Written by: Jeff Kranz

The air is frigid, snow is lurking, and mass expeditions to shopping centers and malls are beginning. Getting your holiday gift shopping done can be a huge source stress during this time of year, but you don’t need to risk your limbs to frostbite waiting outside the department store to show your friends and family that you care about them. Instead of splurging at the mall, make this year a sustainable season with some of these easy, and eco-friendly, gift-giving tips from TerraCycle.

Gift Wrap

According to a Sundale Research industry report cited by the Wall Street Journal, sales of wrapping paper reached more than $9 billion in 2010. That translates to billions of square feet of wrapping paper… in one year.

Instead, use things around your home. Old roadmaps and unused fabrics look cool and are often readily available. For the scholar in your life, use pages from an old book. Posters, magazine covers, newspaper, and calendars are all super creative alternatives, and better yet, you probably already have some lying around your house.


All Natural

The most eco-friendly gifts can be found literally in your backyard. Crafting your own ornaments, decorations, or gifts from materials found outside is easy and you can get the kids and your whole family involved in the process. You can make a simple wreath with a ring of cardboard by gluing on some items like pine branches and acorns. Kids can even make craft people and animals with things like pinecones as well: just glue on some “googly” eyes and other items for limbs! There is an endless supply of materials at your disposal in the environment. Use them!

DIY Terrarium

There’s nothing greener than a terrarium, and they’re not nearly as difficult to make as you might think. Not only that, but they can put made with nearly any container, and look great to boot. You’ll need the obvious supplies to start: soil, small plants, moss or seeds, and some rocks or pebbles on the bottom for drainage. An empty, transparent Christmas ornament, Mason jar, old dessert dish, or any attractive glass container makes for a perfect home for the terrarium. Now you can bring a little “green” right into your home.

Hitting Up the Thrift Store
OK, so maybe you don’t have time to craft your own gifts. If you must dive into your wallet, buy local, homemade, and handmade gifts. Etsy.com is a great resource that allows you to search for local, environmentally-conscious artists around you. Thrift stores, antique shops, swap meets and websites like Craigslist are excellent ways for you to find pre-owned, vintage, and other awesome items you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Not only that, but you won’t be generating any new consumer waste in the process

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