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Tips For Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift Giving

written by: L.Romano•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 10/16/2010

There can be a lot of extra waste produced as a result of Christmas gift giving. Making some subtle changes in regard to how you give presents can have a positive effect on the environment.

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    Christmas is wonderful but not exactly the most eco-friendly of all of the holidays. All of the bows, wrapping paper and cards from gift giving can create a lot of extra waste. In order to keep all of this from being a detriment to the environment, there are ways to forego the waste without giving up giving beautifully presented gifts.

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    Give only necessary Christmas cards

    Think about sending e-cards this year instead of sending everyone Christmas cards. You’ll save yourself some money on the cost of the cards as well as on the postage. Consider sending paper cards only to those that don't have email addresses or deserve something a little more formal, for example, a mother or spouse.

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    Skip the wrapping paper

    If you are going to be giving a gift, give it in a reusable bag instead of using wrapping paper. The recipient can reuse the bag over and over again. You can also feel better knowing that you didn’t create unnecessary waste from wrapping paper or gift bags that will most likely end up in the trash.

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    Recycle any wrapping paper that you receive

    If you receive a gift that comes wrapped, save the paper to reuse it. You can use it as packing material, note paper or even to shove it inside soft toe shoes to help them keep their shape. Hinting that you would like a reusable bag may also encourage people to skip using wrapping paper for your gift altogether.

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    Choose a gift that is made from natural, organic or recycled materials

    There are a plethora of stores that offer products that are natural, organic or recycled. Many brands of beauty products, apparel and chocolate come made from recycled packaging and are organic or natural. With all of the green items that you can choose from, you can almost certainly find a present for everyone on your list.

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    Give a previously owned gift

    While this may sound strange, it’s a great way to give a unique gift that you may not be able to find in many places. For example, if you have a chef in your life, consider giving them an antique cookbook that you can find at an antique store in your area. For the fashionista on your list, consider checking out a local thrift store for a vintage purse. There are many exceptional gifts that you can find for almost everyone on your list and they may even be right down the block from you.

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    Buy presents that have limited to no packaging

    There are many items that come packaged in boxes, plastic, and various other materials that, chances are, will end up thrown in the trash. Instead, buy products that have limited to no packaging at all. One option is to give homemade gifts, such as crafts or food, where you can choose the amount of packaging you use.

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    When choosing a Christmas gift and what it will be given in, consider the environmental impact that it will have first and if it will be worth it.