A Different Type of Holiday Green

Are you struggling to find the perfect gift for that special someone? I gave up on trying to find the perfect gifts for people a long time ago.

Striving for perfection is the greatest stopper there is.… It’s your excuse to yourself for not doing anything. Instead, strive for excellence, doing your best. – Sir Laurence Olivier

In any case, the Minnesota Pollution Control offered some great green gift ideas that are close to perfect in my opinion.  I will say I am super green when it comes to wrapping gifts because I haven’t used ribbon or a bow in I don’t know how many years. I prefer to use gift bags and always re-use them and make sure none get thrown out at the end of the evening.

I always ask for acts of service as gifts for me and quality time gifts for the kids from others.  I realize these are the most precious of gifts because they require time, but I never thought about them being green too.

I hope you find the information from Living Green 365 as informative as I did.

Season’s green-ings

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons add up to an additional 1 million tons a week to the nation’s garbage piles.

This holiday season consider a new tradition–one that creates less waste, less stress, and more memories.

The idea list
Lessons. A lot of people would like to try new things, but won’t spend the money on themselves. A gift certificate might be just the item for someone who would like to begin a new hobby or polish the skills they have already learned. Perhaps you have can even teach them one of your special talents, like how to cook a family recipe.

Time and energy.  Friends or relatives may value help with snow shoveling, vacuuming, or organizing as a gift. Try our downloadable gift certificates as a way to present your gift.

Reused items. Many gifts can be purchased second-hand. Look at Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse directory and ReUse Minnesota for a list of shops. To help you find the perfect present,  choose a shop that specializes in one type of reuse, like kids stuff or sports gear.

Hand made or up-cycled items. This is a spin on the reused idea, but includes artsy, unique and personal touches. You can tackle your own projects or look to local shops.

  • Find shops that sell collectibles, vintage wear, or antiques
  • Gift hand-knit or home-sewn items
  • Create a book of family recipes


Experiences. There are endless possibilities here. A few to get you started:

  • Minnesota State Parks Permit or Giftcard, for access to all 76 Minnesota state parks
  • Minnesota Ski Pass: Access to ski in Minnesota’s State Parks and Grant-in-Aid Trails
  • Passes to a museum or membership to a community center or park
  • Tickets to a concert or play

Living green items. Help others in their living green journey. Ideas include:

  • Metro Transit bus passes
  • LED light bulbs
  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Locally made or Minnesota grown products
  • The Chinook Book, a coupon book for Twin Cities green businesses
  • A rain barrel
  • A counter-top compost pail

Gift wrapping
Did you know that our national annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons? And did you know that if every family just reused two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet? This year, why not try a new way of wrapping that is elegant, fun, and green? Try Furoshiki!

More ways to reduce holiday waste

  • Carry reusable shopping bags with you when you go holiday shopping
  • Select  reusable batteries for electronics, toys and other gifts
  • Recycle old or broken holiday lights and replace with LED lights
  • Encourage the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods,experiences, time, by listing your ideas on the So Kind Registry
  • Consider the life-cycle of a product before purchasing. Was it produced locally, or thousands of miles away? Is it durable? Is it energy- or water-efficient, made of recycled materials, or recyclable?
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