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Sustainable “Green” gift ideas for customers for Christmas 2023

Sustainable Green Christmas Gifts:
Six “green” ideas for customer gifts and attentions for employees

Green Christmas Gifts are trending: Whether for the stressful pre-Christmas season, for a birthday or simply because it is in keeping with the spirit of the times, sustainable gift ideas are more popular than ever – and companies are also sending a clear signal to employees and customers!

I would like to invite you to think about how you can score points with the recipient with sustainable green Christmas gift ideas.

A Moment of Nothingness – instead of consumerism and Black Friday madness

The newsletter of an American cosmetics brand had already impressed me very much the year before last. Instead of a Black Friday offer, they announced to boycott Black Friday with a BYE-BYE-BLACK-FRIDAY and to close the store on that day. I found that impressively consistent – but it was probably still a disaster economically. In a weakened version, since last year they have instead designated November as KNOWvember and exhorted thoughtful consumption instead of mindless bargain battles: “please remember to store slowly :-)”. M.E. however also this action turned out in the long run as Greenwshing. Because as nice as a SLOWvember sounds, the discount around it of 23% on all products let and lets also in 2023 the coffers of the cosmetics group certainly ring well.
Because as nice as a SLOWvember sounds, the discount around it of 23% on all products let and lets also in 2023 the coffers of the cosmetics group certainly ring well.

BUT: The thought is right (!) and cannot be brought into the world often enough and fuel the bad conscience: Hyper-consumerism represents one of the greatest threats to the planet. Urgent change is needed in the way people produce and consume products. Item. The United Nations shared,

that, according to current projections, the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050. The equivalent of nearly three planets would be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.
The COVID19 crisis can be a catalyst for social change – toward a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet. (Goal 12 on UN.org).

With this in mind, I am happy if you are inspired by the following tips. Because I don’t know about you, but I begrudge Amazon & Co again from the bottom of my heart NO record Christmas year!

Help give and make good things happen this Christmas:

Sustainable gift idea #1: Every day a good deed – the 24-GUTE-TATEN advent calendar

Who is not happy about an Advent calendar in which good deeds are hidden!?
One of the greatest, still far too unknown ideas that has been around since 2013: In the form of a donation starting at 24 euros, companies can support 24 social and ecological projects around the world. As a thank you, an Advent calendar arrives by mail in time for the Advent season.
Behind the calendar doors are concrete projects – in 24 different places around the world in the categories of health, environment, education, and care. This way, you can see every day which good deed is made possible thanks to the calendar. The projects are selected according to a strict selection procedure and guarantee that the calendar has a concrete effect
The invested amount per calendar is tax-deductible as a donation and legally harmless as an immaterial gift. A corresponding donation receipt will also be issued.

Not for last minute gift hunters

The 24 GUTE TATEN calendar is therefore the perfect alternative for companies that want to present their customers, employees and partners with a meaningful gift at the end of the year. A great alternative to traditional consumerism in the (pre-)Christmas season. In the meantime, we are already recommending the calendar for the third time – and with more than 300,000 calendars given away, they are obviously a great success, keep it up!

The only catch: the calendar is not for last-minute gift hunters (they should remember the idea for next year). Without personal card is recommended to order until 25.11.. If the calendar can also arrive after 01.12., goes also later.

Processing and shipping time: 1-4 business days.
Or you can order one for yourself – when negative news is pouring in all around us, it’s good to give yourself and others some good news:
Here’s to 24 good deeds free of charge: 24-GUTE-Taten-B2B

And new for purists who can do without paper: also available as a purely digital version.

Sustainable gift idea #2: Fair and homemade with love – from cookies to vegan superfoods

There is hardly anything more beautiful than enjoying the pre-Christmas season with leisure over fragrant coffee or tea and homemade cookies and other treats. However, many people also know that as nice as baking cookies may be in the run-up to Christmas, it can turn into stress for some people if they haven’t yet been able to cross this to-do off their list on the first day of Advent. Baking is also time-consuming. Customers are also genuinely pleased when someone has taken this trouble for them.

