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    A Sustainable Gift Guide

    The long-awaited holidays are filled with quality time spent with loved ones near and far. As we search for collective action for a healthier planet, it’s especially important to pursue a sustainable holiday season. 


    Think outside the box this season—not only with what you gift, but with how you give it. Here are some ideas for creative gift wrapping that will wow your loved ones as they unwrap their special present, as well as gifts that break the mold of traditional giving:

    Reusable Wrapping

    Use a tote bag

    • Utilize tote bags, a versatile and reusable option for wrapping gifts.
    • Choose bags made from eco-friendly materials like organic cotton or jute.

    A wrapping re-do

    • Repurpose scarves as gift wrap for a touch of elegance and reuse.
    • Encourage recipients to reuse the scarf as an accessory or clothing item.

    Re-use the news

    • Give old newspapers a new life by using them as wrapping paper.
    • Decorate with a pop of color using recycled ribbons or twine.

    Call on Mother Nature

    • Opt for twine made from natural fibers for a rustic and eco-friendly touch.
    • Add sprigs of pine, dried flowers, or leaves for an organic and charming presentation.

    Make Memories that Last

    Gift an experience

    • Offer the gift of memories by giving experiences instead of physical items.
    • Consider tickets to a movie, a play, or a concert for a fun and enjoyable outing.
    • Plan a shopping trip, a dinner date, or an afternoon coffee to spend quality time together.
    • Explore local holiday markets and create lasting memories while supporting local artisans.

    Craft a make-your-own voucher

    • Create personalized vouchers offering services or activities you can do for your loved ones.
    • Offer to cook a special meal, organize a movie night, or provide a relaxing massage.

    Bake homemade treats

    • Bake delicious homemade treats like cookies, jams, or sauces to show your love. 
    • Present them in reusable containers, encouraging sustainability beyond the gift itself. Make sure to share the recipe!

    The Art of Snail Mail

    In this digital age, the art of handwritten letters often takes a backseat to emails and instant messages. Still, there’s something incredibly personal about receiving a letter in the mail. This holiday season, rekindle the tradition of sending handwritten letters to those who have made a positive impact on your life. Here’s a guide to get you started on your “snail mail” journey:


    Begin with gratitude
    Prompt: “Dear _____, I wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude for…”


    Share a memory
    Prompt: “One memory that always brings a smile to my face is when we…”


    Highlight their impact
    Prompt: “Your wisdom and guidance have been a guiding light in my life. I often reflect on the time you…”


    Express your love
    Prompt: “As the holiday season approaches, I send you my warmest wishes for…”


    Who should make the mailing list?
    Think outside the box when writing a letter of gratitude this season. Whether it’s someone you’ve been meaning to reach out to for awhile now or a loved one you’re in regular contact with, the gesture is all the same when that piece of thoughtful mail arrives. Consider mailing a card to old teachers, mail carriers, a boss or co-worker, old friends, family members, or mentors. 


    Gifts that Keep on Giving

    As we celebrate the holiday season, embrace the idea of gifts that not only bring joy in the moment, but contribute to a better and more sustainable world in the long run. Think beyond the traditional gifts and consider these impactful ways to make your gifts keep on giving:


    Donate to a nonprofit in their name
    In the spirit of giving, make a donation in your loved ones name to a nonprofit that they care about. For causes that are close to their heart, this gesture goes a long way in creating a lasting impact for a cause they are passionate about.  


    Shop locally for sustainable impact
    Gifts that are made by local artisans and businesses support the wonderful community in which we live. Not only does it support creative talent, but it promotes a more sustainable lifestyle. By shopping locally, we can all work to reduce our carbon footprint, preserve Columbia’s unique community, and encourage economic growth for local businesses. 


    Environmental and economic benefits abound

    • When shopping locally, there is a reduction in transportation emissions due to shorter travel distances for products.
    • You support local farmers and artisans directly when shopping locally, who often employ sustainable practices.
    • Shopping locally has a huge impact. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, about $68 stays in the local economy, compared to only $43 when spent at a non-local chain store (Civic Economics Study).