UCSF Sustainability Stories

By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, December 2020

10 Ways to Green Your Holiday Gifts During COVID-19

I always feel a bit like Scrooge when we write our annual story on how to green the holidays, which is often full of things to avoid. This year, except for a reminder to avoid glitter, this piece offers fun ideas for gifts that are both eco and COVID-19-friendly.

Check out these 10 ideas for greening your holiday gift giving this year.

1. The Gift of Experiences: Give a gift that needs no wrapping—an experience! From online Tarot card readings to cooking classes and magic lessons, Airbnb experiences is offering a range of fun online activities. Nextavenue has some great ideas for gifts that inspire creativity, such as the Virtual Instructor, which offers painting and drawing classes. 
2. Offsets: This season consider giving carbon offsets. This gift will make a difference for the planet by offsetting the fossil fuels used by your recipient through a financial contribution to projects that capture carbon or help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One local option that supports environmental health is the non-profit Cool Effect.

3. The Gift of Food: Fresh, healthy food delivered to your door is the perfect COVID-19 holiday gift. Farm Fresh to You delivers food from local farms directly to homes. (The UCSF community can use promo code “UCSF” to receive 15% off.) Other options include gift cards to Rainbow Grocery or the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. For fellow UCSF employees, consider a FastPay gift card, which can be used at various UCSF cafeterias, coffee shops, and eateries.

4. Chinook Book Gift Certificate: Chinook Book offers discounts to sustainable businesses and makes green living easy and affordable. Purchase a gift subscription that provides over 400 coupons to use at local sustainable restaurants, stores and service providers. Make sure to enter to win their “Perfect Holiday Morning” prize package, chock-full of green gifts worth over $900.

5. EWG Holiday Gift Box: Donate $135 to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and you can gift someone the EWG Holiday Gift Box, which includes the new cookbook from Bryant Terry, Vegetable Kingdom, a Stasher reusable silicone storage bag, a Klean Kanteen 16oz. insulated tumbler, and more. With a donation of $125 you can gift the Clean Beauty Holiday Pack, consisting of a variety of EWG Verified™, healthy beauty products.

6. Recycle a Gift: Regifting, to give someone a gift that was previously received from someone else, is an increasingly accepted practice. Here are a few tips for regifting tastefully, including making sure it is something the recipient will love.

7. Gardening Items: Interest in gardening has increased during COVID-19. Great gifts for aspiring gardeners include seeds, books, composting equipment, and gardening tools.

8. Green Gear for the Great Outdoors: We are all hiking and getting outdoors more these days. Therefore, a great gift idea is eco-friendly outdoor gear. Check out Patagonia’s WornWear program, which offers lightly-used factory seconds and recrafted items.

9. Shop Green: Choose gifts that are made of sustainable materials and ethically produced, and support the local economy by shopping local. While this is not a complete list, here are some online green gift resources:

10. Donate: Instead of buying more stuff, consider donating to a cause your friends and family care about in their name. Possibilities include a local animal shelter, environmental organization, or social justice group. The World Wildlife Fund has virtual gifts like “give a tiger a fighting chance” that protect a variety of animals, and you can gift a symbolic animal adoption, too. Through the Nature Conservancy you can “adopt an acre”—a symbolic gift that will help protect and restore threatened ecosystems.

Here is to a happy, green, and healthy holiday.

Image: Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Story: By Green Impact