For those who don’t want to stand in the kitchen themselves, we recommend professional providers who – especially in these times – are particularly happy to have your support!

Kulturchoc combines superfoods with superwomen

My personal tip with local color: kulturchoc is the delicious result of the combination of traditional superfoods and energetic superwomen. In the heart of Hamburg, well-composed taste experiences are created from almonds, dates, saffron and other fair-trade delicacies.
kulturchoc wants to be a start-up aid and give women with refugee or migration experience a new, self-determined perspective in Hamburg. The production of our sweet snacks is done in a traditional way by hand and values the work of women’s cooperatives and small farmers around the world.
kulturchoc is recognized as a non-profit organization, therefore donations can also be claimed for tax purposes.

Work up an appetite? Then report here: Kulturchoc.de

Sustainable gift idea(s) #3: If consumption, then make the world better with it

If you really care about choosing physical objects, make the best sustainable choices. Take a look at B Corporation’s directory to find the best option for you out of more than 7.000 (!) B Corp certified companies in more than 200 locations for sustainable gift ideas. One idea are gifts for good donates a percentage of the purchase amount to select charities, and gifts for change is a French company where you can find various gifts made by non-profit organizations.

If you are interested in sustainable and social consumption, GoodBuy is the right place for you.
“Good Products. Better future” – with this slogan, GoodBuy has been offering a place for products with meaning since 2019 and is launching with the vision that good consumption can make the world a better place. That is, that our consumption can give more back to the world than it takes away.
While many sustainable products are less harmful than conventional products, they only reduce the negative consequences of our own consumption.
That’s not enough for the founders of GoodBuy: products that actively make the world a better place have a home at GoodBuy – both in the online store and offline in Berlin – fittingly at Gärtnerstr. 3 (PS: The author is happy about that, too ;o)).
GoodBuy thus enables many people to make the world a little better through their shopping. In doing so, all partners must have set themselves the goal of creating solutions for global challenges with their own products – climate neutrality alone is not enough!
The parcels are also sent in a climate-positive way, in that for each climate-neutral parcel sent, additionally deforested rainforest areas are bought up and reforested. In this way, every package sent saves the same amount of CO2 every 3 years that was generated by the shipment.
In this way, the platform wants to inspire more people to consume well and provide inspiration for a sustainable future. So if you’re looking for Christmas gifts that make a positive contribution at the same time, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

Gifts for private or under the 35 euro exemption limit for customer gifts

The products can be filtered by impact such as “fair world”, “protect the environment” or “knowledge works”. An example that I would like for Christmas: The RollTop backpack incl. laptop bag made from recycled marine plastic, for the purchase of which 3.5 kg of plastic is salvaged from the sea (for 159,-€).

The customer gift budget up to 35 euros includes, for example, great Chocolate from Original Beanss (from 5 euros).
The impact here: “One Bar: One Tree: “Buying a bright Piura 75% helps preserve this region’s uniquely bright cacao, as well as the even brighter butterflies that swarm it. For every bar purchased, a tree is planted, and you can track its growth via a code on the packaging.” This would be a great addition to our Tree Instead of Christmascard tip #5!

More stores for “good” consumption and great, sustainable customer gift ideas

The appointment and life planner EIN GUTER PLAN (26.90 euros).
It is my personal highlight and has been a favorite for two years, just like the publishing house behind it, Ein guter Verlag. Absolutely recommendable, the blog of Ein-guter-Verlag.

“Beegut” wants to make bee products more popular again

Here you can find a wide range of natural beeswax cloths for food packaging. Learn more about the friendly founders here: https://beegut.de/pages/ueber-uns

“Laguna” – plastic-free products

Regularly ranked number 1 in Utopia’s best list of plastic-free and most sustainable online stores: The Laguna Onlineshop offers selected and self-tested plastic-free alternatives to plastic products and disposable items such as drinking bottles and lunch boxes, as well as many useful helpers for everyday needs and wooden products made from local broken wood. Because our homeland is far too beautiful to be suffocated by garbage.

