Sustainable Gifting; 7 Tips for the Holiday Season

As the Winter holiday time approaches, why not challenge yourself to be as sustainable as possible with all the gifting you do this year!

Giving thoughtfully and sustainably is something my mom instilled in me from childhood. When we were little kids at Christmas time we would donate toys to local drives for families unable to provide the same comforts for their children as we received. Over the past couple of Winters me and mom have organised packages for street homeless people, to give out during London’s coldest months. (I will probably write a blog post on the London Community Homeless Project during our preparations and outings this year. You can check out the Facebook page for it here: https://www.facebook.com/lchp2016/)

Giving thoughtfully and sustainably is something we should ideally strive for in our everyday lives, but the holidays are a good time to remind ourselves and spread cheer.

So (Ho Ho Ho)…

Here are 7 great ways to be a sustainable gifter this winter time…

1. DIY rather than BUY

If you enjoy the challenge of hand-crafting things yourself, then making DIY gifts can be really fun and is extra meaningful! Hit up google for endless ideas.

Baking/Cooking for people comes under the DIY umbrella and can make a delicious project for the holidays.

Examples:

https://uk.pinterest.com/loriclem/homemade-christmas-gifts/ https://uk.pinterest.com/explore/homemade-candy-recipes/

2. Seek out treasures from used and vintage stores

Rather than feeding the non stop consumer machine, support the reduce and re-use movement by considering a perfectly good, second-hand (cheaper) version of the thing you were planning to buy brand spanking new! Plus you’ll miss out on rummaging around and chatting with the quirky shop owner if you choose to buy gifts whilst sitting on your booty in front of a screen.

3. Donate to a good cause on behalf of a loved one

Help support someone less fortunate than you, and share in the good vibes with your loved one.

Examples:

http://shop.unicef.org.uk/Shop/Inspired-Gifts.html

https://www.kiva.org

4. Give the gift of TIME 

Organise a special date with your honey, plan to cook dinner with your grandma, take your parents out to see their favourite band, spend the afternoon getting to know your sibling better (without the regular buzz of your mobile), volunteer at a local homeless or animal shelter, etc. Be creative. Reconnect. Make memories. Be supportive. Engage.

5. Buy gifts from charity sites

Some charities have nice shops online, where all the goods will be ethically sourced and the proceeds will support their cause. What a great way to give to someone you love, while also giving to a charity you like.

Here are a few examples:

https://amnestyshop.org.uk

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop

http://shop.rspca.org.uk/gifts.html

6. Shop Local

What if you put your money back into the local community, and had an awareness of the origin and maker of your goods (as opposed to a huge corporation whose goods are made overseas and whose workers’ conditions and materials you know nothing about)?! Radical, I know right?

Examples:

Folksy in the UK – https://folksy.com

Esty in the US https://www.etsy.co

Your Local Farms/Farmers Markets

Family-Owned Businesses

7. Arrange a Secret Santa Exchange 

Play a game of guess who got who, and reduce the amount of consumption for your entire group. This could be done in immediate and extended families, groups of friends, or in the workplace. Celebrate abundance and don’t place importance on receiving a large number of gifts,  but rather on celebrating with the people in your life.


If anyone follows these tips it would be fab to hear how you got on!

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