Holiday shopping season is here, which you have surely noticed. Advertisements of sales, bargains, and deals are everywhere, from the radio during your morning commute to the side bar of all of your favorite websites. It can be an overwhelming time for many people who have long lists of loved ones to buy for. It can be even more overwhelming if you’re also concerned about sustainability. Read on for some thoughts on how to give green this year, without breaking the bank.
Avoid Gift Guilt and Buyer’s Remorse
An economically sustainable shopping plan for your family is something that everyone can benefit from. Prevent overspending by taking a realistic look at your finances before you start shopping. Create a list of everyone you would like to get something for and see how much you can afford to spend per person.
Additionally, find ways to cut back on the number of gifts you have to buy (and wrap and mail). If the etiquette of the situation allows it, re-gift things you know you will not use. Reducing the amount we buy is the first of the 3-R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and lowers your impact. If you have like-minded friends, you can also organize an exchange where each person is only responsible for giving a single gift instead of 5, 10, or 20. You’ll receive fewer gifts, but the spirit of the season will still be felt.
Open dialogue about what someone actually needs and (if you’re comfortable telling them) what you can afford to get them assures that everyone is happy when the gifts are all unwrapped. Taking away the surprise doesn’t have to ruin the fun, as long as everyone feels cared about.
To Last a Lifetime
Gifting your time or an experience instead of a physical thing can also be a great way to celebrate in the spirit of sustainability. Spending time with your loved one will create memories to long outlast another novelty gift. An afternoon baking treats that they can take home provides lots of giggles in addition to the sweet reminder that they walk away with.
For kids, a book that you holds special meaning to you can be an excellent way to leave a legacy this holiday season. A well-worn novel is just as great of an experience as a new copy, especially if you take the time to read it with them.
A contribution in a loved one’s name to a favorite charity is another way to go for friends and family that don’t seem
to have room for a single thing more in their closets. Even a small donation shows that you care and supports an important cause.
Where in the world do your gifts come from? It can be a fun and interesting experience to explore local businesses during your shopping. Farmers markets also offer local food and crafts that can spice up the season. Money spent at local businesses has a multiplied effect on the local economy because those dollars are more likely to be spent locally as well.