This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Nature Conservancy. All opinions are 100% mine.
We’re big on becoming more eco-friendly in our travels. However, not just when we travel, but our daily lives too. It’s a struggle to maintain a small footprint, but we do try our best. Now that the holidays are nearing we of course are thinking about ways to have a greener holiday season.
So when The Nature Conservancy (TNC) asked us to celebrate the season by focusing on less stuff and more on what mother nature gave us we could not say no. Every holiday season, we make an effort to spend less on tangible gifts and more on experiences, getting in touch with the outdoors, cleanups, and donating.
Here are five of our amazing sustainable gift ideas to have a more eco-friendly holiday this year.
Sustainable Gift Ideas to Have a Greener Holiday
Think Green and Gift Green (Reusable bags and household plants)
In today’s day and age, I feel like this is kind of a duh product to have for everyone any time of year – not just the holidays! However, if you don’t think your special person has switched to eco-friendly shopping bags then this is a great gift to help them reduce, reuse, and recycle.
There is a reoccurring problem we see throughout the world and that’s the staggering amount of plastic waste we’re all creating. We feel like a broken record, but nearly every beach we visit is littered with plastic. Even in places like the Maldives, Mozambique, Seychelles, and even Wilmington, NC our hometown!
However, we only see the tip of the iceberg with plastic particles projected to outweigh fish in a few decades. This is an issue we can all take part in addressing. It’s pretty easy to start to reduce plastic waste, be conscious of trash, decline plastic bags and straws.
Aside from bringing reusable grocery bags and produce bags to the grocery store, we have switched to eco-friendly bamboo straws, toothbrushes, dry toiletry bar and have started to give easy houseplant gifts to friends. This is all simple stuff that, but it can help make a real impact if we all follow through.
Keep in mind that although consumers are part of the problem, the largest polluters are still industry so make sure to do your research and purchase from companies with eco-friendly business practices. If consumers continue to buy and support sustainable businesses and products companies will get the hint.
Give the Gift of Travel
Many people could do with less stuff in their lives and more experiences! Instead of spending hours dodging crowds, wrapping gifts, and filling those stockings with needless gifts why not give someone a memory they can cherish? This is a travel blog so I’m always going to push the idea or travel!
Travel opens your eyes to new cultures, people, food, and landscapes – who doesn’t like the sound of that. Whether it’s a flight somewhere, hotel gift card, or my personal favorite – an entire adventure tour to a special place in the world – this gift would be one to remember.
If you really want to do it right, you can offset the carbon footprint of the entire trip using this nifty calculator!
Host a Cleanup with Friends
With each passing holiday season, I feel that Christmas has become a way for companies to market and sell their products that many of us don’t need. It has become a holiday based around consumerism instead of spending quality time with loved ones.
Why not get back to those roots and invite your friends and family over for a nice meal, drinks, and a cleanup? It always feels nice to restore the beauty of your neighborhood, local beach, or nearby mountains.
A great idea comes from a fellow travel blogger, Jackson Groves. He’s lead an initiative called #AdventureBag where every outdoor adventure is accompanied by a trash pickup.
Experience the World’s Wildlife
We love our planet’s wildlife and biodiversity, and if you’re reading this blog post the chances are that you do too! Skip the zoos and head out to the woods and go hiking to see some of Mother Nature’s beautiful creatures.
Even better – go back to that idea of giving travel and plan a full African safari or Galapagos cruise!
Make a Microloan to a Small Business
Cameron received a great Christmas gift a few years ago from his Mother that I had never seen or heard of before. That was a gift certificate to a website called Kiva and I instantly thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Kiva is a micro-lending international nonprofit. Their mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty around the world and in rural communities. Essentially, you can log on to their website and choose from thousands of small business and community initiatives that need financing.
Choose one and lend as much or as little that you want, and over time you will receive re-payments. Once you’ve started to be repaid you can lend again, helping another person in need of a small business loan.
Lending like this creates powerful and sustainable ways to create economic and social good. Over the past few years we’ve helped fun a few projects and businesses it’s literally, the gift that keeps on giving!
Download the full Holiday Green Guide by entering your name and email to find out the best way to be a little greener this holiday season!