Buy less, give more

A holiday gift guide to help you buy less stuff — maybe even buy nothing — and give more joy

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We spent most of last year taking advantage of the time on our hands by organizing closets, sorting through cupboards and cleaning out garages and attics.

Why in the world would we just want to load our homes up with stuff again, especially when so much of it is made from pervasive plastic or other materials that threaten our air, water and wildlife?

We don’t have to this holiday season. Maybe, just maybe, the supply chain boogeyman is a blessing in disguise. Every time you turn on the news, anchors and analysts are dissecting the clogged shipping ports and dearth of truck drivers and wringing their hands about whether we’ll get those holiday gifts in time this year.

But despite what pervasive advertisements tell us, you have options that don’t involve buying the same old sweaters, socks and sporting goods.

Our Environment America conservation and climate change teams have put together 10 ideas for holiday gifts that people will definitely use and appreciate, and, in some cases, will help create new memories. As an added bonus, they’re better for the environment than buying random stuff that’ll be used a handful of times and then end up in closets, cupboards, garages and attics — or get thrown out and end up in overflowing landfills, where they can emit greenhouse gases or toxic chemicals.

Some of these gifts will take more effort than clicking button on a computer screen, but you may enjoy giving them as much as the recipient enjoys getting them.

Buy less gift guide


Presenting the present

Once you decide on the gift, you as a giver can still get the vicarious thrill of your recipient’s joy. You just need to be creative in how you give it.

Read our blog post with ideas and tips.


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