UGA GreenWay News

A Greener Way of Living, at Home and Abroad

Holiday Gifts that Keep Giving

I have always enjoyed gifts – both the giving and receiving of them.  According to researchers,  I am not alone.  Gift giving is an important part of human interaction and psychologists say that the givers often reap the biggest psychological gains. When someone takes time to thoughtfully select a gift for me, it means so much more than a check or cash; however, I am not against receiving money. In some instances and circumstances it is a very thought and generous gift.  I say that thinking of my husband who lives across the ocean. He is a practical man. For Valentine’s Day he mailed me a card filled with postage stamps.


My favorite types of gifts to give are ones that “live on” or continue to be used throughout the year. I came up with some ideas to get you thinking about how you can encourage people you care about to live greener, have fun and enjoy life.

Nature Lover. Fill a backpack with some of the items below. Attach a walking stick and some natural decorations like pinecones and holly, and it’s ready to give.

  • Bird feeder
  • Bird identification book
  • Binoculars
  • Compass
  • Membership to a state botanical garden, like Georgia’s. (Your state garden may be part of Reciprocal Admission Program so you can enjoy beautiful gardens around the country.)
  • Picture you made from dried flowers from your garden
  • Coupon book you create for an outdoor adventure each month of the year
This is for a western friend. It's a backpack filled with my bird id book from a class at the U of Idaho, binoculars, magnifying glass, suet feeder and a picture made out of dried flowers from my garden.

This is for a western friend. It’s a backpack filled with my bird identification book from a class at the U of Idaho, binoculars, magnifying glass, suet feeder and a picture made out of dried flowers from my garden.


“Grown Locally” Around the World. Fill a basket, or other type of reusable container, with items that are “local” for you. For me these items are:

  • Honey from the family ranch in Montana
  • Wine from Austria where my husband lives
  • Peanuts from Georgia where I live
  • Meyer lemons and Satsuma oranges from my fruit trees
Local Grown

I added a book on Vienna (Wien) and a handkerchief that I was given many years ago and has never been used.


Gardening is fun! Fill a garden trug, basket or other type of container with items like:

  • Solar-powered pathway lights
  • Gardening gloves
  • Potted plant, like a rosemary tree
  • Seeds or bulbs
  • Spray nozzle for the garden hose
  • Garden weeding tool
  • Book on native plants and/or pests
  • Wind chime or piece of yard art

This is a great gift for my Texas friends. I am passing along gardening and bug  books from when I lived in TX along with gloves, seeds, a hand rake, and a framed picture made from dried flowers from my TX garden. All packaged in a wooden trug.


For The Recycler in You. Fill a reusable bag or container you no longer need, or use, with items like:

  • Compost container
  • Rechargeable batteries and a charger
  • Lunch bag filled with reusable containers
  • Insulated tumbler
  • Bag for storing plastic bags
  • Doormat made from recycled material

I filled a basket from a former residence that had a second story with a compost bucket, an Insulated tumbler, two food storage containers and a bag for plastic bags.


Safety Begins at Home. Fill a basket, bag or other reusable container with items like:

  • Potholder
  • Slippers with non-slip soles
  • Flashlight
  • LED Nightlight
  • A tool that aids in getting in/our of a vehicle, like the Handybar
  • Child safety locks and Yuk stickers
  • First Aid kit
  • UGA Home Safety Checklist

My home safety basket is filled with a potholder, support bar for getting in/out of vehicles, slippers with traction, flashlight, home safety checklist, and a tape measure.


A Greener Home. Fill a bucket or dishpan with an assortment of items that contribute to improving the indoor air quality. Some suggestions:

I filled my basket with recipes for green cleaners, bottles for your mixtures, gloves, a microfiber cloth for dusting, castile liquid soap, baking soda, essential oils and green cleaning safety tips.


Here’s to A Healthy Home! Fill a basket or container that can be used to hold magazines, mail or other clutter with items that promote a healthy home environment, like:

I filled an old hat box with a radon test, CO alarm, humidistat, flashlight, tape measure, microfiber cloth, and some info on keeping your home healthy.


Water Wise. Bucket, or other container, filled with items that encourage water conservation, like:

  • Low-flow showerhead
  • Faucet aerator
  • Shower Timer
  • Toilet tank bag or other device for displacing water in the tank
  • Shower shut-off valve
  • Water conservation info sheet from UGA Extension

I filled my water basket with a shower timer, low flow shower head, faucet aerator, toilet tank bag, tips on conserving water, and added a “love is” washcloth that I have had for many years.


Energy Saver. Tool bag filled with items that encourage conserving energy, like:

I filled a tool bag with a surge protector, energy use monitor, cordless drill, battery charger, air filter whistles, light timer, flashlight, tape measure, and tips on saving energy.


For gift tags and cards, use postcards you bought and never got around to sending. These are only a few of the ones I bought and never sent.


Happy holidays from the University of Georgia Extension! For information sheets to include in your gifts, call your local county Extension office in Georgia (1-800-ASK-UGA1) or go online and print them out @ If you live in another state, find the Cooperative Extension service in your state on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website – NIFA.

Disclaimer: Mention of any products does not indicate an endorsement or recommendation.

About Pamela Turner

I am an Associate Professor and Extension Housing & Environment Specialist at the University of Georgia. I have a passion for helping people improve their home environment and live greener and healthier lives. An important part of that is helping people weed through all of the information to find trustworthy sources.

2 comments on “Holiday Gifts that Keep Giving

  1. Rebecca M Chenhall
    November 17, 2014

    Thanks for the great gift ideas. I especially like the nature lover and gardening ideas for my sister’s Christmas gift.

    Becky Chenhall
    Radon Educator
    College of Family & Consumer Sciences

  2. Pingback: Giving Green & Healthy Gifts | UGA GreenWay News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: