“Planning ahead is an effective way to avoid buying gifts out of impulse”
The Christmas season is here and the holiday gift-buying season is in full swing. Consumption and sustainability don’t usually go together, but if you put some thought, care, and attention, you can make it work. When you’re shopping for a gift this Christmas, it can be tempting to go for the easy option, you know, something that’s instantly gratifying and easily replaceable. But there are so many better options out there. Gifts that will make your loved ones feel special, make them think about you when they use them, and won’t end up in a landfill or hidden in a cupboard a few months down the line.
Take some time, sit down, and think of the people you want to gift. Planning ahead is an effective way to avoid buying gifts out of impulse, a thoughtful gift is a meaningful one and most often a lasting one as well. Many different types of gifts can be given at Christmas. Some are sentimental while others are practical and functional. Whichever you choose, there is one type of gift that never goes out of fashion, a sustainable gift. Sustainable gifts are a sweet way of telling the person you are gifting that you not only care about them but also about the environment they live in and that you want to protect them for the wellbeing of their future.
Here are 6 ideas for sustainable gifts that will make people feel good about what they’re receiving:
1. Sustainable Presents
If you must gift a person with an object above all, think about what they need and not just what they might want. Go for gifts that last a long time, and that you know have a practical use for it. Avoid fast fashion items as much as possible and if possible shop local to reduce the carbon footprint that comes with transport and postage. During this season there are plenty of artisan markets, great places to find special gifts whilst sustaining local businesses. Hampers with local food are gaining in popularity as well, who wouldn’t appreciate the taste of something particular which brings memories of their childhood?
2. Sustainable Wrapping
A tradition of Christmas presents is the wrapping, although one can opt to give them up completely, there are still sustainable alternatives should one want to wrap their gifts. There is nothing that says smart like a simple non-laminated brown paper with a nice cloth ribbon to seal the deal. Check for the labeling and make sure the paper is sourced from responsibly managed forests.
Another great alternative is cloth wrappers, they not only serve the purpose of concealing the gift until it is unwrapped but there are many other things you can do with them afterward;
• Label them and store them in your memory box to remind you of a particular experience or moment in life.
• Reuse them next year to wrap gifts.
• Use them next year to decorate with them, they are fantastic as table placemats.
• Reuse them as dish towels during the holiday season.
3. Experiences, Memberships, and Courses over Objects
In a fast-paced life, fewer and fewer people are making time to dedicate themselves to something they like doing or wish they knew how to do. If you know of such a person it would be ideal to gift them such experiences or a course they’ve shown interest in.
Membership in a hobby club, language, or skill courses might be the motivation they need to take some time for themselves throughout the year to indulge in an activity that makes them feel good and fulfilled. Surprise them with a cooking class or a pottery course, who knows, you might be the catalyst to a lifelong passion. You can also get your loved ones tickets for a show or concert that they have always wanted to see.
4. Your Presence
I’m sure you agree with me on this: there is nothing more precious than time spent with family and friends around the holidays. In particular, take some time to meet the people you don’t get to meet often, it is more personal than material goods because it adds value to your relationship with that person. Take the opportunity to meet in person, go for lunch or dinner together, have a nice walk, picnic, or for those more adventurous a trip abroad. A visit to the elderly is the best gift you can ever give them.
5. Gather People for a Lovely Dinner at Home
Use the opportunity to group friends and family you haven’t met in a while. Make it an enjoyable experience, and ask people to come early so you can cook together, it’s not just the eating that is fun, preparing the food and the table together lengthens and heightens the experience as well.
6. A Charitable Donation
Many of us are privileged enough not to have to wait until Christmas to buy something we want or need, so if you or the person you are thinking of gifting is one of them, take this opportunity to help those in need by giving a charitable donation in the name of that person you wish to gift, it usually entices that person to make another donation out of their own pockets, therefore multiplying this act of kindness.
Helping the less privileged is always a fulfilling experience and as cliché, as it sounds, the act of giving gives you back so much more than any gift you might receive yourself. If you can help those in need don’t wait until Christmas, but if you can do it only once a year, then Christmas can be a special time to do it.
There are so many people and organizations in need of funds and a helping hand. Thousands of people devout their time to help adults, and kids from all walks of life who are passing through unimaginable difficulties. Don’t forget animal charities who do so much for those who don’t have a voice themselves but give us so much love and support in return.
Most of all, be kind. It doesn’t cost anything and lasts a lifetime. Merry Christmas