This back end of the year is crowded with birthdays and Christmas. For many years, I have asked people not to give me gifts. If people insist, I ask them to donate what they would have spent, to the Leukemia Foundation. It’s the ultimate responsible gift giving. I understand though, that there are plenty people like to give and receive gifts. We are all different.
So how do you give a gift that thrills or intrigues without adding to landfill or even worse, the dreaded ‘unwanted present’ category? Sure there are vouchers and chickens from Oxfam but sometimes people want something tactile, that they can hold in their hands or do something with. Here are some ideas for responsible gift giving.
A Box of Mushrooms
The entrepreneurs at Lifecykel have managed to tackle the challenge of waste coffee grounds by turning it into portable mushroom farms. The boxes come ready to go. Just spray with water and wait. Even the most doubting of my friends enjoyed this present, once the mushrooms started growing. My niece got a surprise limited edition McGrath Foundation box with bright pink mushrooms.
This is the ultimate in responsible gift giving as far as I’m concerned. It addresses food waste, allows you to grow something nutritious and tasty, is fun to watch as the mushrooms grow and when it’s all over, the box and coffee grounds can be composted. By directly from Lifecykel or Biome.
The Milkwood Book
Milkwood is much more than a website or a bunch of ideas. It’s a movement. And now they have a wildly succesful book that brings it all together. Simply called ‘Milkwood’, it shares a wealth of information on home made and home grown. A guide to foraging, bee keeping, growing and lots more. Milkwood makes it possible for you to create a thriving hub in suburbia.
OK – so technically this is a ‘thing’. But it’s a thing that opens up to a world of sustainable living. It’s the zenith of responsible gift giving.
If you’re reading this post, chances are that you’re already signed up to reducing single use plastic. No more plastic grocery bags for you. But what about those produce bags? A hand of bananas doesn’t need a bag but half a dozen tomatoes or a bunch of grapes do. This simple gift will open the eyes of friends about how easy it is to move away from single use plastic.
You can pull out the Elna, source the fabric and whip up some of these bags or, you can go the path of least resistance and just buy some. There’s a variety of mesh and lightweight fabric produce bags available. Grab some for yourself too.
Biodegradable Coffee Cup
I was a very early adopter of the KeepCup. In the days when they could only be bought from a few places and no one in a coffee shop knew what it was. I still have the same one, over 10 years later. I’ll have the same KeepCup for the rest of my life – such is the durability of the cup and of plastic. The trouble is, if I’d known it was a cup for life, I might have chosen a brighter colour scheme.
Enter the bamboo or rice husk coffee cup. Heat resistant, dishwasher safe and available in a wealth of colours and prints. These cups last a few years by which time you can add it to the compost heap and buy a new design. For a modest price, you can upgrade every few years. New job, new cup!
These are a wonderful stocking stuffer. If you’re looking to impress, you can also buy the matching bowls or plates. You just need to explain that it’s designed to be biodegradable. When it starts to look a little worn out, you don’t want them thinking you’re a ‘rubbish present giver’.
If you really want to get into the spirit of responsible gift giving, you might want to share a gift that keeps giving. Give someone a workshop. They can learn how to make cheese or their own cosmetics. Or learn about fermentation. Perhaps they would like to try their hand at making their own worm farm or go to a talk about zero waste.
There’s a workshop or talk to suit any budget.
All of these responsible gifts are useful and show the recipient that you have put some thought into your choice. I’m sure they will be very pleased with their gift and that you are helping to reduce their footprint on the planet.
*This guide to Responsible Gift Giving includes affiliate links. I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) from any purchases made via the link. Many of the shops offer discounted and free post so save yourself some hassle, and buy online.