Author’s Bio: Vanessa Weber is a guest writer for Earth Mamas International. As a Life Skills teacher and environmental enthusiast, she loves infusing eco-friendly practices into her classroom and training her students to do the same. While teaching abroad, she has seen countless environmental tragedies first-hand. This has inspired her to work towards living a zero-waste lifestyle and inspiring others to always do what they can.
The holidays are a great time to celebrate and be with family but often they come with the stress of choosing a gift that may not be enjoyed and will often eventually end up in the landfill.
How can you give gifts that impact your family, friends, and the environment positively? Here are a few ideas:
Get Out There
- Create a fund: travel, camp, road trip, or other big-ticket items that may seem out of reach
- Buy your partner a “night out on the town.” Dinner, ice skating, followed by cocoa.
- Purchase memberships for the state parks, the science museum, a climbing gym, or an art museum
- Buy lessons or a class: knitting, yoga, pottery, gymnastics, piano, photography, Spanish, cooking, the possibilities are endless
- Buy tickets to attend concerts, dance performances, plays and musicals together
- Create a completely unique experience that caters to what the recipient loves
Choose Gifts that Give Back
Do you have a friend or family member that is passionate about the environment, poverty, education, LGBTQ rights, a specific political candidate? Consider making a donation to a local charity in someone’s name. Here are some easy ways to do it online as well.
- Provide micro-finance loans around the world with Kiva
- Donate in some’s “honor” with Global Giving
- “Adopt” an endangered animal from the World Wildlife Foundation
- Choose from a wide array of UNICEF inspired gifts
- Check out World Vision’s gift catalog or sponsor a child
- Help turn palm oil plantations back into the rainforest with the Rhino Forest Fund
Get crafty, upcycle, get baking – DIY Ideas
- Bake treats or other consumables (granola, roasted nuts, seasoning blends, infused oils)
- Make candles inside recycled materials (I love these beer can candles – choose their fav brew)
- Make a blanket out of old t-shirts
- Pinterest is the BEST for ideas
Image from GluCrafted.com
Buy second hand
- Check out e-bay for “like new” items
- Shop at local antique stores
- Get thrifty at second-hand shops
- Have a holiday “sip and swap” with your friends – everyone goes home happy
Really need to buy something new and shiny? Shop ethically. Support small businesses.
If you’re really Gung ho about giving a “thing,” then use this opportunity to inspire mindfulness in purchasing. Buy ethically-made, fair-trade, locally-produced, eco-friendly, zero-waste, or organic goods. Purchase your gift from a local fair trade store, homemade pop-up shop, or an ethical, eco-friendly website. Here are some websites that are more mindful.
- Life Without Plastic (Canada/US)
- The Third Estate (UK)
- Wholesome Culture (USA)
- Vege Threads (AUS)
- Tree Tribe (US)
- Or try Done Good – they promote over 200 brands that “do good for people and the planet”
So there you have it. No excuses – there’s something for everyone on your list. We must fight the constant messages of never-enough consumerism in our face every day and especially during the holidays because of the actions they cause our destroying our planet – and it turns out ruining Christmas too.
What ideas do you have for experienced-based gifts? What successes have you had with giving an experience as a gift?