It’s Not Too Late for Intangible Gifts!

This is a guest post by Kelly Smith.

Are you a last-minute Christmas shopper? Or are you stumped by some of this year’s gift recipients? Do you have someone on your shopping list who already seems to have everything? Consider some of these eco-friendly intangible gifts for the people remaining on your list.

1. Memberships

Give the gift that keeps on giving - a membership to a local zoo, fitness center, science museum, children’s museum, natural foods co-op, or aquarium.

2. Homemade Coupons

Give a self-designed book of coupons for chores, babysitting, homecooked meals, special outings, car washes, knitting lessons, or whatever you can think of.

3. Gift Cards

Pick a local coffee shop, used book store, bakery, spa, garden center, wine store, or hardware store that your gift recipient would most like to shop at.

4. Birds, Bees, or Llamas

Give a gift of animals from These animals won’t need to live in your home, but will instead be given to a family working their way out of poverty through agriculture and education. If you are giving this gift to a child, you might like to include a children’s book about Heifer’s mission, such as Beatrice's Goat or One Hen.

5. Kiva money

Another way to help families in need is to donate money that your gift recipient can choose to give as microloans to families who are struggling to rise themselves out of poverty through entrepreneurship.

6. The Gift of Time

Purchase tickets to a show, or plan another exciting experience as a gift, sharing special time together in lieu of a physical gift.

7. Subscriptions

This could take the form of a magazine subscription to an earth-friendly publication such as Ranger Rick Jr. or National Geographic Little Kids for little ones or Audubon for grown-ups. Or consider subscribing to something like an organic-coffee-of-the-month club through a company such as Green Mountain Coffee.

8. A Family Tree

Create a family tree to share with someone special and help them to learn about their roots. Check out free genealogy sites such as to get started.

9. The Gift of a Child

Adopt a child in the name of your gift recipient, and pay a small monthly amount for food, clothing, and education for a child in the third world.

10. What are your favorite intangible gifts to give?

For more great ideas on being green and saving green during the holidays, 
visit my Green Holidays page (continually updated).

Photo credit: z287marc

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  1. What a great list of ideas -- I never thought about how intangible gifts are often usually available for last minute purchase (no shipping necessary!) -- another awesome benefit, besides being eco-friendly. Thanks for the great ideas, Kelly.

  2. Great ideas! I especially love the gift of time. Too often our tangible gifts take on more significance than relationships...and Christmas should definitely be more about relationships. Thanks for the great ideas!

  3. I LOVE these ideas! I had forgotten about a membership to somewhere other than a gym. Any kind of experience or ticket is my fave kind of present.

    LOVE this list!

  4. I have just learned about Kiva. What a great gift!

  5. LOVE these gift ideas! Some of my favorite gifts ever are ones that didn't cost a dime! Thanks for the reminder!

  6. We're also working more on giving to those less fortunate in our family. This week we packed a bunch of lunch bags with juice boxes, granola bars, oranges, candy canes, and warm socks to hand out to homeless people around town.

  7. It has become a tradition in our family that the kids give my mom and sister (the only ones that they really give presents to) some kind of charitable donation in their name. We try to think about what they would be most interested in this year and find an organization that helps with that interest.

  8. Great Ideas! I always try to donate in family members names as well as provide gifts for children in my kids age ranges instead of (more) gifts for my kids.

  9. Great list. We also like to give animals through Samaritan's Purse.


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