Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Greening Gift Giving

By Archive, November 26, 2007  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Archive

Now that the turkey has been recycled into leftovers, we turn our attention to the gift giving frenzy on the horizon. Real Simple magazine reports, "Household waste increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. In the United States, trash from wrapping paper and shopping bags totals 4 million tons."

Cindy in Minneapolis suggests: “For holiday gift giving, we make cloth re-usable gift bags from festive material. Most of it is recycled — the non-stained part of a holiday table cloth, mismatched cloth napkins, etc. Some of the fabric we got at a thrift shop, which makes for some great retro gift bags. I make them in all sizes and sew in a drawstring so they can be tied tightly until it’s time to open them. If you’re not a sewer, you could make them with no-sew fabric glue or iron-on hem tape. No paper is wasted and gift wrapping is FAST! Even faster because my young kids can help wrap too.”

What steps will you be taking to green your gift giving this holiday season? Get those creative juices flowing by checking out Environmental Defense’s Annual Roundup of Earth-Friendly Gifts.




jennifer f says ...
Put used wrapping paper through your paper shredder to create colorful, festive and best of all earth-friendly gift basket stuffing. It don't know if stuffing is the right word, you know but the fluffy stuff that you find at the bottom of gift baskets and bags!
11/26/2007 2:29:58 PM CST
la_florecita says ...
I've decided that I'm not going to give gifts this year that don't make the planet better in some way. I'll primarily be giving Sigg water bottles and reusable shopping bags. If I have to get a new item for someone, I'll get one that is recycled or sustainable. I've been making and sending out handmade holiday cards for about 10 years. This year, I'm going to design a PDF and e-mail it, and donate the money I would have spent on supplies and stamps to an environmental organization.
11/27/2007 10:53:13 AM CST
Jill Anderson says ...
We are wrapping all our holiday gifts in festive green Whole Foods shopping bags with red ribbons tied to them! The bags will include fair trade and organic treats and home-made goodies as well as wind power gift cards.
11/29/2007 11:02:00 AM CST
Akilah says ...
We save shoe boxes, bottles, jars, etc. and paint them for a festive container in which to put a gift. For a box filler, we re-use whatever filler came in our mail-order or gift boxes. Best of all, some of our friends and family value the packaging for it's artistic merit and reuse it!
11/29/2007 2:13:15 PM CST
Lyndsay Daniel says ...
My gift giving is two fold this year: 1. For work-mates I will be putting together some vegan chocolate chip cookie ingredients into some funky recycled preserve jars that I found at a local flea market - and will be using recycled paper products to attach the recipe and instructions. (I will be posting this giving procedure on my website - check it out) 2. For family members and close friends I will be giving memberships to Eco-organizations. Happy Giving!
11/30/2007 1:31:02 AM CST
Stephanie Mulford says ...
I like to reuse old Christmas cards and calendars - I cut them up to create colorful name tags or use them in scrapbooks. I will also cut apart the front of a card if there is no writing on the back and use it as a postcard.
11/30/2007 9:36:41 AM CST
Meghan Rubinstein says ...
This is a wonderful blog! Thanks for doing this, Whole Foods. I feel like sometimes we are just giving people something we don't even know if they need or will like. Why don't we think about what these people's interests are instead and give them a gift that will keep on giving? If they have kids that love animals, give them a zoo membership that helps sustain a local community organization and that they can enjoy all year long. They will think of you every time they go. Pair their interests with a donation in their name to an organization that is a good match. I have often given $ in the name of my teacher friends and relatives to organizations that allow African children to get an education. There are so many organizations, people, and animals out there that need $/gifts more than we do. When you give a gift like this, you really are doing two kindnesses at once. And I think we all know that we could use a little more kindness in the world! Happy Holidays! Meghan Rubinstein Denver, CO
11/30/2007 9:59:04 AM CST
Holly K says ...
This year I have tried to go more green by buying all my gifts from consignment shops, garage sales, community church thrift shops. This way I reuse and have definitely found some treasures. I also use gift bags from prior years. Gift bags can be reused for many many years and are often remembered from years prior with some good stories. We hace actually reduced how much garbage is thrown out, I also look for environment friendly products.
11/30/2007 11:46:21 AM CST
danielle says ...
I'm putting all of my women's/girls gifts in vintage handbags. The men's will be in reused baskets purchased at the thrift store. All of my gift shopping is going to be done at flea markets, thrift and vintage shops and I'm giving a lot of fair trade chocolate, honey, and spices, too. I use newsprint when I absolutely must wrap a box, and make a big ribbon out of yarn, which can be re-used.
11/30/2007 2:16:01 PM CST
Gail R. says ...
