Recently a friend told me that instead of using gift wrap for her Christmas gifts this year, she had put them inside re-usable Trader Joe’s shopping bags. “What a great idea, ” I replied. “That’s green two ways!” Not only had my friend avoided using paper gift wrap, she had given her gift recipients a second re-useable gift–a durable shopping bag they could re-use at the grocery store.
My friend and I instantly loved the phrase “green two ways,” so we decided it would be fun to think of other gift ideas that were green in more ways than one.
Green Two Ways Gift Idea #1:
For Valentine’s Day this year, make a heart-shaped wreath decorated with birdseed, suet and fruit slices… or, for St. Patrick’s Day, make a shamrock-shaped wreath. Your friend can hang the wreath in her backyard and feed the birds, and when the birds are through munching, the remnants can go into her compost pile. (Source: http://www.nrdc.org/cities/living/ggift.asp)
Green Two Ways Gift Idea #2:
Double your soup recipe one night when you cook dinner for your family, and give the other half to a friend in a stock pot. You will use your cook top only once to cook two dinners, and your friend will receive a new piece of cookware she can re-use multiple times.
Green Two Ways Gift Idea #3:
Write things you appreciate or love about a friend or relative on slips of paper–preferably re-cycled paper–and place them in a beautiful ceramic vase or decorative box you already own or from a second hand store. The vase or box can be used again by your recipient to display cut flowers or store treasured items. I have given this gift to both my mother and grandmother, and a few years ago I was lucky enough to receive this all-time favorite gift from my daughter.
Green Two Ways Gift Idea #4:
Purchase locally grown organic fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market and give them to a friend in a cloth shopping bag or other re-useable container. This gift will help the environment by reducing the use of chemical fertilizers in the ground as well as toxic exhaust from trucks used to transport produce grown far away. The organically grown produce could also result in fewer car trips to the doctor for your friend.
Green Two Ways Gift Idea #5:
Sew cloth napkins made from torn clothing. Instead of adding another item to the land fill, the cloth is given a second life. The napkins can be re-used multiple times, sparing the wasteful use of paper napkins. Green living expert Annie B. Bond extols the benefits of cloth napkins as follows: “Most of my pleasure in cloth napkins reflects my love of trees, wanting to be their ally, not wanting to waste them. Maybe when I sit down to dinner and pick up a cloth napkin the symbol of them sparks my feelings about trees and it exudes through me in a way, opening my heart.” (Source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/set-the-tone-cloth-napkins.html).
In this age of global warming and scarce resources, green has become the new black. Not only is it environmentally friendly to give a gift that is green, it is downright fashionable. Why not have fun with this socially positive trend by creating your own gift idea that is green two ways?