Green Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank:
Want to give a green Christmas gift this year? Here’s a little something that I did for friends and family last year at Christmastime.
It gets harder and harder each year to think of something original to give to family and friends, and I have to admit, the commercialism of Christmas, and the unnecessary buying, and the waste that goes along with the holidays can kind of put a damper on what it’s all about for me. Last year, I decided to “go green” with my gifts, and give things that I knew people would use and appreciate, things that were easy on the environment, and that would save my loved ones a little bit of cash-o-la in the months that follow.
Homemade Laundry Detergent:
I started by making a 5 gallon batch of my homemade laundry detergent, and everyone got a nice big jug or two of this awesome, natural, low-sudsing stuff. Save your juice/milk and laundry detergent jugs now, if you’re planning to give this away. (An easy way to remove the labels from your jugs is to blast them with the heat from your blow-dryer, while slowly peeling them off).
You can whip up a batch of this detergent his in less time than it takes to run to the grocery store, and a 5 gallon batch can be made for a buck or so. Think of how long 5 gallons of laundry soap will last for! I love this detergent for so many reasons. A: it’s easy on the environment, B: it’s excellent for people with allergies and skin sensitivities, C: you’ll never run out of laundry detergent again, and D: you’ll be saving a TON of money.
Environmentally friendly household cleaning products:
I’m a huge fan of cleaning my home with environmentally friendly and natural products. They not only are they easy on the earth, eliminating chemicals in the home means better air quality, and over-all better safety and health for humans and pets. The cost-savings is a huge bonus as well. So along with the laundry detergent, I gave a shaker filled with Baking Soda (for scrubbing sinks, tubs, toilets and even grass/laundry stains when spritzed with a bit of vinegar).
A spray bottle filled with vinegar and water is excellent for cleaning kitchen surfaces, windows and glass. I’m sure you’ve heard about the many uses of vinegar. If not, this is a great article to start with. Vinegar is my go to cleaning product for everything: windows, glass, sinks, counters, floors etc. I even use it as a rinse agent in my dishwasher and as fabric softener in my washing machine. It. is. magic.
Homemade swiffer cloth:
I LOVE my Swiffer sweeper, but I don’t love the expense and waste associated with commercial swiffer cloths, so I found an easy to knit pattern and made a bunch knitted swiffer cloths, and tucked one or two in with each “green gift”. You can just give them a shake outside, when they get dusty, or when necessary, toss them into the laundry to give them a good cleaning. You can find lots of patterns on the internet for sewing or knitting your own swiffer cloths, but I think this post from One Good Thing is my favourite, and the easiest alternative I’ve seen yet.
Each green gift also included a package of CFL bulbs and a power-bar. Power bars are great for plugging the t.v. and its components into, or the computer and its components, but if you make it a power-bar with a timer, and your recipient won’t even have to worry about turning the bar off at night. It will take care of itself.
The finishing touch:
Lastly, I tucked in a couple of bars of natural soaps from a health food shop, and a bottle of Martha Stewart’s eco-friendly Dish and Hand soap, which I picked up when it was on sale.
Package these items all together in a pretty basket or a cloth bag, and you have a really thoughtful, earth-friendly Christmas gift, that doesn’t break the bank. I had a ton of fun putting these together last year, and felt a real sense of satisfaction knowing that I was giving something that would be appreciated and put to good use.
I hope this inspires you to give a little “green” this Christmas! I’d love to hear about it, if it has. Get creative! And free to share your ideas and pictures on my facebook page anytime! Or to include your links in a comment here on my blog.
Merry Christmas!! :)