Let’s ‘Buy Less, Give More’ this holiday season

Media Contacts
Alex Truelove

Nathan Proctor

Senior Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

10 gift ideas that don’t depend on the supply chain and are good for the environment

BOSTON — Last holiday season was quite a bit different than ever before. Many of us didn’t visit our loved ones or exchange many presents. We may be able to see our families and friends safely this year. But what if we didn’t revert back to frantic shopping and piles of presents?

“Gifts are nice, but how many of us really need more new stuff? I think a lot of us feel this way, but we may have trouble coming up with creative ideas for gifts that don’t come from a big box store,” said Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog for PIRG Education Fund, the research partner of U.S. PIRG. “What if instead, we buy less, give more?”

We’ve done the hard work for you. Our PIRG Education Fund consumer, zero waste and right to repair teams have put together 10 ideas for holiday gifts that people will definitely use and appreciate, and, in some cases, will help create new memories. As an added bonus, they’re better for the environment than buying random stuff that you’ll use a handful of times and then throw out or dump in closets, cupboards, garages and attics.

“Many Americans have hit the point where they have enough stuff,” said Steve Blackledge, senior director of the Environment America Research & Policy Center (the research partner of Environment America) conservation program. “Buying more of it harms our environment — extraction on the front end, trash on the back end. We don’t need to do that. What truly makes our lives richer is more beauty, more nature. We encourage Americans to choose a better route.”

We highlight ideas such as taking someone someplace fun, getting beloved old possessions refurbished, upcycling a gift and making delicious baked goods or meals. We also offer creative ways to present your present, whether it’s online tickets to an event or beer-making classes or a promise to do hours worth of chores.

“Not only are refurbished products better for the environment, you can save some green,” said Nathan Proctor, senior director of the U.S. PIRG Education Fund Right to Repair campaign. “With delays holding up shipping of new stuff, consumers could really benefit from checking out our recommended refurbishers for gifts this year.”

U.S PIRG Education Fund Zero Waste Campaign Director Alex Truelove added: “​In​ the most wasteful nation on Earth, ​we’re surrounded by an embarrassing wealth​ of used items in great working condition. From clothing to bicycles and hand tools, our tips identify channels for givers, sellers, lenders, borrowers and buyers alike to embrace the holiday spirit while also reducing waste.”

Check out our new guide: Buy Less, Give More: A guide to a different type of gift this holiday