Like every year, Christmas always sneaks up and suddenly you’re confronted with one of the most important tasks of the season: gift shopping.
The shopping malls are crowded, everything seems to be on sale, and above all, you feel that the gift should be sustainable. Finding something that benefits your wallet and the environment is hard. But fear not! This year, I’ve created a checklist to make finding the right present easier for you.
1. Be thoughtful, and don’t buy a present to buy a present.
First of all, you might want to think of something the one you’re giving the gift to actually wants or needs. Listen to them carefully as they might leave a few hints for you here and there. Or they subconsciously dream about an item they’d like to have – this is your moment to shine and surprise them with exactly what they wish for. There’s no use in gifting something they might throw away. So instead of giving some Christmas knick-knack that supports the industry and is likely overpriced, you might support your friend instead.
2. Sustainable everyday products
Although some people might steer away from sustainable gifts, thinking that they may be pricey, here are some ideas that are affordable and trendy at the same time: products like beeswax food wraps, plant-based and biodegradable shampoos, reusable bottles, lunch boxes, fair trade chocolate or coffee, and plants. So if I’m going to spend money on Christmas gifts, I might as well spend it on something that helps the environment.
If you want to help the environment or people with your gift, what could be more sustainable than donating? To an organization that replants the rainforest or one that helps developing countries. You can also get creative and help an endangered species, like the kākāpō, a parrot from New Zealand. You could support projects that provide medical care or help the birds reproduce.
4. One person’s trash…
The most sustainable present you could give would be something you already own but don’t need any longer. This may sound cheap, but we’re not talking about trash here. You may own wonderful things you’ve just grown tired of. Maybe it’s just a book that you’ve already read and won’t read again. Think about which friend would like to have it and just give it to them. Now, depending on your friend or family, you might want to discuss this idea with them first. Who knows? Maybe they can even return the favor. After all, you know what they say: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
5. Homemade and Handmade Surprises
“Homemade happens in the kitchen. Handmade in the garage.” Or so the saying goes. For sure: Your friends and family will tremendously enjoy homemade jams, jellies, or preserves. Or pictures and photo albums you’ve created. I’ve often drawn pictures or made photo albums for my loved ones – they were always thrilled with this unexpected, thoughtful gift. It’s not as hard as you think. Find your own creative strength! A poem, an audiobook of your favorite memories, or something knitted or handcrafted will be just as much enjoyed. The important part here is that it comes from the heart. Giving presents you’ve made is a great way of showing others how much you care about them.
And last but not least, let’s talk about wrapping. You can get sustainable when wrapping your presents, too. How? Well, I learned from my grandparents that wrapping paper can be reused. Whenever you receive a gift, you can open it carefully, fold the wrapping paper and the ribbon and keep it until you need it again. It doesn’t have to be a throwaway product if you reuse it. Another option would be wrapping your gifts in yesterday’s newspaper, adorning the package with greenery, rosemary, or ivy. Or why not paint a picture and use that as wrapping paper. The possibilities are endless.
Enjoy the season!
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