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
Elegant Dinner / Favorite Restaurant
Earth Friendly Products Store
Book Store/ Used Book Store
Grocery/Specialty Foods Store
Art Supplies Shop/ Gallery
Ice Cream Shop
Sporting Goods/Outdoor Store
Cinema / Theater
Prepaid Gasoline Cards
(Natural) History/Cultural Museum
Gym/Fitness Center/Health Club
Martial Arts /Self Defense Training
Tai Chi/Yoga/Meditation Classes
Scuba Diving/Snorkeling Lessons
Kayaking Tour of the Bay
Vocational Training Workshop
Art Class (Painting, Photography, Ceramics, etc)
Music Lessons (Instrument/Singing)
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
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.