The volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day according to the EPA– about 1 million extra tons of added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons  – and unwanted gifts I presume.

So basically Americans buy a lot of stuff this time of year, lots of it unwanted after the holidays. For fun I decided to compile a list of 5 of the worst holiday gifts, followed by some gift suggestions guaranteed not to end up in the landfill.

5 of the Worst Holiday Gifts

1) Themed Ties: I get it. Your dad likes fishing. That doesn’t mean he wants to rock a tie in the shape of a fish. My dad is proud to be a Jew. But I just can’t picture him sporting a tie festooned with stars of David.


2) Useless Gizmos: Bread Baker and 101 other useless, space-sucking gadgets and gizmos you’ll use 0-1 times in your life.





3) Fruitcake: I knew this one guy whose sister’s best friend growing up had a great uncle who loved fruit cake. But that’s about it. In all seriousness, not everyone hates fruitcake. But how many of your gift recipients do?




4) Dancing Santas: They are funny for about 36 seconds.  Then it’s “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!” Take me to the landfill.




5) Whimsical Outfits: Don’t be an Aunt Clara, who subjected poor little Ralphie to that pink bunny monstrosity in the movie Christmas Story.



What to Replace Them With: Two Great Gift Ideas!

For gifts guaranteed not to end up in the landfills…

  1. Fair Trade Gifts: Stop by one of our Fair Trade Stores for all sorts of socially responsible gift options;
  2. Global Exchange Membership Gift Package–6 Choices available here.

Global Exchange Gift Membership Package includes:

  • One-Year Membership to Global Exchange;
  • Certificate of appreciation from Global Exchange;
  • A 12oz. bag of Equal Exchange Fair Trade Coffee;
  • Full sheet of six (6) “I AM 99%” Stickers;
  • Fair Trade Tote Bag;
  • $150 coupon toward any 2012 Reality Tour

When you give the gift of Global Exchange membership, you’re connecting someone you care about with an international movement to build a better world.  You pick the gift and Global Exchange staff will take care of the rest. We’ll send out the membership card and gift package, plus keep your recipient in the loop about Global Exchange programs and events.

6 Gift Membership Packages to Choose From:

  1. The Gift of Fair Trade
  2. The Gift of Socially Conscious Travel
  3. The Gift of Human Rights In Mexico
  4. The Gift of Community Choice
  5. The Gift of Energy Independence
  6. The Gift of Green a Green Economy

More details about each Gift Membership Package here.


The Wall Street Journal reports that the average American (according to Gallup) will spend $712 on holiday gifts this year. Let’s work together to make sure that $712 worth of gifts doesn’t end up in the landfill.

The good folks at Center for a New American Dream point out that only 1 percent of the materials used to make our stuff is still in use six months after the product is sold.


Global Exchange Gift Memberships last all year long. We welcome you to check them out now. Here’s to a happy, healthy and easy-on-the-landfill holiday season!