“My Little Steps” – Produkte rund um das Thema Zero Waste

If you would like to live more plastic-free and reduce your waste, but don’t yet know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Whether for household, office or personal care – our store offers you a wide range of sensible, beautiful and fairly produced products with which you can quickly make your everyday life plastic-free(er) and sustainable(er). In addition to the products, suppliers also pay attention to fair working conditions and support regional, environmentally conscious producers. The “Starter-Sets” that the founder has put together to help you get started with plastic-free living. The zero-waste set for the bathroom, for example, contains (depending on size) solid shampoo, deodorant cream, toothpaste on a stick and other practical plastic-free care utensils. Also great as a small gift is, for example, “Coolibri“, the plastic-free, recyclable freezer bag (from €5.90).

Sustainable packaging idea: reduce Christmas packaging waste with recyclable packaging – Goodgive

Since it ties in so nicely by name: Goodgive, a Cologne-based StartUp has developed a recyclable gift wrapping made of fabric to reduce the annually increasing garbage mountain at Christmas.

Because even if it only seems like a little bit of garbage individually, gift wrapping makes a lot of waste in total. According to Statista, more than €500 per capita will be spent on Christmas gifts in Germany this year. The founders of Goodgive have weighed the waste and calculated that on average 100 grams of waste are produced per gift when using gift wrapping including disposable ribbon and adhesive material. With an average of five gifts per person, that adds up to 500 grams of packaging material per capita in Germany. Added up, that’s over 41,000 tons of waste! Or as much as 75,000 polar bears weigh, according to Goodgive’s reference.

The Cologne-based startup is committed to a waste-free world with their reusable gift packaging made from sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, recycled ribbons and even recycled sewing thread. What makes the packaging special is that it automatically bows when closed. This makes wrapping easy and quick, and despite being fabric wrapped, it looks classically like a gift and not a cloth bag.

You can track each package with an individual QR code, so you can always see how often it has been used and how much waste it has saved. The whole thing can be seen in a respective profile with a map, which opens after scanning the QR code

Admittedly not quite cheap, but the products are available in the online store at www.good-give.com, at www.goodbuy.eu or www.avocadostore.de.

Sustainable gift idea #4: Plants bring joy – from perennials to bee feast

We care deeply about plants and trees. Otherwise we wouldn’t be market researchers planting trees. Sowing and planting is just a joy – we experience this every day through the feedback of our GreenAdz survey respondents.

Sowing joy with plantable greeting cards and blooming landscapes in summer

If you do want to send something haptic to plant, I recommend the “Blühende Landschaft” network:

The initiative of Mellifera e.V. campaigns against the extinction of species and insects and provides information with numerous information materials, teaching materials and flyers such as “BEE REVOLUTION” on the website. Through their webshop, we at GreenAdz have already frequently sent flower seeds in the form of direct mailings in their own sachets or together with our tree sponsorships, according to the motto “Planting makes you happy”. The seed mixtures are not only a feast for bees but also for the eyes and have melodious names like “Bienenweide” or – my favorite – “Kornrad & Mohni”.

In addition to flower seeds, it is also possible to order “flower sponsorships,” 5-cent donation labels that you can stick next to your Christmas mail stamp, for example, and field signs for the flowering bee meadow.

Click here to go to the Blühende Landschaften Webshop 

And newly added to my favorites of planting ideas: The growing calendar of the young founders of PRIMOZA, who produce a great calendar with seed paper to awaken the joy of gardening even for beginners and on balconies: My spontaneous favorites are, for example, the “Zwölfmalklug” for families and zero-waste fans (25,90€) or the “Forgotten varieties timeless” calendar with 7 Demeter seed bags for windowsill cultivation (19,90€). In this video, the friendly founders explain what their favorites are. And also great: plantable greeting cards and Christmas cards with integrated seeds, great! (from 2,95€)

At the August Bier Foundation you can participate in the conversion of a forest in the Sauern Forest by buying a ruler (from 34.90€ for 100m² of forest conversion) – sounds funny, but is actually quite cool.

