How you can give better gifts for Christmas: helping you make the holidays a little greener

Everywhere we go now we are beginning to get bombarded by the upcoming Black Friday sales and offers, catchy Christmas jingles, and holiday recipes, not to mention the infamous Starbucks red Christmas cups. Unless you live in a cave (or a non-Christian/Western country) you’re probably well aware of this already. In today’s day and age, Christmas equals consumption.

We work to buy things but end up spending more than we earn, so then we spend our time working to pay off things we bought in the past. Sometimes we even sacrifice our November and December paycheques to adorn our friends and family with things they likely don’t need. Maybe we should take some lessons from The Minimalists and focus on spending time with our families rather than working to buy them stuff they don’t need.

Not only are our consumption habits wrecking havoc on our happiness and depleting our finite time on earth, but they are also extremely taxing on the environment. Sure, you can donate or re-gift your presents, but most of the time things end up in the back of a wardrobe until they’re no longer useable or in fashion, or worse, they end up in landfills. Don’t even get me started on the amount of product packaging waste produced during the holidays! Perhaps we should be a bit more mindful of what we choose to as gifts and stop buying our mother-in-laws the same body wash-and-loofa sets each year.

As a way to combat this ever expanding demand for things, Patagonia has pledged to donate 100% of sales made during Black Friday. Sure, this might not be discouraging sales per se, but it is certainly making a statement that this company is not in business purely for profit.

So if you’re not ready to completely adopt the minimalist lifestyle, how can you make your gift-giving this year be more friendly to the environment? We’ve been inspired by The Zero Waste Chef and came up with this list of tips:

  • Gift experiences, not things. Give the gift of a memory that will be held on to for life rather than an object that will be discarded. Think theatre, concerts, or travel

  • Cook a loved one their favourite meal from scratch and enjoy it together, without any phones or interruptions

  • Upcycle existing things to make them feel novel, like turning a pair of jeans into shorts, or sewing underclothes out of old t-shirts 

  • Get fermenting! Fermented foods are the hot topic in the nutritional and wellness world right now, and what better gift is there than a batch of homemade, zero-waste kombucha. Or if you're not into probiotics, make some jam, cranberry sauce or baking kits in mason jars!

Do you have any tips for how to give better and smarter gifts this holiday season? Share them with us, we love to be creative in how we show our love to our friends and family!

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