Holiday Entertaining and Green Gift-Giving Tips
Do Away With Wrapping Paper!
- Use old gift bags, boxes, newspaper, magazines, posters or pieces of fabric to disguise your gift.
- Alternatively, hide the presents in the house and create a holiday gift hunt using clues.
- For the even more adventurous, have your gift go naked!
- Think of gifts that don’t have to be wrapped at all: tickets to concerts, museums, or sporting events, gift certificates, house plants, or even gifts of your own time.
- When giving oversized gifts like bicycles or CD racks, instead of wrapping them in paper, just tie a bow around them.
- Wrap gifts in old maps, newspapers, Sunday comics or fancy holiday gift bags that can be reused. Kids’ art work is a perfect wrapping for presents to proud grandparents.
- Use brown paper grocery bags to wrap small-to-medium size boxes that have to be mailed.
- Make the wrap a part of the gift: Putting cookies in a flower pot or hiding jewelry in a new pair of gloves will keep your gift under wraps and the “wrapping” out of the trash.
- Contribute to someone’s lifelong nostalgia by purchasing tickets, season passes or memberships to local cultural, physical or professional events or organizations. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Fremont Peak Observatory Association
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Yosemite Annual Pass
- County Parks Annual Day Use Pass
- California State Park Annual Day Use Pass
- Monterey Museum of Art
- National Steinbeck Center
- Elkhorn Slough Gift Membership
- Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum
- Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Give Gift Certificates!
- Certificates reflecting a person’s interest or everyday needs can be a perfect way to ensure your gift is as useful as it is gracious.
- For kids, start a savings account or give stocks or bonds. It’s fun to watch money grow and it teaches children the value of financial conservation.
- Examples of gift certificates that will be appreciated:
- Local Coffee House
- Gardening Store/Nursery
- Elegant Dinner / Favorite Restaurant
- Music Store
- Earth Friendly Products Store
- Book Store/ Used Book Store
- Grocery/Specialty Foods Store
- Art Supplies Shop/ Gallery
- Ice Cream Shop
- Cultural Center
- Sporting Goods/Outdoor Store
- Hardware Store
- Car Servicing
- Car Washes
- Movie Rental
- Cinema / Theater
- Prepaid Gasoline Cards
- Music Concerts
- Sporting Events
- Art Gallery/Museum
- (Natural) History/Cultural Museum
- Cultural Festival
- Movie Rental
- Gym/Fitness Center/Health Club
- Athletic Organization
- Dancing Lessons
- Martial Arts /Self Defense Training
- Tai Chi/Yoga/Meditation Classes
- Ski/Snowboarding Pass
- Scuba Diving/Snorkeling Lessons
- Whale Watching
- Kayaking Tour of the Bay
- Gardening Workshop
- Vocational Training Workshop
- Professional Workshop
- Massage/Hot Spring
- Art Class (Painting, Photography, Ceramics, etc)
- Music Lessons (Instrument/Singing)
- Writing/Poetry Course
- Computer Training
- Tickets to a Local Special Event
Give the Gift of Time and Energy:
- Spend a day with a special friend or relative on a choice adventure
- Plan a picnic excursion
- Plan an afternoon at a beach, park, etc.
- Purchase (season) tickets to a local attraction, venue or team
- Take a hike or camping trip
- Go bird watching
- Volunteer together with a local community group
- Invite another to a local cultural event
- Try a new sport or other activity with a friend for the first time
- Share an evening watching the sunset
- Offer a service gift (cleaning, cooking, babysitting, etc.)
- Wrapping and Gift Tissue Paper (not foil, or cellophane type paper) can be recycled in your Curbside Recycling Bin.
- Just remove excess tape and bows (save bows for reuse).
- Don’t forget to recycle those holiday cards, excess magazines, catalogues, paper and cardboard.
- When you get or give new electronics, recycle your old electronic items properly.
Save for Next Time!
- Set aside gift boxes, intact wrapping paper, gift tissue paper and bows. Save these items and reuse them for future holidays, birthdays and parties.
Limit the Lights!
- LED light strings use 1/10 as much energy as incandescent lights. Light strands wired in parallel, rather than in series will save you from having to throw the entire string away if one bulb burns out.
- Turn off your lights when you go to bed to save even more energy!
Thoughtfully Choose & Recycle Your Christmas Tree!
- Plastic trees can be reused for years to come, but will ultimately end up in a landfill.
- If you choose a cut real tree, break it down into pieces and compost it your backyard or recycle it free of charge with your waste hauler.
- A live tree can be planted or donated after the holidays.
- Do not use tinsel or spray your tree with fake snow, as tinsel and white trees cannot be recycled.
- Check with your local waste hauler or recycling organization for tree recycling information.
For the things that you just can’t resist, Buy Recycled!
- Always look for products that are made from Post-Consumer Recycled Content or consider green products that address other or additional environmental or social concerns.
Give New-To-You Gifts!
- Shop at Thrift Stores, Antique Shops, Flea Markets, Used Book Stores and the like for unique gifts that save resources by promoting reuse.
- Make a dress-up kit for kids with old clothes and jewelry.
- Create an idea-box for young inventors with tools and gadgets.
- Adopt an animal from a local shelter
- Refurbished/Repaired gifts
- Donating to a charity in someone’s name shows not only your care for someone, but also your recognition of the values they cherish in their own lives.
- Before and after the holidays in the spirit of giving, donate used items in good condition to local reuse organizations.
For holiday gatherings
- Compost your food waste. Fruits and vegetables and their peels, pits and seeds are all perfect for composting – a great natural fertilizer.
- Use durable plates, cups, silverware and cloth napkins and table cloths. Rent from a party supply, or use your own.
- Recycle empty bottles and cans. Show your guests where to recycle.
- If you’re shopping by mail order catalogue, remember to cancel the catalogs you don’t need. Remember, junk mail is recyclable!
- During the nation’s busiest shopping season, bring your own shopping bags.
- Consolidate your purchases into one bag rather than getting a new bag at each store on your shopping rounds.
- When you buy electronic toys and other portable items that require batteries, buy rechargeable batteries to go with them.
Reuse to prevent waste
- Give gifts that encourage others to use less stuff, like a book about making crafts from reusable items, cookbook for leftovers, reusable shopping bags and reusable cups.
- Give homemade food or something you’ve made yourself from reused items.
- Be creative. Instead of buying placemats or table decorations, make your own. Cut old greeting cards into shapes and press between two pieces of clear contact paper.
- Reuse packing cartons and shipping materials such as peanuts, wood shavings, shredded newspaper and bubble wrap.
- Update and pare down your holiday card mailing list to reduce the number of cards you mail.
- Send e-greetings to family, friends and business associates.