Twelve Green Gifts!
Whether you belong to our community of educators, youth, donors, volunteers, staff, Board or advisors, we consider you a gift to Be The Change. All of your actions and contributions circle back to this beautiful planet we call home and ultimately help us get closer to our vision of an environmentally sustainable, personally fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet. That’s why we have chosen to ‘tie-the-bow’ on our giving campaign with a set of 12 green gift ideas (we like to be a little punny like that).
There are so many ways of giving this holiday season that support local community connections and greener practices. Therefore, in addition to the 11 other Gifts and our community carol we have offered throughout this campaign, we want to provide you with a few gift ideas that support a connected, local, ecological holiday season.
A local excursion
This can be as simple as an outing to a hidden natural gem in the area (see Day 9 of our 12 Days of Giving for inspiration), a special picnic, or a walking or biking tour that you have devised of a neighbourhood, touring some of your favourite inspiring street art, breweries or tea locations, street food, craft or art stores, art or museum exhibits, or more! Examples of what members of the BTCEA team have done for city excursions include: making friendship buttons at the Regional Assembly of Text, trying fancy kombuchas at Cultivate Tea, and checking out The Soap Dispensary to get biodegradable kitchen fare - all a few blocks from each other on Main St. in Vancouver.
Pre-loved shopping trip
Want to get a gift for someone who loves fashion or antique furniture? Then why not offer to take them on a shopping trip to your favourite thrift stores and buy them an item or two of their choice? That way they can get their fashion or furniture fix and you can both spend some quality time together. There are some fabulous consignment, thrift and antique stores in Vancouver, such as My Sisters Closet and The Antique Warehouse.
Instead of giving someone a gift, why not let them make something personalized to their taste themselves (and learn a new skill in the process). Places such as Blim, The Soap Dispensary and Bird on a Wire in Vancouver do a range of awesome DIY workshops such as screen-printing, candle and soap making, and felting. There are many types of workshops and places to choose from!
A homemade gift
In our opinion, there is nothing nicer than giving (or receiving) a homemade gift. Whether it be a scarf or hat that you have knitted, a repurposed gift that you have made out of something used, or a piece of art that you have created yourself, it’s a great feeling to present a loved one with a gift that you have made especially for them. To get some inspiration, check out the awesome homemade gift ideas from our talented friends at Do Nation. Examples of things our team have made are baby blankets, home-made colouring books, toques, and wooden toys.
Give them a local service
Offering to provide a service to someone is a great way to relieve their stressful schedule, build community support, and foster a local and sharing economy. You could buy them a local service such as a massage, cleaning, or a bike tune-up, or offer services you can provide yourself, such as organizing your friend’s garage or closet one day, offering to look after your colleague’s children so they can have a night out, or giving a relative a guided meditation session.
Teach a skill
Why not give someone the gift of a skill you have? This can be anything from teaching them how to maintain their bicycle, giving them personal tutoring in a language you know, showing them how to make a meal, or teaching them how to play an instrument. Your gift will be unique and you are giving your friend or loved one something that they will have for the rest of their life while spending quality time with them. Also, if you want to learn a skill together instead of teach one, there are many workshops available to take together such as cooking classes, urban foraging, massage, homesteading classes and more.
Bulk or on the go containers
Fun re-usable cloth bags are great for fruit and vegetable shopping and for purchasing hygiene products such as soap, and can be pretty as well, such as the funky ones available at Welks on Main St. To-go containers, such as mugs, thermos flasks and lunch boxes come in many trendy colours and shapes and are a great personalized way to support friends and family in being green. They are also often small so they can make a perfect Secret Santa gift.
Give the gift of food...
The next four gift ideas concern matters of the stomach (which many say are closely connected to matters of the heart!)
Baking someone a delicious treat normally goes down well! (get it?) The great thing about home baking is that you can tailor your recipe to suit people’s dietary restrictions and can add your own variations to classic recipes (not to mention that you can also save some for yourself). In the past, we have baked cookies with personalized wishes on them and made delicious dehydrated or canned locally sourced snacks.
If you have a friend or a family member who is very busy and doesn’t have much time to do their own home-cooked meals, then why not give them the gift of a lovely meal (or meals) that you have cooked for them! Make them a nice card explaining your gift and asking them to pick a meal of their choice for you to cook and deliver to their door. This can be to have that week or even in freezer-compatible containers so they can enjoy it when they really need it.
Seed bags or other things that grow!
If you’re not the baking or cooking type, then giving the gift of vegetable or fruit seeds means that your friend or loved one can enjoy the bounty of home-grown produce next year! There are organic, GMO-free, open-pollinated and locally sourced seeds produced by B.C. Eco Seed Co-op or West Coast Seeds. Sprouting kits and plants are also growing gifts that continue to give health and enjoyment for months after receiving. These days, you can even grow your own mini Christmas Tree in a box!
Seasonal CSA subscription
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a prepaid subscription to the produce of a local farm for a season, in the form of a weekly delivery of a box of fresh vegetables, fruit and sometimes meat and eggs from the farm. A CSA subscription makes an awesome gift, as you are ensuring that your friend or relative has a constant supply of delicious fresh produce. See the Vancouver Farmers Market CSA program for more info.
And if none of these ideas are quite right...
Donate to a charity in their name
A truly heart-felt gift can simply be offering to donate to a charity of your friend or loved one’s choice in their name and thereby meaningfully contributing to a cause that they care about. There are many worthy organizations to choose from, and we would be delighted if you choose us!