For Holiday Gift giving , please instead of shopping for gifts, wrapping them, standing in line at the post office etc, Give a DONATION of a gift, time or money to a local organization. And when you send your Christmas greetings, tell the person what their "gift" is this year. I have done this with family and friends and it is so much more rewarding to hear what they "donated " for my gift . This year my "gift" to my family and friends is food to the local food bank and toys for tots for our local toy drive. No standing in line, wrapping or the usual holiday shopping hassles.
11/30/2007 5:31:54 PM CST
Kathryn M. says ...
I recycle brown paper bags by using them as wrapping paper. After wrapping, decorate the gift with pine cones and greenery.
11/30/2007 9:33:04 PM CST
austingreengirl says ...
Each year I try to introduce new eco-friendly products to my family through their holiday gifts. It's a great way for them to try these products without 'wasting their money'. My mom now exclusively use an organic brand of bath products, and my sisters have switched to green cleaning products based on gifts from previous years!
12/01/2007 8:35:29 AM CST
Elaine L. says ...
For years my family has made each year's gift tags from the previous year's Christmas cards and envelopes. (We do the same with other greeting cards and envelopes. I love Jennfer s idea of using the leftover wrapping for "stuffing" bags and baskets, and will now also shred the scraps from the greeting cards and envelopes as well. Thanks, everyone, for helping my family have and spread a greener Christmas!
12/01/2007 1:39:41 PM CST
GDK says ...
The cartoon sections of newspapers make great gift wrap...a ribbon or bow can be added to complete the job with no more tree loss or miles to the store to drive.
12/01/2007 4:24:16 PM CST
Tyna Walker-Lay says ...
I give gifts that require no wrapping whatsoever. I give flower pots full of potting soil and packets of seeds with instructions to grow your own kitchen herbs. I give bowls with organic flour, dried fruit and nuts with a recipe attached to the side. I have always used old maps to wrap gifts for guys. Kids love brightly colored water/travel bottles--the ones from Whole Foods are great--filled with granola mix or caramelized nuts!! Why should the treats for kids be plastic non-reuseable tubes filled with fake candy full of dye and sugar? This year, I made all my friends and family a cookbook of all my favorite recipes. I made each one a CD for the computer. I give gift certificates to Goodwill. Going green does not mean that we "try" not to be wasteful. It means we have drawn the line to excess and waste in every way possible. Here's the gift that will score you the most points: buy a canvas shopping bag at Whole Foods. As the gift tag, attach a gift certificate to Whole Foods. Inside, add a cookbook, some great ingredients, a water bottle and voila---the gift that just keep giving!!
12/01/2007 7:15:48 PM CST
Mary Pierce says ...
I ordered reusable shopping bags at a discount (if you get 10 or more) from reusablebags.com they have mnay to choose from I picked "Plastic Bags Blow" since they are only $5 each i they are the gift bag with a eco friendly in side either Jim Morris t-shirts or Klean Kanteen's with a nice ribbon (saved from last year) they best gift my family will get! Now if I could only find better Made in the USA toys for my kids!
12/02/2007 1:34:54 PM CST
Kimberly Lawrence says ...
I tend to give whole grains (or foods) in jars that I've painted with recipes attached or if I give kitchen accessories, I will wrap them in towels that match the recipient's kitchen, likewise if I give something for a bathroom, wrapped in the towels to match.
12/02/2007 3:31:41 PM CST
valerie jones says ...
We are going to use the WholeFoods recycling bag to wrap our presents to friends and family.
12/05/2007 12:43:04 PM CST
David Smith says ...
While I appreciate the arguments put forth above. I wonder why a company that asserts they are a "Green Company" does not provide customers with transit directions to the stores. I know that <a href="http://www.publicroutes.com" rel="nofollow"> PublicRoutes.com </a> provides both transit and driving directions to websites so that users can get transit directions with a single click from Whole Foods website. I submit that Whole Foods by providing transit directions in such a way that user does NOT have to go to three transit sites to find out how to get the store, Whole Foods will be truly encouraging people to use Public Transit to get to the store. I mean think about it if 50 people per stores used public transit instead of driving to Whole Foods a day, and grew by 5 or 10 people a day until 500, the impact would be significant. Does this make sense? PublicRoutes is like MapQuest which is free to websites to provide driving directions, but if your promoting green initiatives it seems that you want to promote transit, where possible as well. Best regards, David Smith
12/07/2007 10:30:02 PM CST
Elena says ...
I've given reusable cloth gift bags made by a company called Wrapsacks that I purchased at my local Whole Foods. What makes them special is that each bag has a code printed on a sewn-in tag, and once the original purchaser logs the code at wrapsacks.com, everyone who receives the bag in the future can go online and see where the bag has been and where it went after you re-gifted it. It's fun to see where the bag goes and how often it gets reused.
01/26/2008 4:29:47 PM CST