Sustainable gift idea #5: Sponsorships – for bees, goats or a piece of nature

If you do not want to harm the environment with your gift, but rather help the ecosystem, then donations and sponsorships are the non-plus-ultra as sustainable gifts.
This can be a bee sponsorship, a solar sponsorship, a sponsorship for a goat or a sponsorship for a piece of nature. Here, too, the possibilities are almost endless.

Here are a few ideas for sponsorships:

At “Oxfam unverpackt” you can sponsor a goat “MÄHRY CHRISTMAS” (heard right – costs 28,-€) or a piglet (no, not on the plate – costs 13,-€) to help people in poorer countries to build up their own existence.
Our favorite in this category is bees: Did you know that half of Germany’s 500+ wild bee species are endangered? If you have seen the excellent documentary “More than Honey” and know how important the role of bees is in the global ecosystem, we would recommend a bee sponsorship as a gift for customers or employees:
Conditions are absurdly better for bees in cities and areas near cities today than they are in free-range agriculture. That’s why projects like Bee Rescuers, which settle wild and honey bees in the city for protection, are just right. With a bee sponsorship you support the work of Mellifera e. V. for the protection of bees for 35,-€. As a thank you you will receive a jar of Demeter honey once a year.
We personally appreciate Mellifera e.V., because we get the flower seeds “Konrad und Mohn” for our GreenAdz give-aways from them. Freely according to the motto: As long as you don’t plant any trees yet, start already with flowers…

Other associations and organizations on bee sponsorship besidesBeeGood *

(*Source: the great list for sustainable gift ideas – also in private from the travel blog Reisefroh):

  • Bee rescuer in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen: Bienenpatenschaft from 36.50 euros per year
  • Hamburger Stadthonig: Bienen-Pate from 50 euros a year
  • The bee sponsor in the Uckermark: from 24 € per year (for the small sponsorship)

For those of you who are waving this off and groaning at the very thought of the big pile of Christmas mail and signatures to be done, we now come to our ultimate tip #6.

Sustainable gift idea #6: A tree sponsorship instead of a Christmas card – #Trees4Christmas

Sponsorships and donations are great to give as gifts and are very sustainable – it’s not for nothing that they are becoming increasingly popular in professional Christmas mail or as customer gifts. Do you have a project close to your heart that you would like to support and that fits your company? Great!

If not, you could think about being one of the many companies that plant trees. After all, according to one Study, nothing can combat climate change as effectively as reforestation. Planting trees has the potential to absorb two-thirds of the climate-damaging CO2 emissions produced by humans to date, write researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich in the journal Science. Accordingly, the earth could tolerate a third more forests without affecting cities or agricultural land.

Do you already know, for example, our #Trees4Christmas Campaign?

We have been saving ourselves the trouble of printing Christmas cards for years. Instead, we give away electronic Christmas greetings paired with a tree for each of our customers. This is not only more climate-friendly, but at one euro per tree, it’s even cheaper than a card plus postage.

When we see how much fun planting trees is and what the recipients get out of it, we keep coming up with new ideas for using our one-euro tree sponsorships as a thank-you in marketing, even beyond surveys. And so, in the run-up to Christmas 2017, we decided on the spur of the moment to launch the “Baum-statt-Karte (engl. Trees4Christmascards)” campaign, with the aim of providing this ‘good feeling’ independently of surveys. Since then, the campaign has enjoyed growing popularity every year, and so “our” forest in Zambia is also growing steadily – we are currently very close to the 100,000 mark! Help us to plant the 100,000th tree in Zambia!

If you have an online store or offer your products & services online: Have you ever thought about planting a tree for every order?

For 1,-€ we supported with our trees e.g. the event agency Kahn-Events with their Online-Partyboxes and now also make the offline events a bit more sustainable. Other stores that use tree planting in different ways for themselves are e.g.: the fashion label Wijld, the consulting agency for CSR & sustainable e-commerce ecosistant, the Swabian promotional products store Alkoto, the young startup for smart wallets Essentialbag or the sustainable baby fashion label emma & noah, which reforests forests in Germany. As already explained in our Trees4Leads article, we don’t care at all whether you plant trees with us or with another organization, the main thing is that you do it out of conviction!

