Eco-friendly Xmas Gift Ideas

Tis the season to be merry and give gifts. But before you rush out and get your usual trope of items, stop for a moment and think about their impact on the environment. Wouldn't it be better to choose something environmentally friendly, so our Christmas footprint is a little lighter this year? If you're not sure where to start, here are some great ideas to get your started this festive season.

1] Potted Herbs
Most people appreciate receiving plants as a gift, but you can take this gift idea a step further by choosing a plant they can put to practical use several times a week. Rosemary, Thai basil and sage are three kitchen plants that can step up to the dinner plate on a regular basis and will be very much appreciated by the home cook.

2] Shopping Bags
There plenty of chic reusable bags on the market that make nicer gifts than the typical one-dollar cheapies. Some clever ones even fold into an internal sleeve, so they become super compact an easy to carry about. It’s perfect for tucking in your purse or coat pocket, so you always have one to use for those unexpected store stops when you don’t have a larger shopping bag on hand.

3] Eco Soaps
Not just for grandmothers anymore! A good, handmade, all-natural, chemical-free and eco-friendly soap can make a great gift for just about anyone. These days they come in a plethora of colours, scents and styles. And, beyond merely washing your body, some even double-up as shampoo for your hair too! Rub-a-dub-dub.

4] Wooden Toys
For the little people in your life, say no to plastic and embrace sustainable, wooden toys instead. For example, PlanToys out of Thailand makes a delightful range of items made from preservative-free rubberwood and non-formaldehyde glues, as well as recyclable packaging and water-based inks. They have everything from chew toys for babies to model kitchens for bigger kids and everything in between.

5] Green Utensils
How about a toothbrush, drinking straw or spatula made of bamboo, glass or ceramic. That's right, from the bathroom to the kitchen, there is now no excuse not to bring an eco-conscious mindset into your daily habits. A range of products are now available to fill these requirements; you'll find them stylish, practical and feel-good.

And, while we're at it, here are some Eco-Friendly Gift-Wrapping Ideas.

• Cloth Bag: You can never have too many reusable bags. Instead of using a paper gift bag that will get thrown away, pack gifts in a cloth bag that the recipient can reuse. 

• Other Cloth Item: Why stop at cloth bags? Any type of cloth works as a wrapping for a gift. Use a scarf or cloth napkin as the wrapping to eliminate waste.

• Recycled Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags: If you fold old gift-wrap and bags carefully, the paper stays flat and crisp, allowing you to reuse it for future gifts. This keeps the paper out of the trash for an eco-friendly wrapping option the following year. 

• Decorative Box: Instead of buying new gift boxes, use boxes you already have around the house. Add a fun touch with paint, stamps or other designs to make them look festive and fresh. 

• Newspapers, Magazines or Catalogues: Before sending these paper items to the recycling bin, use them as gift-wrap for presents. Magazines and catalogues typically have shiny, colourful pages that hold up well, making them ideal for wrapping small gifts. Newspaper pages are much larger, allowing you to wrap larger gifts easily.

While we're at it, as long as it’s large enough to cover the present, almost any type of paper works as an alternative gift wrap. Try old maps, calendar pages, children’s artwork and brown paper bags.