How many times have you received a gift you never used? There is always that generous relative who just loves to give presents, but that just aren’t right! The holidays can be stressful! We’re too busy, spend too much money and feel an obligation to “do” or “buy.” But if we just slow down, relax and focus on enjoying time spent with friends and family, the holidays can be a wonderful time.
Less is more and less definitely leads to less stress! When I think of Black Friday, I remember the crowds of people trampling each other on the news to get the best deal for a new TV, computer, toy etc. With online shopping, now the shopping madness can take place from the safety of your own home or office, but still, do we really need all that STUFF?
I know there are discounts that make it seem like the best shopping day of the year, but being more thoughtful about our purchases and buying less overall is better for our wallets, our sanity and the planet. And how tempting is it to buy more of something just because the discount is too good to resist?
Planning ahead can help us avoid rushing to amazon for next day shipping (full of plastic) of last minute gifts. Here’s a few ideas:
- Experiences – Some of the best gifts are experiences such as a dinner, tickets to a concert, museum or theater performance, a weekend away or a hotel or air bnb. These gifts will remain as memories for years to come!
- Consumable gifts – This is definitely one of my favorites! How happy are you to receive a bottle of wine, coffee, some specialty food from a local region, home made cookies, cakes, jams or many other things that are so much better than the store-bought equivalent. A friend of mine makes her own digestive every year and bottles it in creative bottles she finds second hand for a creative gift for all her friends and family.
- Make your own gift – If you’re crafty, home made gifts are a unique, meaningful and sustainable idea for the holidays. I am personally not very talented at sewing but find that knitted or sewed items are a fabulous gift! One year I gave out home made lip balms. For grandmothers, home made calendars with pictures of the grandchildren is a classic but a favorite in our family.
- Eco-friendly/zero-waste gifts – Choose small shops selling products using natural and sustainable materials. Purchasing a zero waste kit for someone who you know would love and use the items could help influence and inspire others to take baby steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle! At green tribu, we have several ideas to draw inspiration from such as:
- Kit pulizia cucina – for those looking to try out the natural solutions to eliminate plastic from dish washing!
- Zero waste starter kit – includes the essentials perfect for someone looking to begin their journey towards a more sustainable life but not sure where to start!
- Smile kit – great for those looking for natural alternatives to plastic toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste.
- Kiss my kitchen – Stylish and compostable reusable sponge cloths and sponge cloth rolls are great for those looking to maintain a beautiful kitchen.
- Rose gold razor – Why not offer that beautiful rose gold razor to help someone stop buying disposable plastic razors forever?
- 24 bottles Clima bottle – Perhaps it’s the perfect time to gift that beautiful thermal bottle that keeps water hot 12 hours and cold 24 hours.
- And many more! Check our these and all the other ideas offered at green tribu!
- Donations – Do you have a relative who is heartbroken about the fires in the Amazon, or a who’s a surfer and feels strongly about keeping our oceans clean? There are some wonderful not for profit organizations who need donations and giving a donation in honor can be an extremely thoughtful gift! You can also choose to purchase gifts from a shop that plants trees or makes another contribute for every order, such as green tribu who plants a tree for every order!
- Second hand – Who says presents have to be new? My 2 year old definitely does not know the difference between a new toy and a used toy! Or have you checked out specialist websites such as Vestiaire Collective to find that one of a kind vintage bag your sister has had on her wish list for ages? If we’re creative and thoughtful, second hand can still be a wonderful option and is immensely better for the environment.
- Plants – When all else fails, I am always thrilled to receive a plant! I can never have enough plants 😊
- Receiving gifts – Some of the most wasteful gifts are those received when we never got around to specifying what we wanted or needed. After learning from our mistakes, now we try to be intentional about the holidays by making a list and asking for “limited plastic please.” Also, a revelation in our family has been the gift exchange! Instead of everyone giving gifts to everyone, we do a circular gift exchange so each person receives 1 gift (and kids 2). Gifts end up being so much more thoughtful and appreciated!
SUSTAINABLE GIFT WRAP
Did you know most wrapping paper is not made from recycled paper and is not recyclable? There are some scary statistics out there about the quantity of trees we’re sacrificing just to wrap gifts during the holidays. Here are some of the beautiful, fun and creative alternatives:
- Shopping bags – Even though we nearly never receive a shopping bag when shopping now, we have an impressive collection of old shopping bags that we reuse and reuse. Some of these are really beautiful and can make wonderful gift wrap! If paper, you can even have the kids decorate them for added personalization – great for kids’ gifts.
- Old gift bags and wrapping paper – Every time we receive a gift, we make every effort to salvage the gift wrap to be used again!
- Cloth bags – Make the wrapping part of the present! A gift bag in fabric that can be used for bulk shopping, fruits and veggies, lunch bags, toting around kids things, or one of the other million uses for a fabric bag! Check out the cloth gift bags from da zero which are made with organic cotton and hand made in Italy.
- Any fabric – Scarves, old tablecloths, cloth napkins, old sheets, etc. can all be beautiful alternatives. Furoshiki wraps are wonderful gift wrap alternatives, but you can also use fabric you already have!
- Kids’ art – How happy would grandma be to have her gift wrapped in old kids art? And am I the only one desperate to find room in the house for all the art they produce? 😊
- Get creative! Any other materials such as magazines, old newspapers, maps and more are surely better than their single use counterpart.
- Decorate – Add a finishing touch with some twine, shoelaces or leftover fabric from old clothes and some natural materials found in your garden or the forest: leaves, cinnamon, rosemary. Or get creative and add some dried oranges!
When in doubt, just remember to simplify. During the holidays, it can seem hard to avoid wastefulness. Staying conscious consumers through the holidays, we can inspire others to lead a more sustainable life.What creative solutions have you found for wrapping your gifts? Let us know in the comments below!