The holidays are around the corner. But, before you get overwhelmed with the onslaught of it all, remember that less can be more and shopping for eco-friendly gifts makes everyone feel good.
This season make it an environmentally-friendly holiday and look for gently-used, open-box, recycled and plant-friendly gifts for your little ones. In the end, the greatest thing you're giving your kids is a healthy planet with a side of holiday cheer.
Just Buy Less
Many of us go into the holidays with the idea that we don't need to buy too much stuff, but then we overdo it. Quell this urge by making a list like you do for groceries. No kid needs piles of toys, let alone a bunch of junky plastic ones that break right away and fill up the playroom and later, the landfills. Save money too by putting resources into a larger, well-made item or wished-for electronic device. Better quality kid gear not only lasts, but a lot of it has a high resale value, so when it's time to let it go you can sell it and recoup some of the investment.
Shop Gently-Used Kid Gear
Brand new packaging may look pretty, but no kid cares about it. You can always make the gift special by wrapping it yourself. Cut back on this waste and save money at the same time by shopping for gently-used and open-box kid gear. In fact, reusing an item rather than buying it new can reduce the carbon footprint up to 82-percent. Plus it's a great way to get quality gear for a fraction of the cost.
For example, get that toddler in your life an adorable rocking horse. Normally a rocking horse, or any other rocking animal, costs around $50 to $80, but Goodbuy Gear sells them for under $30. LEGO and Mega Bloks can be bought in bundles, or as open box sets for much less than retail. If your little one is begging for their own pint-sized kitchen, why not get a magnificent one gently used for a third of the cost, no assembly required. The options are endless and change all the time. Another bonus to shopping second hand, if your child decides they don't want to play with Santa's gift for more than a week, well you didn't break the bank to get it for them.
Alternate Wrapping Paper
Recycle wrapping paper, gift bags and bows and make this holiday a little less wasteful. You can also source recycled paper and decorate it. Or, skip the disposable wrappings all together and use colorful clothes, handkerchiefs, ribbons and canvas bags.
If you want a more elevated look, try eco-friendly gift wrap options like Wrappily. Their wrapping paper is a 100% recyclable way to wrap holiday presents.
Make Gifts and Cards
Don't underestimate the power of a homemade card or personalized gift, most grandparents love getting something created by their favorite grandchild. Younger kids can make ornaments for all the aunts and uncles, create colorful paper wreaths and decorate a birdhouse, flower pot or wind chimes. For older kids, let them get really creative with glue, wood, paint and other tools in order to create a masterpiece for their teacher or best friend that they are really proud of. There are plenty of kits for kids to work with, or just put out all the art supplies and let them go at it. This is also a good activity to do with your kids and can be a useful teaching moment about giving, the holidays, and how to show people you love them.
Gift Useful Items
Gifting can be fun and helpful. Does your child need a new toothbrush? Think about getting them an electric one that will last a long time, and put extra heads into their stocking. Or a bike they can ride to school when the weather is nicer. Add on some accoutrements like bike bling, a helmet, pads and a light. Kids' cooking tools are fun to play with and to use in the kitchen while teaching them to make pie, create a pasta dish or even perfect some sandwich art. Don't forget cleaning gear like the classic Melissa & Doug Let's Play House set. It's great for play cleaning and actually dusting and sweeping, which can teach a child how to get things tidy while also having fun. Of course, there are always clothes. Though unless you're buying for a tween or fashion-loving kid, most children don't get too excited over a sweater.
Look For Green Toys
With so many great, eco-friendly toy brands out there, it's not hard to find quality baby and kid gear that also is good for the environment. For infants and toddlers the brand Green Toys offers chunky, easy-to-clean and durable cars, boats, planes and garden tools that are all made with recycled materials, mostly milk jugs. Plan Toys also sells great wooden items for babies and little kids, and the company uses sustainable rubber trees that haven't touched fertilizer for at least three years before they're cut down. This toy maker creates pull toys, animal rockers, doll houses, cars and many other cute, simple and elegant items.
Other green toy companies include Tegu Blocks, which are great for building and creating creatures with wooden, magnetic blocks that stick together. Haba's toys are all lead- and formaldehyde-free, and the wood for the wooden toys get sourced from reforested timbers, and the fabric items come from organic materials. In general, many wood, paper and cloth toys are better for the planet than plastic, especially single-use plastics. Overall, pay attention to the philosophies of the company in regards to its environmental practices.
Though we specialize in tangible goods, giving an experience is definitely high on our list of eco-conscious presents. Take your little one out to a special holiday show like the Nutcracker or theater production of Elf. Or buy them a membership to the local children's museum or science center so they can have a year of excitement. Art is another type of experience, for example YearCheer ships holiday-themed art, book and celebration boxes for each national holiday; and KiwiCo does interactive art, science and education boxes each month.
Gift cards too fit into this category. It's not only a way to skip the packaging and in some cases shipping, but allows kids to get what they really want. Goodbuy Gear offers gift cards too, which means getting what your little one desires while saving money and making sure items don't end up in the landfill.