We survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday but there's still so much holiday shopping ahead. Full confession: I LOVE the holidays (especially Christmas). I was raised in a family that celebrates Christmas, but the festivity of the season isn't exclusive to faith. I love the cheesy movies, gaudy decorations, sentimental music, and oh my goodness hot apple cider! The holiday season can be so much stupid fun, however, it can also be stressful. We've become accustomed to buying presents for everyone and anyone. We've stopped looking for quality, instead pinning our hopes on quantity as a show of our love for others. Don't get me wrong, presents can be a wonderful love language, but there's a more conscious way to do holiday shopping. Trust me.
It seems bonkers to me that we've convinced ourselves and others that we would rather have a mountain of (pardon my French) shiny crap instead of a few practical, and quality, items. Sometimes gifting something that can really be used is the best gift! Kathryn of Going Zero Waste pointed out that most people aren't as likely to buy plastic-free items themselves, but are excited to try them out if they are gifted them! Check out her curated holiday box. Another great option to look into is the Package Free Shop online or in their New York City store. It's full of chic and practical items for your everyday life. Last, but not least, the mother of anti-plastic paraphernalia is Life Without Plastic. I could spend all day on their site.
If you've thought about the practical gifts but also need that "special something" and don't know where to begin, have no fear. Look through amazing conscious gift guides, like The Good Trade Guide to Gifts that Give Back, Sustainably Chic's Conscious Holiday Gift Guide, Remake's Holiday Gifts for Her and Him. There is also the option of visiting Gifts for Good or Ethica, two of many curated online ethical stores. Still not sure which piece would make your loved one happy? A gift card to Fair + Simple could do the trick.
Maybe you're reading this and you're thinking Okay Audrey, I appreciate what you're doing here but a lot of this stuff is over my budget. I hear you, an ethical/sustainable lifestyle is definitely more of an investment up front. However, there's always another way! Let go of the thought that secondhand is second best. There's something wonderful about knowing your possessions have stories of their own. Got a book lover in your family? Sites like Alibris and Thrift Books sell a large collection of used books in great condition. I use these often because I love reading physical books, but don't want to contribute to more paper waste. Obviously secondhand clothing is always an option but definitely more of a risk when it comes to gifts, unless you understand your loved one's personal style well. Ebay, Poshmark, and *gasp* Amazon all have great items for resale, lightly used, and ready for a new home. The internet can be a magical place. Another option is going to an antique shop, flea market, or vintage store. There are some blasts from the past that could brighten someone's life.
The other budget option is going for handmade items. I know you're thinking There's no way I'm giving someone a sh*tty macaroni necklace but have you seen the DIY community lately? There are some amazing things being made at home. Pinterest has a tutorial for almost anything– from jewelry to home decor, there is no visible end to the making madness. Get more ideas from blogs like: We Are Scout, Natalie Wright, Oh No Rachio, and my lovely friend Sustainable Daisy! Currently my DIY to do list includes making homemade body scrub, hot apple cider mix, and tassel earrings. Get creative and stay tuned.
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