It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
The holidays have quickly descended upon us. Ready for the buzzing activity of the holiday season of making our lists, checking them twice, visiting family and friends, and eating delicious food? Not to mention the holiday shopping dilemma of who to gift, what to gift, and of course, how much to spend. The truth of the matter is that although the holiday season should be enjoyable, it can be a bit stressful. We are constantly bombarded with messages of consumerism: buy this, order now, free shipping, more, more, more. It is easy to get caught up in that particular messaging and not consider the impact of the gifts we give on the environment, the health of the recipient and even our pockets.
Not feeling that messaging? Sustainable gift giving can be the answer. It can help you to remember what this season is all about: giving to others. It is definitely easier than you think. It just takes some re-framing of your usual mindset. Sustainable gift giving can be fun, creative, thoughtful, and most definitely impress those who receive such gifts. The thing to remember is do your research, plan ahead, and keep the environment and the recipient’s health in mind.
So What Can You Give?
Time to think outside of the box and put those listening and observation skills to the test. How can you give a meaningful gift without harming one’s health or the environment. Think in terms of gifting a service or experience. What are some of hobbies and activities your loved ones enjoy? For instance, how many homeowners do you know? You can gift the service of maid service or furnace cleaning. Other thoughtful services and experiences to gift are:
- Car or bike sharing for those who don’t have a car.
- Gardening, painting, or carpet cleaning for a relative’s home or small store front business.
- Massage – because who doesn’t need a massage?
- Music lessons for someone who has considered learning how to play an instrument or for someone who regularly takes music lessons.
- Baking delicious treats – only if you’re good at it :0)
- Grocery or meal prep delivery service.
- A donation in the name of the recipient’s favorite charity, program or other interest they may have.
- A pass at a local gym, Soul Cycle, dance or rock climbing studio, voice or acting lessons – the list goes on.
Other things to keep in mind with sustainable gift giving is:
- Plan ahead so that you won’t shop in haste. This way you can make fewer shopping trips (less gas, fewer emissions in the environment)
- Send e-gift cards instead of physical gift cards/packaging that come in unsustainable, non eco- friendly packaging. The recipient can download the gift card onto their phone to use whether they shop online or in a physical store.
- Consider purchasing in bulk so that you can split the items among loved ones (candle sets, lotions sets, etc).
- Use minimal gift wrap or use gift wrapping that can be re-purposed. The packaging used can become a gift in and of itself – wicker basket, beautiful box, so on and so forth.
- Shop local, vintage, and fair trade for unique, one of a kind gifts.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the wonderful types of gift ideas that are sustainable and unique. Should you decide to give these types of gifts to give, consider including a note that explains the thought process behind the gift. This may pique interest and start a conversation about living a more sustainable, green lifestyle.
Sustainable gift giving may be something you have always done. If you are new to sustainable gift giving, what does that look like for you and your family/friends? Please share your ideas and thoughts below.