Sustainable Vail: Sustainable giving this holiday season | VailDaily.com
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Sustainable Vail: Sustainable giving this holiday season

Beth Markham
Sustainable Vail
Beth Markham

This holiday season, sustainable practices are just one gift you can give yourself, your community and your planet. When selecting and presenting the perfect gift, there are ways in which we can all reduce our impact on the environment. Following are a few sustainable giving tips to utilize this holiday season and throughout the year.

Charitable giving

There are more than 65 nonprofit organizations in the Vail Valley that cover all interests from medical care for young children to the environment as well as a focus on animal welfare, at-risk youth, housing and so much more. There is a nonprofit for almost any interest. Give a donation in the name of a friend or family member to an organization that means something to them personally.

Experiences instead of goods

Give the gift of an experience to remember versus a physical gift. Consider booking a specialty service for someone in your life. Locally, Vail offers a wide range of experiences that friends and family can enjoy. The area offers several private chefs who can create an evening to remember for small or large groups, host a cooking class and so much more. Purchase a gift card for a memorable night at one of the area’s many restaurants. Or, consider a spa treatment or outdoor adventure such as snowmobiling at the new Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument. 



Made with love

Consider making a gift for friends and family. Edible gifts such as bread, cookies, cakes and pies are always thoughtful and practical. Draw on a special skill such as card making, knitting or pottery to make one-of-a-kind gifts.

Recycle and re-gift

Don’t waste a gift that you can’t use — re-gift it! Re-gifting is often the punchline for jokes around the holiday season, but it is practical and sustainable. Why let a gift go unused if it’s not to your liking? Find someone who would appreciate your gift — they don’t need to know it’s been recycled. Speaking of recycling, there are amazing finds at thrift shops. From vintage housewares to jewelry and designer clothes, find a special gem in one of the area’s many thrift stores.

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Natural gifts

Plants have a long shelf life and are the gift that truly keeps on giving. Gardening and growing plants is an experiential gift that can last for several months, if not years! A natural gift literally is green giving.

Battery free

As you consider the perfect gift this holiday season, consider a battery-free option. Batteries are a culprit in an effort to reduce toxic solid waste. There are a lot of alternatives to battery-powered toys and electronics that gift recipients would appreciate.

Also consider packaging when selecting the perfect gift this holiday season. Consider creative wrapping options such as recycled bags from past gift-giving, wrapping gifts with brown paper bags, reusing cardboard shipping boxes, recycling shipping supplies, using fabric wrap or turning old clothing into festive holiday ribbon. Online ordering is a staple of mountain living, so consider using some of the larger boxes to create a fun, memorable children’s gift like a fort, doll house or sports car. Some companies that ship larger boxes even give instructions for doing this!



Beth Markham is the environmental sustainability manager for the town of Vail. The Discover Vail monthly sustainability column is a project of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council, which is responsible for marketing the destination during the non-winter months.


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