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!