Striving Bean

12 Tips: Green Holiday Shopping

Snowy river

Since we’re in the thick of the holiday season, I’ve been thinking about how to “green” our holiday shopping. Many love to shop during this time – I get it. I’ve done it too and got some great bargains. Here are my suggestions as you venture out:

  1. Buying Food as Gifts
    How about a bottle of fancy olive oil or vinegar for the foodie in your life? Check out farmer’s markets for small batch specialty foods. For Twin Cities residents, take a trip to Midtown Global Market and the Local D’lish happenings at Mill City Farmer’s Market.
  2. Making Food as Gifts
    Try your hand at homemade chocolate truffles and chocolate dipped pretzel rods.  A lot of holiday treats freeze well so you can make them ahead of time. Buy some little boxes and bags at a craft store for fancy packaging.
  3. Remember reusable bags
    Check out the huge and convenient IKEA shopping bags for 59 cents and use them during your shopping spree. I’ve got 3 of these and use them all the time for shopping and for makeshift laundry baskets!
  4. Shop locally
    If you usually shop at big box stores, try at least one stop at a locally owned store. You will likely be amazed at the selection that you can’t get in any big box location.Some of my Twin Cities local favorites are: Patina, Nokomis Shoes, Bibelot, Electric Fetus, Cooks of Crocus Hill and Creative Kids Stuff. Be sure to check their sites – some have online deals if you can’t shop in person.
  5. Buy consignment & reused
    Turn Style and Half Price Books are great places to browse and pick up something for yourself too.
  6. Skip the drive-through
    Eat at at a locally owned restaurant after you’ve shopped. Buy some gift certificates for your friends and family if you like the place.
  7. Buy original art as gifts
    Artists will appreciate your business and you’ll give something unique to the person who has everything.
  8. Give the gift of a cultural experience
    A gift certificate to a world cuisine restaurant or tickets to a cultural event that heightens your interest. If you don’t know where to start, check out event schedules from local colleges and universities.
  9. Invest in rechargable batteries
    We haven’t done this yet. This might be the year!
  10. Order online
    My favorite way to shop – it saves gas and time. The Post Office, FedEx, and UPS know the most fuel efficient routes,  much better than we do.
  11. Think about last year
    How did you handle holiday shopping last year? Did you like your choices? Did it make you cringe? Remember what you liked and didn’t like and set some green improvement goals.
  12. Last and most importantly – if you’re heading out holiday shopping
    • Be kind to others
    • Be polite to the store staff, and
    • Give a smile to those around you.

A little kindness goes a long way.

What are your suggestion for “greening” the holidays?

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This was originally posted in 2009 and updated.  Lovely snowy river photo by rkramer62

3 thoughts on “12 Tips: Green Holiday Shopping

  1. Astrid

    Great ideas. Be sure to check out Artscraps in St. Paul, MN. I recently found some little silver gift bags for 5 cents each. You never know what you’ll find–always an adventure (at the right price)!

  2. Cassiny Maud

    How about giving someone else, or yourself, a green holiday? Eco tourism is fast gaining popularity. The pessimist in me says it’s because everyone should take a good look at what the world has to offer before we end up destroying all of it. In this cold weather, the Carribean really sounds tempting to me. Manicou River Resort in the island of Dominica has scuba diving, hiking, and river trips that will really have you in awe at the magnificence of nature. Sigh. Just thinking about the tropical weather is already warming me up.
    Anyway, I really like your list of suggestions. I will really try to be more conscientious about the shopping bags. I mean, a lot of stores offer discounts and other incentives to go green, but I keep forgetting to put the bags in the car. I’m actually going the garage after this post to put the bags in the car.

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