Positive reactions guaranteed

Here are some of the voices of the other companies that are excited about our Tree Instead Card idea, some of whom have been participating for years. Their feedback:

[…] Wir hatten übrigens 27 Kundenrückmeldungen auf unsere „Baum statt Karte – Aktion“ und die Kunden haben sich sehr begeistert zu der tollen nachhaltigen Aktion geäußert.
Es war also auch für uns eine voller Erfolg! […]

 […] unser Newsletter ist personalisiert raus ….und die Resonanz ist phantastisch  :-))))
Unsere Kunden sind begeistert. So viel positive Rückmeldung bekamen wir bisher noch auf keine Weihnachtsaktion. […]

Fazit: Bäume-statt-Weihnachtskarten kommen gut an – denn das Bäumepflanzen liegt voll im Trend.

All info how also you for 1, – € per tree your customers find you in our Blogpost: Give away tree sponsorships instead of Christmas cards:
#TREES4CHRISTMASCARDS for your customers Christmas 2023

In general, we now help many companies plant trees beyond the Christmas season. Take a look at what ideas we have and how companies can plant trees with us as part of their marketing: Trees4Leads – winning leads (and hearts) with trees

We look forward to your inquiry!


request non-binding information package about tree sponsorships for 1,-€ per tree (minimum order quantity: 50 trees)

Write us an email to BAUMSPENDER@greenadz.de and we will discuss the details - uncomplicated and at short notice

“The trees for Christmas were so well received by our customers that we would like to ‘reorder’ another 150 trees.”

B2B-Client, Marketing

“Nice thing about the tree sponsorship. Considering how many pointless Christmas presents roll in, this is definitely the better option […]”

B2B-client, Christmas tree sponsorship response

99.3%* of our respondents feel the survey is appropriate despite its length – for a third of them, the tree donation is the key participation motivator. (*GreenAdz B2C-Study 2015 and a lot of projects)

Key Result, B2C-Study 2015

Small attentions for customers and employees – give unexpectedly unexpected gifts

Small gifts at Christmas are wonderful – but they are remembered most when they come unexpectedly.

I recently found this excellent article on the topic Surprise your customers with this charming gesture in my favorite entrepreneur:inside network Impulse: it describes how to be permanently remembered by customers. Because often a small but smart extra is enough to show that you are different, more attentive and humorous than other providers.

Included: “Eleven ideas for small attentions” in various industries from car dealerships to coaches, consultants, IT service providers, opticians or fashion stores.

Our 1-euro tree sponsorships are also a small gift that captures hearts not only as a Baum-statt card, but also as a small thank you, e.g. for a newsletter registration, for ordering a product in the online store or as a goodie for reaching a minimum order size of the shopping cart. Our ideas for planting a tree for customers are so varied that we made a separate blog post out of it:
Trees4Leads – winning leads (and hearts) with trees.

As you can see, with the right idea, it’s quite easy – and not necessarily expensive – to surprise customers with small gifts and create more customer loyalty and joy on both sides.

Enjoy your customer relationship management!

About the author: 

Dr. Sandra Gärtner is co-founder of the market research and technology service provider GreenAdz as well as an independent market research consultant with mediaresearch42 from Hamburg with passion and a green soul. Green, because GreenAdz stands for “market research that plants trees” and the sustainable incentive concept is particularly effective in the area of influencer marketing research – especially for campaign-accompanying advertising impact studies of influencer campaigns

More appreciative than traditional PopUp survey invitations, we help our clients better understand their customers through good online surveys: We are always unobtrusively involved and ALWAYS incentivize each respondent with a tree sponsorship. For higher participation rates, better results and above all: more fun.

And because it’s so ingenious and simple, we also convince our customers to use a tree like this as a thank-you for all their other marketing campaigns. For example, instead of classic Christmas mail for the many customers out there.

#treeinsteadofChristmascards #trees4christmas  #Christmas2023 #GoodBuy #sustainability #CO2compensation #GreenGiftIdeas


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