Christmas has always been my favourite holiday, as many of us would call it as the most wonderful time of the year. Watching classic Christmas movies with the family, baking some Christmas desserts, spreading festive cheer by singing loud Christmas tunes, decorating the Christmas tree and the Christmas scent just fills our home with nostalgia and familiarity.
We have the tradition of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, this is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men. However, in this day and age, Christmas has become extremely and excessively wasteful with people throwing away more trash during the holiday period than any other time of the year.
It's time to find a new approach to gift giving - simple, sustainable, greener, well thought out gifts. Here are some ideas I thought I would share.
CLOTHES AND FASHION
Get secondhand and vintage gifts. There is always a stigma around the idea of gifting secondhand but it is a great way to find something unique to give that is environmentally and eco-friendly option. Secondhand shopping is a smart and eco-friendly alternative for the planet and budget friendly option for your wallet. So I challenge you this holiday season to rethink your holiday gifting and try to incorporate a few secondhand items.
Make conscious gifts and I believe that experiences are the best gifts. Consider gifting intangible items such as tickets to a show or a concert, membership to a local spa to get a massage, national park pass or a zoo pass, music or sports lessons, a nice dinner, or you can totally customize this as to any activity that they enjoy and for our family, the best one would be babysitting for our two-year old toddler (babysitting can get very expensive throughout the year). Gifting a memory can be so much more special than a thing. Send holiday greetings using beautifully designed digital cards, go paperless this holiday season.
I absolutely love receiving baked goods during the holidays. It is the perfect time to gift homemade cookies or any homemade baked goodies such as organic zucchini bread or loaves of homemade sourdough bread or it can be any products that you know they will use up. You can create a hobby gift basket for a cooking enthusiast filled with reusable linen napkins, cleaning towels, cooking utensils, linen mittens, reusable steel measuring cups, spoons and wooden ladle.
As soon as the first snow falls or when the temperature drops below freezing, nothing beats a warm drink and a cozy blanket. For the coffee lovers, you can gift them a Chemex coffeemaker, reusable coffee filter, organic fair trade ground coffee and a cute vintage Christmas mug. For tea lovers, you can purchase in bulk loose leaf tea from farmer's markets and fill reusable tea bags with it. And match this warm drink gift basket with a cozy cotton throw blanket.
It is a wonderful idea to give a self development journal to inspire personal growth, a great way for people to practice mindfulness, awareness and creativity to find a newer better version of themselves. For the unwanted gifts that you received, try to find them a better home where they will be actually used to prevent these items from going to landfills. Ask for conscious gifts that you will actually use instead of just some random stuff, you can also ask your family and friends for charity donations instead.
You can gift a sustainability or zero waste starter kit which includes a cotton cloth napkin, set of bamboo cutlery, steel straw & straw cleaner, mesh or string market bag and stainless steel water bottle. Support small local businesses that supports sustainable living and eco-friendly products by including their natural products into your starter kits.
Use reusable, recyclable or compostable gift wrapping options. Use newspaper, brown paper bags, flowerseed paper or cloth bags to wrap your gifts. Get creative, you can also practice the "no gift wrap idea" by using the gift itself as the package.
Make every effort to consciously and thoughtfully pick the gifts for your loved ones. I hope you find these ideas helpful in making the holidays greener.