Share Your Love: Gifts for People and the Environment

Would you like to put a positive spin on gift giving this holiday season? Do you shy away from Christmas commercialism, yet wonder what to offer those you love? Consider these gifts that keep on giving and that have far-reaching benefits:

  • Items that help people enjoy the great outdoors: cross country or downhill skis, tennis rackets, bikes, snowshoes, a compass and whistle for hikers.
  • Sets of sports equipment for a couple or a family. If you’re flush with cash, buy high end items; otherwise head for Cheapskates or your local sporting goods recycling store.
  • A family cross-country season pass.
  • Clothing that your loved ones can use to be outdoors and appreciate nature.
  • For someone who cycles in all seasons, Gortex socks (available at Mountain Equipment coop and other sporting goods stores).
  • A really good rain hat.
  • For potential travelers, stocking items and fascinating books on various destinations.
  • One or more months of bus passes to help your loved ones use transit systems.
  • For a wheelchair-bound friend or relation, HandiDart tickets. (www.independent-living.ca/HandiDart.asp)
  • For an elderly person, an invitation, redeemable on request, for a trip to the park or out for a cup of tea.
  • Assistance in getting a Christmas tree or decorating their home for the holidays, for an elderly person.
  • Baking together.
  • For a preschooler, glue, coloured paper, pipe cleaners, and whatever else you can think of; assembled in a do-it-yourself arts and crafts kit.
  • Membership in EarthSave (www.earthsave.bc.ca), Amnesty International (www.amnesty.ca), Western Canada Wilderness Committee (www.wildernesscommittee.org), Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org), or another worthy organization.
  • Tickets to an inspirational concert or local seminar.
  • A course or overnight island stay at Haven (www.pdseminars.com 1-877 247 9238) or Hollyhock (www.hollyhock.bc.ca; 1-800-933-6339)
  • One or more nights and days at a beautiful B&B such as Serenity by the Sea (www.serenitybythesea.com; 1-800-944-2655)
  • A gift certificate for a healing consultation or a massage.
  • An item from Banyan Books and Sound’s excellent list of top CDs and tapes, or a video. (604-732-7912)
  • A book that helps to create inner peace.
  • A video by a local filmmaker or video producer.
  • Coupons you create yourself, that offer house cleaning, babysitting, or a foot massage.
  • Dog walking services. (Children, teens, or adults can offer this gift.)
  • Organic nuts, seeds and dried fruit, nicely packaged.
  • New, healthful grocery and personal care items. (Have fun wandering around the natural foods store and prepare your own gift basket.)
  • A gift of organic produce, delivered for a few weeks (by one of Vancouver’s many services, or by Ladybug Organics in the Fraser Valley.)
  • Stevia powder or drops, the herbal sweetener that won’t disturb blood sugar levels.
  • An aromatic gift basket from Saje.
  • A subscription to Adbusters magazine (www.adbusters.org)
  • Common Ground magazine mailed each month (to someone far away, who misses B.C.)
  • A sampling of veggie burgers, so people can discover their favourite brands. (This is a possible gift for someone with heart disease or another chronic disease who is trying to change eating habits.)
  • A gift certificate for a local vegetarian restaurant (for ideas in Vancouver, Victoria and other locations, see www.vegdining.com)
  • For those with food sensitivities, the new “The Food Allergy Survival Guide”. Perhaps choose a recipe and prepare a delicious baked item free of gluten, dairy, or their specific allergen.
  • Respect your own values by, for example, avoiding products made of animal products, products tested on animals, or items from countries whose politics you don’t want to support. (This may shorten your gift list!)
  • For people who don’t really want gifts, find out if they would appreciate a donation to a favorite charity.
  • Ask your friend or relation what she or he would like, that will help to create a better world.
  • Buy as little as possible for Christmas; make gifts or baked goods; send letters and love.
  • Spend time with people (instead of giving things.)
  • Invite friends or neighbours for a potluck dinner at which you discuss great ideas, new dreams, and share how to transform your smaller or larger community from the religion of consumption to the vision of sustainability.


Vesanto Melina is a regular columnist with Common Ground. Her website is www.camd58.sg-host.com


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