By: Viji Vijayan 
Director, Research Operations

My eldest daughter, Deepa, has always had a conscience about our planet. As a child, Deepa and her younger sister Lavenya loved receiving gifts as much as any other child. Both of them had a penchant for recycling whatever surrounded the gift — the boxes, the wrapper, the ribbons, and even the little bits of tape that held everything together. Both my girls developed a keen sense of craft, building beautiful things, breathing fresh life into items that were otherwise destined for the bin. These are memories of pure pride that any parent would feel privileged to possess. And I am proud to say that my daughters are my inspiration for going green.

Creative young Deepa (top left) and Lavenya (top right) and their lovely creations (refer to the 2 photos below)

With the festive season just a few months away, I have my own ideas on how to add my bit of green to the holidays. It is a small contribution, no doubt, but if we collectively engage in planet-friendly activities, we could make a huge difference, and have a more meaningful celebration. These are some of my green-gift ideas:


Gift-wrapping is a beautiful part of any present. It is also an indulgence that goes completely to waste the moment a present is opened. My daughters learned this early and started opening their gifts with care and preserving them for future creative uses. One of the things you can do is to combine several different pieces of gift wrap to create your own hybrid wrapping paper. Alternatively, you can buy a gift bag that can be used again after its initial purpose. A gift is always exciting to receive, and when the wrapping lasts as long as the gift, you know you have done something truly special.


Instead of giving gifts, you can give donations to charities of the recipient’s choice. Giving comes in many forms, and the more privileged amongst us can help spread the holiday magic to others. Ask a friend or family member about a charity they support, and chances are you will find someone supporting a cause that you can donate to. Many who have given to charitable causes feel that they have received something of even greater value and signify the true spirit of giving. Do consider a donation in the name of someone you love for the upcoming festive season. You never know what you will get in return.

Dedicate a tree

Trees are a large part of the season. So why not invest a few of your resources in them? The planet needs more trees. And the planet needs more people who care. There are several organizations across the world who plant a tree for every product sold or cause donated to. Look out for one of these organizations near your home and ask them how you can ensure that your actions will result in a tall, shady symbol of life for a very long time to come. Dedicate a tree to someone you love and show your love for the entire planet as well. After all, if Christmas teaches us anything, it is to reach for your own star.