Giving the Gift of Sustainability | Holiday Helper

Does anyone else struggle with receiving and accepting holiday gifts? Don’t get me wrong my serotonin levels are at an all-time high when I rip into the wrapping of a gift that’s been waiting under the Christmas tree just for me, but I also carry a certain “buyer’s remorse” kind of guilt when I see the amount of material things I’ve accumulated and seriously do not need.

As I’ve gotten older and Christmas is less about receiving the coolest toy and more about spending time with loved ones I like to think I’ve gotten more thoughtful about the whole gift-giving process. When to buy, where to spend my money and how to wrap it in the most ethical way, so here’s a little break down of my Gifts of Sustainability!

The Preparation

I like to start curating my holiday shopping list and personal wishlist as far back as September! It might sound a bit over-eager but planning this far ahead gives me enough time to make sure the gifts I purchase are meaningful rather than something that is a temporary trend sitting on a shelf at Target. Another perk of thinking this far ahead is that I can shop while traveling between now and then, allowing me to find something a bit more unique and support a local economy elsewhere! Advanced planning also ensures sure any online small shops I purchase from have enough time to ship. This early start also gives people enough time to really think about what they would like to receive as a gift.

If/when shopping on Amazon make sure you are using Amazon Smile! This is one of the most effortless ways to indirectly make donations during the holidays!

Some other great shopping resources and sites are Good On You, Made Trade, Earth Hero and Package Free Shop.

The Wishlist

For this #ethicalexplorer these are some solid gifts that always come to mind for sustainable travelers. Gift cards are always a welcoming sight for travelers because you are putting your funds towards their dreams and adventures! Or for years more like this one where you may be sticking closer to home sustainable changes around said house make for good gifts!

  • Airline, Airbnb or hotel gift cards! Even if you don’t feel comfortable staying in an Airbnb there are tons of “experiences” hosted by locals on their website as well!
  • gear from Sustainable Travel Store
  • Girlfriend Collective activewear! I love everything about Girlfriend, from their inclusive size range to their sustainable business model, their yoga pants make for the comfiest airplane outfit.
  • The gift of time! Don’t tease, it’s a really great request! Planning a day trip to spend time with someone is possibly my favorite gift! On the flip side you can gift your own time and help someone with a project, babysit, whatever they need in order to focus on themselves.
  • A donation! As I get older I find myself jokingly wishing Santa would pay a month’s rent for me or buy me a new set of tires, things that are not inexpensive. Rather than make that uncalled for request I like to offer up a few charities or non-profits I support and request donations to them in my name! My top choices are Project K-9 Hero, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (we go waaaayyy back!), The Rhino Orphanage, RESCUE and FLYTE.
  • An airtight canister for loose leaf tea (lil’ plug for a great sustainable swap)
  • Socks! This is no joke and any adult reading this knows it. A clean, comfy pair of new socks are so nice to slip into and Stance has a great sustainability initiative!

To Wrap Things Up

I never really put much thought into the sustainability of gift wrap until I recently became aware that most wrapping papers are not recyclable! Don’t sweat, rolls labeled “recyclable” or “eco-friendly” are becoming more common in big stores like Target but I’ve taken a liking to good ol’ packing paper! It’s quite inexpensive for a large roll and it’s completely compostable! You can decorate with a pine sprig, paper doily, upcycled holiday trinkets, dried citrus fruits or just a handy dandy Sharpie! As for a ribbon-replacement, twine is a cute, compostable option (not to mentions matches the rustic aesthetic of the brown paper)!

It cost me under $10 for all my gift wrapping supplies last year and I still have plenty left over!

While I’ve switched my paper and ribbon supplies I still need to test out a safe tape option, I’m thinking this one will do!

Another easy option that shouldn’t require much purchase if any at all is gift bags and tissue paper! Simply save the ones you receive this year and use them again in the next!

Whether you’re gathering with nearby family this year or planning an elaborate Zoom gift exchange I hope these thoughts and tips sparked your holiday spirit and ignited a sustainable pathway when it comes to your shopping and gift wrapping! I find so much joy putting thought into the little details I listed above and maybe even more-so this year as it gives me something to really focus on amidst the Coronavirus chaos. Now get out there and shop ethically and locally!

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