5 ways to green-gift your adult children this holiday season

Sigh. My children no longer have sugarplum dreams of My Little Ponies and Ninja Turtles. Snow boots and sleds, board games and the latest action heroes are also passé. So here I am facing a Christmas of “what-to-buy-for-grown-ups” when secretly I’m longing for holidays when new crayons and a bag of plastic animals made everyone happy.

However, tis the season for giving and regardless of the fact your children are sporting beards and holding down real jobs, they secretly hope you’ll turn back the clock when it comes to Christmas.  So presents are in order.


But if you’re greenie-minded like me, avoiding the “give-me-stuff” attitude that plagues the western world is a priority when it’s time to Fa-La-La.

Here’s my 5 tips for gifting your grown-up kids in an eco-friendly way:


1.       Consider their life styles. For instance, if your child is a traveler, like one of mine, scout out small packable items like electronic translators, adapter plug sets and  international cell phones things they can use and hopefully recycle when they are done with them. If they use an iPhone or iPod Touch, think gift certificate to I-Tunes to download favorite songs, or Amazon.com so they can pick up road necessities  from best sellers to wooly socks.  And remember the “goodie” bags you packed when they were little for long trips? Do up a grown-up version replacing sticker books with crossword puzzles or Sudoku, or provide a list of online game sites they can reference when flights are cancelled or delayed such as: Games for the Brain and Sheppard Software, Brain Games.  Use reusable bags to pack everything and don’t forget the snacks:  Substitute Fruit by the Foot with adult snacks like trail mix, Altoids, hard candies and chewing gum preferably in green friendly packages. Of course, show them you care even when they’re far from home by tossing in hand sanitizer and a couple of Burt’s Bees lip balms.

2.       Zero in on their hobbies: Whether its hiking, target shooting or coin-collecting, all hobbies provide great gift-giving opportunities.  Check out specialty stores and clubs for gift certificates; create your own coupons to provide transportation, babysitting or companionship for excursions, activities or events that focus around the hobby. Purchase online magazine subscriptions or join Paperbackswap.com to find books you need instead of buying them; then include the website on your gift card so your recipient can repeat the trade when they are done with the book.

3.       Reflect upon their dreams. Marathons, travel destinations, completing degrees, bungee jumping, archeological digs; activities that excite and sometimes scare provide great gift options. Think beyond the box though.  Give the gift of support to help train your marathon runner by running along when you can (at least for a little while!), wrap up a piggy bank and attach a card promising to collect all your loose change for special things they are saving for such as: the dream trip, the degree, the skydiving class.  This way you’re actively participating in their dream, not just giving them money.

4.       Support their humanitarian and philanthropic passions.  My daughter is a member of the loggerhead turtle patrol in Florida. She walks the beach searching for turtle nests, reporting nest sites so they can be protected.  Give to causes your children are passionate about, local ones like this or international ones like Heifer International , Food for the Poor or animal rescue organizations.

5.       Show them they’re never too big for your love. Get out the scissors and all those old pictures you can’t bear to throw away. Scrapbook your memories of their growing up years, their accomplishments, etc. Or remember the little notes you once included in their lunch boxes? Update this activity and write each child a personal letter that tells them how proud you are today. Other ideas include: photo collages (again using those precious pictures); give ahhhh gifts like spa treatments or movie and dinner coupons, or weekends away. Make the gift all inclusive by offering to watch the kids, walk the dogs and/or check on the house.

Overall, remember, even if they tower over you, they’re still your babies. So continue to give, but insert a greenie twist so they know you still care, not just for them, but the environment you are passing along for their future.



About greenupforlife

Facing life one green challenge at a time. Freelance writer specializing in green and sustainable articles, blogs, cocktail napkins, whatever keeps the creditors at bay, while building my client base leaf by leaf.
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