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An Eco-Friendly Donation Gift Giving Guide for 2022

Sebbi Strauch

What do you give the person who has everything? What about a thoughtful, eco-friendly holiday gift this year? We have assembled a list of unique donation-based gifts that don’t require navigating supply chain issues or hoping your package arrives before the actual day of gift-giving.

Gifts such as planting a tree for someone, adopting an endangered species, naming a star, or donating to popular organizations in need like the National Parks Conservation Association or Heifer International are memorable, unique gifts that make a difference and support the environment.

If you’re interested in planting a tree in a family member’s or friend’s name, consider A Living Tribute. This organization plants trees across the United States in an effort to reforest critically endangered parts of designated National Forests and Parks that are in need. Every 1,000 seedlings planted restores four acres of important wildlife land. This literally green gift is the best way to support community reforestation across America, lessen the nation’s carbon footprint, and make the oxygen we breathe healthier. For gift-giving, a donation comes with a commemorative card.

Another way to support sustainability as a holiday gift is to donate to one of the great trails that crisscross the country, such as the Pacific Crest or the Appalachian Trails. Both the Pacific Coast Trail Association and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy offer memberships that support conservation and make great gifts. Likewise, the National Park Conservation Association works to sustain and protect America’s National Parks. An annual membership to each organization is a gift that lasts a whole year and helps protect these critical spaces through important environmental lobbying efforts.

Photo Courtesy Josiah Gascho

The World Wildlife Fund’s Symbolic Species Adoptions is a fantastic holiday gift that supports the non-profit’s efforts to protect endangered animals and their habitat across the globe. You can pick a species – from the African Black-Footed Penguin to the zebra and everything in between – and make a donation which comes with a photo, adoption certificate, species card, and plush toy to give during the holidays.

Want to take it one step further?

You can actually give an animal to a family in need as a gift this year. Heifer International allows you to purchase an animal such as a cow, chicken, goat, pig, alpaca, sheep — or even honeybees — for a family that needs help.

This affordable gift means so much more than any pack of socks or tie you might traditionally give, as animal donations are truly like giving someone their own business, providing eggs, wool, or milk that increases a person’s sustainable livelihood, including access to medicine, food, and school for those who didn’t have it before. Once you choose what animal to give, your gift recipient receives an honor card explaining who will benefit. Heifer International has helped many people find clean water, healthy food, medical care, shelter, and education.

Photo Courtesy Judith Prins

One additional gift that will never run short on supply is to buy a single star, a star in a constellation, or two stars orbiting each other from Cosmonova.

With more than 100 billion stars in the universe’s current inventory, there are plenty to choose from. This carbon-free gift idea bills itself as the “best gift in the universe” – and it’s something the recipient will remember every time they look up at the night sky. With gifts starting under $50, it’s a great way to show somebody how important they are to you, with nature serving as a reminder.

There’s no doubt 2021 is a great year to think outside the box for holiday gifts. With rising prices on consumer goods and unresolved supply chain issues translating to empty shelves at many retailers, donation-based gifts go a long way to show that you care about your friends and family and the healthy, sustainable future of the planet. It’s a wonderful way to make a positive impact on the environment and on people across the globe. Whatever holiday you celebrate, making it a sustainable one spreads joy to all.

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