Holiday giving doesn’t have to focus on STUFF. Let your friends and family know how much you value them by contributing to a charitable or environmental mission in their name, or take the time to make a gift from reused materials. Here are 10 ideas from iSEE Communications Intern Katie Watson for holiday gift giving that won’t take much time but will make a statement about your commitment to the environment.
|1. Heifer International
Heifer helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to global areas with a long history of poverty. For as little as $20, you can support the donation of farm animals or sustainable farming kits — bringing both food and a source of income to a family in need.
|2. Adopt a Gray Wolf
Starting at $25, you could adopt a gray wolf in the name of a friend or family member to help contribute to wolf recovery efforts across North America. Help the National Wildlife Federation continue those efforts in areas still in need of reintroduction.
|3. Tickets to a local performance — Krannert
Purchase two tickets for you and a friend this holiday season! Student tickets at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts start at just $10. Bonus “green” points if you walk or take public transportation on your way to the performance!
|4. Trees for monarch butterflies:
Help reforest the Highlands of Michoacán in Mexico, a popular monarch butterfly migration destination that’s decreasing at an alarming rate because of timber extraction and agricultural conversion. A donation as small as $5 could plant 10 trees for Illinois’ favorite butterfly!
|5. Wildlife Conservation Network
Consider donating to the WCN, which protects endangered species and preserves their natural habitats while partnering with independent, community-based conservationists around the world. 100% of any donation can be designated to the conservation of a specific species if requested.
|6. Adopt an octopus
Adopt a marine animal this holiday season by donating to Oceana. Oceana seeks to protect ocean creatures from toxic pollution, such as oil spills and cruise ships. Working to create clean, safe habitats, Oceana has already protected more than 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea creatures.
|7. Membership to the Champaign County Audubon Society
Struggling for gift ideas for your naturalist friend? For just $15, you can purchase them a one-year membership to the Champaign County Audubon Society — which includes a subscription to Audubon magazine, the option to receive news of local birding and community events delivered to your email, and the ability to participate in weekly bird walks, field trips, and programs at your leisure!
|8. Local Charities
Want to give a gift with a good cause? Consider donating to a local project. Students may want to search around to donate to campus organizations such as the Illini 4000, or the Illinithon. For off-campus charitable organizations, check out Guidestar to search for nonprofits in your area!
Showcase your baking skills this holiday season with a tasty gift made with care! Pinterest will be your very best friend for finding killer recipes. And don’t forget to look for organic ingredients, shop local first, and avoid foods heavily wrapped in packaging that just ends up in the trash can.
|10. Do It Yourself
Get creative! You might not have time to go to the store, but you can use what you have to create an upcycled, heartfelt gift. From foot scrubs and soaps to handmade magnets and trophy-themed bottle stoppers, this article from Country Living Magazine has you covered with 60+ ideas for DIY gifts big and small. Check them out, and don’t be afraid to put an eco-friendly spin on them.
Bonus Tip: The I.D.E.A. Store in Champaign is a great place to pick up inexpensive craft supplies and items to upcycle. Plus, your purchase there supports the local school system!