Ethical Gift Giving: A Guide to a Sustainable Holiday


Ethical Gift Giving: A Guide to a Sustainable Holiday

Gift giving shouldn’t be at the cost of Mother Nature. Here are tips to make your upcoming holiday spree still thoughtful but ethical and sustainable.

    Christmas is the time we show our loved ones how much they mean to us through giving gifts. However, we often get caught up with the noise that we end up stressed and knee deep in the fast-paced, Earth-destructive realm of consumerism.

    Beyond expense and extravagance

    Gift giving must not only be about thoughtfulness but also mindfulness. At the state Mother Nature is in, we need to take every step we can to ensure that we have a future wake up to—even when it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

    Many of us worry about getting expensive and extravagant gifts. We want to buy the latest, trendiest items off the shelves. However, many of the items we choose to put under our trees contribute to the increasingly worrying state of our planet.

    When we choose to be ethical and sustainable gift givers, we not only give Earth a better shot. We also have the opportunity to give something more personal and lasting to our loved ones.

    Road towards greener gift giving

    Acknowledging the need to be better, more responsible gift givers are already half the battle won. Now, it’s time to get started on your road to ethical gift giving this Christmas.

    1. Create a list

    Man writing on his notebook

    Develop the habit of creating a list of possible gifts to give your loved ones. Taking the time to understanding exactly what they deserve to have and what could genuinely make them happy for a long time makes a difference. For example, a friend of yours who is into fashion may benefit well with a gift card from fair trade and sustainable stores like Everlane, Alternative Apparel, Patagonia, and many more.

    2. Embrace DIY

    If we are to live in a better world for all living things, we must begin to fully embrace the idea that DIY gift giving is just as thoughtful as store-bought. Creativity knows no limits and with just a few items and a bucketload of brilliant ideas to pair it with can result to the most unforgettable Christmas.

    There are many ways to get crafty with gifts. You can upcycle old textiles into shopping bags, knit your friends and families sweaters and socks or even repack granola mixes and mix up the ingredients. Even when it comes to packaging and wrapping your gifts, there are so many ways DIY can take your ethical gift giving to the next level.

    3. Go beyond material things

    Grandmother and granddaughter making some cookies

    Donating for a cause your friend truly believes in is a thoughtful gift beyond words. Taking the time to be with your grandmother and spending a whole day with her can be a dream come true for her. Gift giving is not only about material things. If anything, time and effort are among the best gifts you can ever give someone during this season.

    4. Support local businesses

    Man and his local business

    When you shop local, you are saving the Earth a hefty amount of carbon footprint compared to having gifts shipped out to you from far away. Moreover, going local also shows your support for small businesses that need the help of their community now more than ever.

    Get a regional wine from a winemaker that just sells around the corner, or a houseplant from the nursery down the block. The joy you’ll spread throughout the neighborhood will be immeasurable.

    5. Research, research, research

    Knowledge is power. Equipping yourself with information about the current state of the planet, and what you can do about it is essential. Saving Earth must go beyond conscious shopping and ethical gift giving. Living sustainably means living it everyday.

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