Holiday Gift Ideas

Do you feel like the holidays have become too commercial and focused on consumerism and consumption? This year give more sustainable gifts that are a little different.

Over the years, our Sustainability Interns have put together this list to help make your job a little easier.

Meaningful Gifts

  • "Heirloom Gifts" (e.g. gifts that you loved that could be passed on)

  • High quality copies of old family photos


Practical Gifts

  • A Home Energy Audit - In just a couple of hours you can provide them with a complete energy analysis (cost free) that will give information about: efficiency upgrades to reduce their bills, how long it will take to recover the cost of the upgrade, and what the return on investment would be compared to if they were investing the money traditionally. (Do one for yourself as well!)

  • Get them off Junk Mail Lists (41 Pounds, Green Dimes, Do it Yourself) - The gift that keeps on giving. With just a small annual fee, or a bit of your time, you can get their junk mail reduced to almost nothing for years.

  • Give them reusable shopping bags with tips buying local/organic and the advantages

  • Buy them a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share for the season (e.g. Red Root Farm, Randle Farms, Grow Alabama, Other Alabama CSAs)

  • Carbon offsets for their commute, or dorm room (e.g. NativeEnergy, TerraPass)

  • Public transportation passes for people who live in cities

  • Do-it-yourself photo calendars (available through most photo developers)

  • Seeds, flower bulbs or birdseed

  • Make something creative and useful (food, cookbook, bookmarks, photo album)


Gifts of Service

  • Babysitting

  • Yard Care

  • Cleaning

  • Automobile Maintenance (e.g. oil change)

For Kids

  • Art materials (e.g. paper, paint, scissors, glue, tape, crayons, fabric scraps, ribbon, yarn, chalk)

  • Special outing (see "Memberships" section)

  • School supplies

  • Stocks, bonds, CDs, or contributions to their college education funds

  • If you are handy and have the time, make something for the kids--like a rope swing, wooden blocks, a sandbox, or a teddy bear or pillow out of their old clothes

  • Put together a dress-up box filled with wacky old clothes and jewelry

  • Teach them a new skill (e.g. gardening, fishing, cooking)

  • Have grandparents write down their old stories or video/tape record them telling the stories

  • Toys that don't require electricity to use (battery or plug), and allow them to exercise their imaginations


Gift Certificates and Memberships

Try to avoid gift certificates for merchandise that will ultimately generate more clutter, instead try:

  • Health club, exercise classes, yoga, or massage

  • Healthy restaurant

  • Local natural foods store

  • Local greenhouse or nursery

  • Bulb or seed catalog

  • Movie tickets or rental gift certificates


    Annual Memberships

  • State parks (can be purchased individually for parks in AL)

  • Arboretum or botanical garden

  • Museum, zoo, or historical society

  • Community theater


More Alabama Regional Gift Ideas