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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Do people give you eco-themed gifts?

Gift wrapped in recycled material

This giftwrap is made from recycled material: take a look.

Credit: erika g via Flickr under Creative Commons

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It’s my birthday next weekend, so I’ve been thinking about gift-giving this week. Do people give you eco-themed gifts? I’ve received a few over the years, but not as many as you might think.

That’s because I’d prefer not to get presents at all. Or rather, that I’d prefer the gift of time spent with my family and friends than another object to put in my home or office. So I’ve been encouraging people to take me out for a meal instead: anything from a sausage roll in the park to a fancy fine dining adventure. I don’t mind as long as the venue lets us sit and talk for ages!

I bet you know someone like my mum or my friend from university who truly enjoy choosing and wrapping the perfect present for someone. It’s never a chore for them, and I’d feel like I was spoiling their fun if I told them to stop. But I never know what to say when they ask if there’s anything in particular that I’d like.

So what do you do to keep your eco-friendly ideals while sharing a gift-giving occasion with someone who wants to show their affection by buying you something? I’ve got a few ideas, but I’d love to hear if you’ve got a few tips too.

Firstly, I do try to encourage people to give me food and drinks. It feels more festive to me if you ask for a specialty snack from your local area. I’m lucky enough to have a wine and cheese region within my 100 mile zone, so I know I’ll be happy with whatever people choose.

Another thing I do is name a few stores that take their ethical responsibilities seriously. That way my friend can still surprise me.

Are there other ways to persuade people that I’d much prefer to catch up with them than unwrap a gift? Or have I missed a source of really cool green gifts?