‘Tis the Season for Sustainable Gift-Giving

Last-minute shopping? Check out the Office of Sustainability’s recommendations for sustainable gift-giving!


The holidays are upon us, and if you’re anything like me, you still have a few last-minute gifts to buy. Read on for a few easy and sustainable last-minute holiday gift suggestions.


Upcycled and Local

Collective Upcycle, Upcycle Parts Shop’s annual holiday pop-up boutique, plays a big sustainability game. Not only are all gifts handmade by local artists, but many gifts are also upcycled. As Upcycle Parts Shop describes it, upcycling is about the possibility of reuse, the excitement of creativity, and the energy of community. If you want to kick it up a notch, create your own upcycled gift by purchasing donated supplies from their store. Triple win!


Last-Minute Local Markets

Aptly named, the 9th annual Last Minute Market at the Galleria (1301 E. 9th) features gifts made by talented makers, artists, and craftspeople from Ohio. The WeihnachtsMarkt – Christmas Gift Market at Screw Factory Artists’ Lofts (1300 Athens Ave) features gifts by Screw Factory Artists and craftspeople from the Cleveland Bazaar. Check out both markets tomorrow, December 17th from 10am to 5pm.


Practical Gifts

Pass up all the trinkets that will sit on a shelf collecting dust and buy gifts that serve a purpose: a nice scarf that will be used for years to come; a massage for your hardworking partner; or a nice Santoku knife for the friend that loves to cook. A thoughtful, functional gift can be a day-to-day game-changer, and you’ll feel good when you see them using the gift throughout the year.


Buy-Nothing Gifts of Time

Offer to help someone with a task or chore, host a game night, offer to babysit, or buy tickets to an upcoming event. My favorite gifts to buy are the “guilty pleasure” gifts that your friend secretly wants, but is too ashamed to buy (FYI: New Kids on the Block concert tickets for their June 30th show at The Q are on sale now!) Gifts of time allow you to skip the hassle of last-minute in-store shopping and will provide a lifetime of memories.  


“Couch Potato” Sustainable Shopping

From the comfort of your warm, cozy home, check out two sustainably-minded companies featuring fun, functional, and sustainable gifts.

  • Uncommon Goods is an online marketplace to connect makers and their creations with individuals looking for unique handmade goods, regardless of the physical distance between the maker and the shopper. Their business model attempts to minimize the company’s environmental impact, working with artists to use sustainable or recycled materials whenever possible, choosing environmentally friendlier packing materials, and maintaining the Certified B Corporation seal
  • Bambeco is for the home goods lover. Bambeco vows that sustainability is at the forefront for every step of the supply chain and products for purchase are made with reclaimed, recycled, natural, renewable, and organic materials.


Finally, when the holiday season winds down, check out the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District’s “12 Life Hacks to Recycle the Holidays” to further reduce your carbon footprint.


Happy Holidays!

Stacy Albin, Office of Sustainability

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  • Matthew Gray