Green Gifts

Green Gift-Giving Tips

hands with succulentsGive Memories!

  • Create memories by giving tickets, season passes or memberships. 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

picnic basket Give the Gift of Time and Energy:

  • Spend a day together on an epic 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
  • Try a new sport or activity for the first time – what’s on their bucket list?
  • Share an evening watching the sunset
  • Offer a service gift (cleaning, cooking, babysitting, etc.)
  • Make them dinner, breakfast in bed, or bake something special

concert ticketsGive 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 or Online Media
  • Earth-Friendly Products Store
  • Book Store/ Used Book Store
  • Grocery/Specialty Foods Store
  • Art Supplies
  • Ice Cream Shop
  • Cultural Center
  • Sporting Goods/Outdoor Store
  • Hardware Store
  • Car Servicing
  • Car Washes
  • Cinema / Theater
  • Prepaid Gasoline Cards
  • Music Concerts
  • Sporting Events
  • Symphony
  • Opera
  • Theater
  • Art Gallery/Museum
  • (Natural) History/Cultural Museum
  • Cultural Festival
  • Gym/Fitness Center/Health Club
  • 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)
  • Cooking Class
  • Music Lessons (Instrument/Singing)
  • Writing/Poetry Course
  • Computer Training
  • Observatory/Planetarium

 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, like Fair Trade practices, organic farming, or donating proceeds.

 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.


  • 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.
  • In the spirit of giving, donate used items in good condition to local reuse organizations.


  • Purchase something consumable and sustainable; treat them to locally made chocolates, honey, organic wine and cheese.
  • Buy cut flowers from your local farmers’ market or even better, a blooming perennial plant that will bring happiness year after year.
  • If you’re shopping by mail order, remember to cancel the catalogs you don’t need.  Remember, junk mail is recyclable!
  • 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 reusable shopping bags and reusable cups. For the coffee enthusiast, include a pound of their favorite beans, or a gift card to their local coffee house.
  • Give something you’ve made yourself from reused items, like repurposing a unique item (like a teacup or seashell) as a container for succulents. Be thoughtful about their hobbies and interests.
  • Reuse packing cartons and shipping materials such as peanuts, wood shavings, shredded newspaper and bubble wrap.

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 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 gifts of time together.
  • When giving oversized gifts like bicycles, instead of wrapping them in paper, just tie a bow around them.
  • Kids’ artwork 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 or baking ingredients in a mixing bowl, wrapping bubble bath in a towel, or hiding jewelry in a new pair of gloves will keep your gift under wraps and the wrapping out of the trash.


  • Wrapping 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.