A New Way to Gift

Love holiday gifting? There’s a ton of new-think happening around gifting that goes beyond being a conscious consumer searching for the sustainable. Avoid the pitfalls of this annual consumer-fest by thinking about gifting in a different way – not just about the gift, but the whole enviro-impact of the gift. To be an even more conscious gift giver, catch up here.


Global brands go all out at Christmas to make their gifts stand out and be appealing. But yikes! Before falling for these eye candy gifts, consider the environmental impact of all those festive bows, metallic wrap, textured finishes and plastic bubbles of the gift packs. A waste conscious gift-giver will look for something else with no, minimal and/or recyclable packaging.


Sponsor a rescue hen for a present, why not?

A donation to a cause is something that needs no wrapping, no trip to the shop and, if done online, only takes minutes. From organizations that support refugees and people displaced by war, famine or climate change to animal rescue organizations and sanctuaries, to people shelters and food banks, all need donations to keep up their good work. In a society that’s questioning unnecessary consumerism (i.e. if they don’t need it, why give it?) heart-felt giving like this is growing in popularity for all celebrations and for all ages so don’t hesitate to donate to say, a monthly sponsorship for a rescued farm animal, or refugee overseas for one of your kids or relatives. Gifting a sponsorship to a youngster is also a great intro to a lifetime of compassionate giving.


Conscious gift givers might make a conscious decision to spend less, make more. Don’t worry about the end result. Spice up your giving with fruit cakes, soaked in rum, and repurpose a cloth napkin to act a wrapping. Or pop a baker’s dozen (13!) of gingerbread cookies into one of those tins you have in the cupboard, or mason jar. Flavored olive oil or vinegar or even a mason jar of home spiced and spiked cider, might be another popular favorite to gift and takes little time and money to make. Design your own labels and wait for the compliments.


If shopping is your pleasure before you head to the mall or go online, check out local resources such a Christmas markets. Buying local supports independent makers and small businesses and since most of the goods –, soap, knitted goods and pickles are handmade or small batch and aren’t imported from afar are more "eco" than the “made in….” items you see in stores.


In a busy world where “relationships” are kept going through mass communications on the digital realm, give time. Make a date with a friend you haven’t seen in a while and do a “face to face”.  Visit a relative – or a stranger – who may be in long term care facility. Or do a pop-around to an elderly neighbor who is housebound. After all — it’s time to give!


You found the perfect gift. Now wrap it. Do it an earth-wise way. Forage your local thrift shop for old scarves or fabric ends, elements that can later go and be recycled, for their fabric content. Many retailers and brands already provide fabric wraps, or like Lovebird, unbleached cotton bags with purchases, and these can later be repurposed. Some other ideas. For wrap: head to the craft shop and grab some Kraft paper or a pad of newsprint. Leave it blank or print it with an inked up stamp. For gift cards: forage through those bundles of greeting cards and chop them up, or find some old postcards or photographs in flea markets and thrift shops and use them. Avoid: plastic tape, or tape of any kind (unless posting), or those satiny bows you can buy by the bag.


Gifts we like are those that lead us on a new path toward earth-friendliness or that encourage others to think more green, or that are appreciated because they are useful! Glass storage jars filled with beans…. Or, for the gardener, packets of wildflower or native seeds popped into a home-sewn hemp bag (get the hemp from a garden store. To inspire someone to live more eco, create your own gift box with eco-items such as product bags, bamboo toothbrush, etc.


You’ve bought (or made) everybody something. Now give a gift to yourself. Make it something that brings pleasure, soul-benefits, and that simply feels good: an extra long bath, a precious solo walk, a quiet reading session, or simply treat yourself to something meaningful to you. Reward yourself for the good self you are, and for all the good you do now and will do throughout the coming year.

Bringing gift giving down to earth is the best gift to our planet, so this season, give kindly, give good, but keep on giving (even if just with your heart).

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