Giving a Gift? Increase Its Impact by Choosing Green

By Tommy Rosen, Intent

Consider the amazing time in which we live. We just happen to be alive on this planet at the moment when the sum total of mankind’s mistreatment of The Earth, along with other factors less in our control, have brought about a situation dire enough to force us to change. Far from gloom and doom, there is great news in all of this. We get to evolve, learn, grow and create solutions, which address the challenges we must now face. The time at hand requires us to behave in consideration of personal health, the wellness of our family and community and the environment. We call it Going Green, and when it comes to gift giving, GOING GREEN IS THE WAY TO GO.

When you give someone a “green gift,” it means you went the extra distance for someone and for everyone. It means you have taken the time to consider the environment. It means you have given a gift that shows something about you, which can also serve to inspire and educate others. It means you have created a ripple effect whose final result is too significant to calculate.

The next time you want to buy a gift for someone, consider one of these options:

1. Make a gift from scratch. Making a personal effort to create something is always appreciated. Be conscious in the materials you choose and create something to show someone you care. Picture Frames and Mirrors are perennial favorites and people tend to keep them.

2. Buy a gift that adds a lasting element to someone’s life. Buying a house plant, vegetable plant or a live organic herb garden are wonderful gifts, which live on and bring joy (and life and oxygen) into someone’s home. You may even turn someone onto Organic gardening. Awesome! You might also try buying someone a calendar printed on 100% recycled paper with daily affirmations and uplifting quotes. These will remain with someone for a year at least and they truly make a difference everyday.

3. Buy a stress-reducing present for someone. Get your best friend a 1 hour massage, facial or acupuncture treatment. How about a free week of yoga classes, pilates or personal training sessions? Believe me, you will be doing more for the recipient of these gifts than initially meets the eye.

4. Give to a charity. Instead of giving something directly, consider giving to a charity on behalf of a friend or family member. Many charities now allow you to track the progress being made as the result of your contribution. So in effect — you are setting up a powerful connection for someone that can go way beyond a simple donation.

5. Buy an educational, entertaining piece of Conscious Media. Books and DVDs make fantastic presents especially when the content in question is uplifting, educational and entertaining. Hot DVDs include “Fuel” by Josh Tickell, “Who Killed the Electric Car” by Chris Paine, “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore and “Super Size Me” by Morgan Spurlock. Hot Books include: “Cradle to Cradle” by William McDonough, “The Green Collar Economy” by Van Jones and “Revolution in a Bottle” by Tom Szaky.

There could be no more eco-friendly gift than a gift that has no wrapping whatsoever and very little carbon footprint. Buy online media for your friends and family. A gift certificate to iTunes comes immediately to mind. And how about this author’s favorite green gift of 2009, Philosopher’s Notes? Buying Philosopher’s Notes for friends and family ($20) achieves two things. One — you are providing them with concentrated wisdom delivered in an amazingly entertaining and digestible way, and two — you are changing their lives for the better. Don’t take my word for it. Check ‘em out.

Note: If you’re looking for other gift ideas, do whatever you can to support those companies which are putting out products that are good for you and which are made with concern for the environment. For a good list of those companies you can check out the Eco Gift Exhibitor List.

One final word on gift giving, if you must wrap your gift, do it in 100% recycled or re-used paper such as newspaper. It is best if you can avoid wrapping gifts altogether. The receiver will still appreciate it, perhaps even more.

Get More 30 Days to a Greener You Ideas

Tommy Rosen is the founder of the Eco Gift Festival. provides content and community for who you aspire to be–personally, socially and globally.


Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin4 years ago

some good ideas

Nona E.
Nona E4 years ago

My older grandchildren really prefer cash to use alone or combined with others to "fill a dream". I'm fine with that but feel it's a bit impersonal. This practice has grown over the years, but I create my own "cash cards" for Christmas and birthdays. I use their photos - good or funny (sometimes I "steal" from facebook) - and try to include some sort of mini theme about their life or event. It's very popular - which also is a bit of a drawback. They expect it now and look for this to be "the best one yet". That's a lot of work (though labor of love) since the family keeps getting bigger (and better). I know that isn't totally green - ink and computer usage - but it's not bad either.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

Thanks. I like #'s 2 and 4 especially.

Charles Webb
Charles Webb7 years ago

I must be really green., I don't do the xmas thing. I request no presents or cards.

LP H8 years ago

The Sunday funny pages have always made perfect gift wrap! :)

Amalthea Lalaith
Amalthea Lalaith8 years ago

Another tip if you are the one on the receiving end: you can also asked that your gifts come unwrapped or wrapped in recycled paper. My family knows I love the look and feel of brown paper so I often get gifts wrapped in old shopping bags.