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5 Ways to Make Your Holiday Gift-Giving Greener

While the holidays can be merry and bright, they can also prove to be incredibly wasteful. Things like gift-giving during the holiday season can significantly increase the amount of waste you create, ultimately negatively impacting the environment. Luckily enough, you can still give your friends and family memorable gifts while reducing waste and saving money!

Wrap using reusable materials

One of the best parts of gift-giving is the element of surprise that comes when the recipient tears off the wrapping paper to reveal the gift. However, wrapping paper is a single-use material that is designed with the intention of being destroyed. Rather than creating a fair amount of waste, instead, wrap your gifts in different reusable materials. A great way to do this is to make the wrapping a part of the gift such as wrapping a food-themed gift in cheesecloth or using a tote bag with a design that the recipient will love. Other options include fabric, used boxes such as cereal or old shipping boxes, or recycled materials like newspapers. 

support local

Supporting local businesses is always a great way to find incredibly unique gifts while supporting small businesses in the Hamilton area following a difficult year. By supporting local and handmade goods, you are investing in local economies and supporting individuals rather than corporations like Amazon which is one of the greatest polluters internationally. Check out different downtown areas like Westdale or Dundas for great locally owned businesses for in-person shopping; Instagram and Facebook Marketplace are also great resources for finding small, local businesses to support. 

do it yourself

Some of the best gifts I have ever received have been handmade because they are a physical representation of the person’s adoration for you, and their effort to create the gift makes it more valuable than any price tag. Do It Yourself (DIY) gifts are a great way to save money: you can make things in large batches such as cookies or jams with ingredients you already have for teachers or even co-workers. 

Doing a service for someone, like deep-cleaning the kitchen for a housemate costs nothing and is really helpful. By providing a service as a gift or creating something handmade for someone rather than purchasing something, you eliminate waste while saving some money yourself – two birds, one stone!

Buy used or second-hand

One of the best ways to save money when gifting this holiday season is by shopping second-hand. Thrift stores, secondhand, and consignment stores are great places to find unique and affordable pieces to give to your loved ones while also reducing strain on retail, decreasing the amount of unwanted clothing or goods being sent to landfills, and making your overall shopping experience more mindful. Shopping second-hand is also a great way to find personalized gifts for the people in your life because of the wide variety in the selections offered at these types of stores.


Instead of giving someone a gift, why not give one on their behalf? If a friend or loved one has a cause that they are passionate about, or you know about a charity they support, donating on their behalf is a great way to support a cause and gift with no waste. Simply donate the same amount you would have spent on a gift to the charity in their name. This is both helpful to the planet and a great way to show your love to a friend, family member, or loved one. By showing care to something they care about, it signifies that you care for them and their passions. 

This holiday season is the best time to show someone you care to take care of the planet. These are five easy tips that can help make your gift-giving more mindful and help save money while helping to eliminate waste and protect the planet. Environmental stewardship is possible throughout all seasons, even the holiday season!

Emma is a second-year Anthropology student at McMaster University, also pursuing a minor in Archaeology. She enjoys travelling, reading and Taylor Swift. When not working or doing school you can find Emma spam tweeting on Twitter, @emmalipsett, or making embarrassing Tik Toks, @dilememma.
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