6 Eco-Friendly Gifts You Can Give

6 Eco-Friendly Gifts For The Ones Who’ve Already Stopped Using Plastic Straws

Give a gift that will not be wasted.

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Christmas and the surrounding months are for some people synonymous with shopping and stress over gift giving. If you want to avoid stress, I recommend considering giving practical gifts this season that everyone can use. Personally, I have been trying to be more green and reduce my ecological footprint on the planet by reducing my amount of plastic and waste. This holiday season, I want to encourage my friends and family to also be more green by giving them useful gifts that will also help them reduce their ecological footprint and waste. (You can see what your ecological footprint is here)

1. Stainless steel straws

SENHAI set of 8 stainless steel straws

We heard earlier this year about the high among of plastic, especially plastic straws, in the world's oceans that are harming ocean wildlife. I now carry around a set of steel straws in my purse to use instead of plastic straws. These straws are even dishwasher safe!

Find on Amazon for $8.99

2. Travel coffee mugs

Travel coffee mugs are so much better to use than single use cups because they are sustainable. Plus they keep your coffee warmer longer and don't spill as much. If you bring in your own mug to most coffee places, they will be more than willing to fill it and may even give you a discount. At Starbucks, bring in any reusable coffee mug or tumbler and you will save 10¢!

Find on Amazon for $10.49

3. Reusable water bottles

S'well 15 oz S'ip stainless steel water bottle

Many people worldwide use plastic water bottles with a million bought per minute of which 91% are not recycled. By buying a reusable water bottle, your gift will help save the planet as well as their wallet "with the average American spending over $100 per year / per person."

(S'well water bottles and tumbler not only look good, they also do good with S'well giving back to their partners UNICEF USA, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and RED.)

Amazon for $19.99

4. Reusable shopping bags

BeeGreen foldable reusable grocery bags

Worldwide about one trillion plastic bags are used annually which contributes to the approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic waste that are found in the oceans. Consider helping to cut down on plastic grocery bags by giving reusable shopping bags. (These bags come in packs of 5 with cute prints and even fold up!)

Amazon for $14.55

5. Reusable produce bags

Purifyou reusable mesh produce bags

Another way to cut down on plastic bags is to use reusable produce bags when getting groceries at the store.

Find on Amazon for $14.97

6. Reusable snack bags

Stasher reusable silicone food bag

These not only cut down on plastic bags but are great for students and coworkers who have to pack their lunch!

Find on Amazon for $11.99

My recommendation is to gift several of these as a set or to include one as part of you. You can consider putting your gifts in the reusable bags or even using newspaper (especially the comics section) as gift wrapping to make your gift more unique and reduce waste!

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)

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I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

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