Now that the Christmas season is in full swing, I want to talk to you guys a little bit about creative, conscious gift giving. This time of year is all about celebrating the friends and family you love, and it’s easy to get carried away on a quest to spoil them rotten!
However, during a time so heavily driven by gifts and purchases it seriously pays to stop and think about the presents you’re buying. Conscious gift giving is about taking the time to ask “am I spending money on things that are good for the planet?” or “Is this a gift that’ll be used, or one that’ll get forgotten about under the bed or at the back of a shelf?”
By practicing conscious gift giving you can surprise your loved ones with no extra cost to the planet - some gifts might even make it a better place! Here are my favourite tips and tricks for shopping consciously over the Christmas holidays.
Keep it simple
Great gifts don’t have to be elaborate or even numerous - sometimes the best presents are also the most simple. Keeping things minimal and easy at Christmas time means less things bought over all and a focus on quality over quantity.
Of course, different rules and traditions work for different people - no two families are the same. In my house this year everybody is getting one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to eat and one thing to read (yep, even the kids)! It means there’s a set, simplified amount of presents per person and that each and every gift will be truly appreciated and valued rather than forgotten about a week later.
If this doesn’t sound like a model that’d go down well in your house, maybe try to decide on a set budget for Christmas presents as a group. It’s a great way to encourage thoughtful, mindful purchasing and encourages the whole family to think about true value for money.
Another great way to embrace minimalism over the holidays is by keeping an eye out for multi-use gifts. It’s just common sense really - why buy three things when you can buy a single 3-in-1 treat for someone special? Sans [ceuticals] create gorgeous multi-purpose haircare products like the Activator 7 Body + Hair + Face Oil. If it’s makeup you’re after, you can’t go past the BITE Beauty Multistick or Nude & Noir’s colour palettes for eyes, lips and cheeks.
Think of the environment
No matter how exciting your gifts are, things become a bit less festive when you find out your purchases are causing strain on the environment.
Because gifts naturally have to be wrapped or contained in some way, starting with packaging this Christmas time is a big one. See how many gifts you can find with biodegradable packaging, or even packaging you can use again like Eco Tan’s gorgeous Certified Organic Travel Essentials kits.
Make sure any cosmetics, bath products, or literally anything that ends up washed down a drain is safe and chemical-free. Natural beauty products not only do wonders for your body, they also prevent synthetic toxins and synthetic fragrances from entering waterways and harming water-dwelling creatures. All of our skincare and body products at Belle & Sage are safe to wash away so you can pick out your perfect Christmas goodies knowing they’re good for the planet too.
If you’re shopping for a fellow nature-lover this year, why not give them their very own slice of nature? Kiwi site Treegifts is exactly that - native trees, fruit trees and exotic trees for your special someone to pop in the garden. It’s the kind of gift that’ll truly last a lifetime, and quite honestly, how could more trees in the world ever be a bad thing?
Sure, Christmas is a little bit about gift giving. But the true reason for the season is charity and kindness - extending generosity to people who aren’t as lucky as you and yours. There are so many fantastic ways you can keep your Christmas charitable too, it’s a wonder more people don’t make a habit of it!
This year I’ve been making a real effort to research and find brands that make charity and giving part of their day-to-day business. TOMS shoes are a fantastic example, donating shoes, sight, water, safe birth and bullying prevention services to people in need for every purchase made. I love Essence of Humanity and Zoo Nurtured products for the same reason - E.O.H contributes to a trust to help the needy and Zoo contributes to The Orangutan Project. Inspiring, right?
If you’re part of a workplace Secret Santa this year, why not have everyone pick a worthy charity to donate to and fund instead? It’s a way to learn about a whole lot of initiatives all at once, and it’ll feel loads better than frantically buying chocolates and gift vouchers.
And finally as a rule of thumb, make sure the things you’re buying are Fair Trade and ethical including the wrapping. Every year, I buy up all of the red twine from Trade Aid to gift wrap all purchases made at Belle & Sage. You vote for the kind of world you want with your wallet, and by funding ethical companies you’re giving them the financial power to keep going.
So why not be brave and big-hearted this Christmas? Conscious gifts are easy to find and incredible to receive. Take the time to really examine where your money’s going this year, and the world will thank you for it.