Photo: Giving Green

Give meaningful presents without getting trampled at the mall, cleaning out your savings or creating mountains of waste.

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Gift-giving is a powerful way of expressing gratitude, reaffirming bonds, supporting causes and looking after those less fortunate. And there are lots of ways to give meaningful presents without getting trampled at the mall, cleaning out your savings or creating mountains of waste.

Donate to charity

Honour those on your gift list with a contribution in their names. Get your kids involved—it's a great way to steer them away from "buy me" mode into a conversation about how we need to share the planet.

Give experiences

Consider tickets to movies, the theatre or a sporting event, or a membership to an art gallery or museum. Throw in bus tickets or passes for an extra shot of green. Other things that keep on giving: membership to a farming cooperative, a great read, or moving music that also funds your favourite charity. (After you've finished sharing with family and friends, books and CDs can be donated to libraries —the world's oldest recycling centres).

Get creative

Whether it's a year's worth of once-a-week babysitting, a promise to rake leaves or a batch of yummy homemade cookies, we all have something we can do for someone on our gift list that's worth more than just another thing. Whip up an assortment of green cleaners or non-toxic cosmetics. Or assemble a green travel kit in an attractive (reusable) cloth bag: stainless steel commuter mug and/or water bottle, reusable food container, cloth napkin, and "spork" (a spoon and fork in one).

Buy used

Whatever you want to call it—recycled, vintage, pre-owned, or antique—stuff that is already here requires no new energy, materials, processes, packaging or transportation.

Cut the wrap

Great gift decorating doesn't have to involve paper. Try reusing old fabric, finding fun recycled materials or using a funky bag.

Be mindful

Pause before making any purchase and ask yourself: Where does this come from? Where is it going after the recipient is done with it? Does s/he really need it?

December 19, 2012

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