Thoughtful Gift Ideas for the Holidays

The Go Green Report, Episode 8

The winter months are upon us, and with them they bring the joys—and stresses—of the holiday season. Analysts are expecting that over $620 billion will be spent on gifts in the coming month throughout the United States. Last year, each American spent an average of $781 on Christmas gifts, and that number is expected to increase. This is a staggering amount, especially considering that $60 billon worth of Christmas gifts were returned last year. So, not only are families spending huge amounts of money on gifts, but almost 10% of those gifts aren’t even wanted.

As the holidays quickly approach, it may be time to consider how we can use this season of consumer-overload to help make the world, and our personal space, a better place. Piling our home with unnecessary items never brings the satisfaction that we hope it will. That’s why we at the Go Green Report we put together this list of alternative gift ideas to help make your holiday season more meaningful.

With the amount of money that Americans spend during the Holidays, wouldn’t it be better if some of those funds went to people throughout the world that really need it? Our first suggestion is to think of creative ways to try and give to underserved populations. There are many organizations out there that serve the underprivileged, and we should all consider leading by example by asking our loved ones to support these efforts on our behalf.

The Hope Effect is an organization that is seeking to change orphan care around the world. Their Homes for the Holidays Initiative offers an opportunity to raise support through a personalized fundraising page that you can share with your friends and family. With 100% of their donations being used directly for orphan care, everyone will feel good about the contribution that they make.

You can also make charitable donations in your loved one’s name as a gift to them.  Whether it’s sheltering animals, educating children, providing sustainable living for refugees, serving the homeless or taking care of the environment, find something you know your loved one is passionate about. Your support of an organization on their behalf is a thoughtful and meaningful way of showing you care.

There are numerous companies that sell beautiful items handmade by refugees or other underprivileged populations. These artisanal items are not only wonderful gifts, but also help provide an income to struggling families. Some of these include Sseko Designs, Refugee Beads, and Dsenyo.

In addition to charitable gifts, you could consider encouraging your loved one’s talents or interests by gifting them an experience. Buying them tickets to a concert or museum, or signing them up for guitar, tennis, or foreign language lessons for example, is a great way to support your friends and family’s talents and interests in a way they will remember for years to come.

Using your own time and talents is a great way to give back to loved ones this holiday season as well. Gifting baked goods, chronicling family history, putting together a photo album, organizing the basement or garage, or simply offering to do a set number of household chores are ways to tell them you love them.

As we enter this season, let’s choose to be conscious of the money that we spend and the clutter that we generate. We hope you will join us in taking a step back and finding creative ways to make our friends and families feel special without weighing them down with more things they don’t need. Happy Holidays from the Go Green Report.

Thanks for joining us on The Go Green Report.

This episode was brought to you by Control-n-Roll, a household product that can save you toilet paper and paper towels with every pull. For more information, visit

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