responses to 10 Sustainable Holiday Gift Ideas: a guest post by Shannon Sullivan

  1. Sustain blog says:

    Writing about sustainable gift ideas is timely. Thank you…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Dr Bob Rich,

    My congratulations to Shannon Sullivan on writing a very fine guest post!

    Happy December to you and Shannon during this festive season as we approach 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you, dear friend.
      I have followed Shannon’s advice before even reading it: my gift to my grandbabies in Sydney is the board of a game we play in our family. It is “Hoppity Board,” a development of Chinese Checkers. Making the board took me perhaps 10 hours of loving work. You can’t buy that in any shop.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Dr Bob Rich,

        According to https://www.themodernrogue.com/articles/2018/7/2/5-board-games-with-dark-pasts

        Chinese Checkers Was Made To Capitalize On Americans Thinking Asians Were Weird
        Chinese Checkers certainly sounds like a mystical, Far Eastern game, possibly invented by Confucius to teach and delight the minds of ancient peoples. Well, if you think that, you’ve pretty much nailed what the game’s marketers are hoping.
        Despite what the name might suggest, Chinese Checkers was actually invented in the 1800s by Germans. The Germans, being a no-nonsense people, named their new game Hoppity because of, you know, the hopping. By 1883, “Hoppity” was changed and renamed “Helma” and more closely resembled the Chinese Checkers we know today. “Helma” was reasonably successful in Britain and other parts of Europe, but the makers of the game decided to sell the game in America. This would require new, clever, and — because it was intended for American audiences in the 1920s — kind of racist marketing.

        American Checkers just has one hole, and it’s occupied by the richest player.
        The roaring 20s were an exciting time for Americans. Big band music was on the rise, drinking alcohol was suddenly a sexy, illegal activity, and we’d discovered King Tut’s tomb. Strangely, it was that last little bit that American marketers latched onto, and they renamed Helma “Chinese Checkers” to reflect American’s growing interest in the Far East. And although that sounds incredibly stupid, it totally worked.
        Eventually, Milton Bradley bought the rights to the game and stopped prominently displaying racial characters on the box, though they didn’t feel like changing the name to something more accurate like “German Hoppy Pegs.”


      • Dr Bob Rich says:

        Call it what you will, wherever it came from, it’s a kids’ game. Our version is more complex, and more fun. For a start, it has one more set of holes, so there are 15 marbles in each triangle. Second, you can make (and chain) hops of any length as long as they are symmetrical.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Dr Bob Rich,

        Ten hours of crafting the Hoppity Board! I would like to look at a photo of your labour of love for your grandbabies in Sydney, please.

        Speaking of labour of love, I have worked diligently on https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2020/11/11/strong-wind-knows-tough-grass/

        The said post has been greatly expanded since you last visited it. There are now not just extra stories and analyses for you to check out, but also some appealing animations for you to savour. I have even quoted an Italian proverb that has a similar or identical meaning to the Chinese idiom used in the first line of the Tang dynasty poem.

        Moreover, I have replied to both of your comments there, and I await your responding to them.

        Have a wonderful festive season as we approach 2021!


  3. Waste not!
    Want not!
    Why not?


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