By: Heather Bien
Many of us are doing our best each and every day to keep sustainability top of mind and reduce our impact on the environment –– but how does that play out during this season of gift giving?
We want to show our loved ones that we’re thinking of them in a way that also shows we’re thinking about the planet. Of course, there’s no one perfect way to give sustainably, but there are a few things to keep in mind as you start making your gift list. Here’s what we’re doing to reduce our impact this holiday season.
Do Your Research Before You Buy
There may be people on your gift list that you know love to open a beautifully wrapped present. And, while giving non-tangible items might seem like the most sustainable option, you also want to have options for environmentally friendly and ethical gifts. Remember, the most thoughtful gift is one that takes into account what will make the recipient smile!
So, do your research before you buy. Look into the companies you’re buying from. To the greatest extent possible, find out where they are sourcing their materials and whether or not they’re using ethical manufacturing processes. Shop local when available. If you’re buying from eco-friendly companies, then you’re doing your part to make the holidays more sustainable.
Want to avoid the excess caused by shopping, wrapping gifts, and discarding unwanted holiday items? Gift your loved ones an experience! It could be something simple and heartfelt like a home-made dinner date night, something fun –– maybe concert tickets or a cooking class, or something special, perhaps a night away in a favorite place.
Giving experiences takes the materialism out of the holidays, while making room for all the memories.
Give to Your Loved Ones’ Favorite Charities
For the friend or family that truly wants to make an impact and do good this season, consider a gift to their favorite charity or cause. Or, consider letting those who may have you on their nice list know that the most meaningful gift would be a donation to a non-profit that has made a positive impact on your life.
Give Gifts That Encourage Sustainability
Speaking from experience, sometimes it’s hard to pull the trigger on buying items that we know would help our sustainability around the house. Glass storage containers, stainless steel straws, reusable food wraps, and cloth coffee filters seem like a wonderful idea, but investing in those home items does have a higher upfront cost than the less environmentally friendly options we’re used to.
And, that’s exactly why they make great gifts! I love gifting people the things they won’t buy themselves. Pull together a basket of items that help day-to-day sustainability in the kitchen and, for bonus points, wrap them up with an eco-friendly wrapping option –– use simple brown bags and recycled ribbon (never throw away a good ribbon!).
You Don’t Have to be Perfect
Lastly, keep in mind that you don’t have to be perfect. We all want to do our best for the environment, but there are times when it isn’t possible. The holiday season is all about spending time with our friends and family, creating memories, and savoring each moment –– if you’re able to do that in a sustainable way, that’s wonderful. But, if not, just remember that you can resume your sustainable ways in the new year –– and that’s okay.