Sustainable Holidays

10 Ideas for Giving Sustainably This Year

Holiday gift giving can be both stressful and incredibly wasteful. According to, Americans toss out about 25% more trash during the holidays than any other time of year. Think wrapping paper, returns, plastic toys that quickly become forgotten or discarded, food waste, decorations... the list goes on. So, why not go low waste and a little greener this holiday season, which can also help save you money and support local businesses?

The Westfield Green Team is happy to share our top 10 green gift giving suggestions with options for everyone:

10. Gift an experience. A show, getaway, concert, or visit to a local restaurant are great options. Or if you’re on a tight budget, plan a picnic, special home-cooked meal, or consider a staycation by swapping homes with an out-of-town friend for the weekend or visiting a nearby attraction like Brightwood Park, Watchung Reservation, or Grounds for Sculpture.

9. Give a gift card (delivered electronically or by paper, if possible) or cash. Try a Downtown Westfield Gift Card ( or Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce Gift Coin ( that can be used at multiple local businesses. Or stick with a check or cash, which the recipient can invest or use to get exactly what they want or need, making it less likely to go to waste.

8. Bake a gift. Share a copy of and bake your favorite recipe – you can even gift on a beautiful plate or in a reusable jar for a special touch. 

7. Craft a gift. Show off your crafting skills by making a gift, like a beaded glass ornament or knitted scarf or sweater (bonus if it’s crafted with repurposed items).

6. Shop local. Small businesses need your support and in turn, help support our local schools and sports initiatives, pay local taxes, and more. Plus, by shopping locally you can help cut carbon emissions, air pollution, and waste.

5. Re-gift or thrift. Consider gifting an item you no longer want or need to someone who will appreciate it or thrifting a special gift for a loved one. Have you visited the Westfield Service League’s Thrift and Consignment shop lately? You’ll find affordable and fashion-forward clothing, as well as other gifts. Plus, their sales support local nonprofits.

4. Frame a memory. Consider framing kids’ artwork or a special family photo as a keepsake. You can even repurpose or thrift a frame. 

3. Share your favorite sustainable swaps by gifting them. Some of our favorites include reusable cloth towels or napkins, stainless steel water bottles, shampoo and conditioner bars, and a set of reusable cutlery for on-the-go meals. 

2. Gift a refillable product to help teach sustainability. Consider a beautiful bottle filled with lotion or hand soap as a hostess gift. Refill shops have great refillable and eco-friendly options. 

1. Gift a donation or your time. Donate to a favorite cause like The Sierra Club, Arbor Day Foundation, or choose one closer to home like Brightwood Park. Volunteer at a friend’s favorite charity. Consider who the gift is for and find a cause they care about.

Overall, when considering gift ideas, aim for things that are consumable or useful and won’t end up in a landfill. Your family and loved ones will appreciate your thoughtfulness and creativity.