I know most of us are still processing 2021, but the reality is: it's almost 2023. This means it's Holiday season, and you should probably start thinking about what to get your friends or family this year. You could, of course, agree not to participate in the capitalistic tradition of gift-giving and focus on the quality time you spend with your loved ones, which is the most sustainable gift of all. But if that's not your choice, we have some suggestions for more sustainable alternatives to your regular gifts.
Before running to the shops, please also check out our 7 Tips to Make Your Holidays More Sustainable, where we explore a bunch of effortless, small things you can do to reduce the impact of your holiday celebrations.
Whether you are considering making a purchase over Black Friday sales or you belong to those who wait until the last minute to complete their holiday shopping, here are our top alternative gift suggestions.
Donate to a good cause
If you want to give a gift to someone who cares about a specific cause, consider donating to an organization they support. This could include Regreener, or other organizations that contribute to a more sustainable world.
Instead of adding another material item to an already full apartment, why not give them an experience you can enjoy together? This could include a ticket to the theater, a pottery course, sports, a cooking class, an organic wine tasting, or a reading of a poet or author they like.
Shop from a (more) sustainable brand
There are many brands that make it their mission to produce fairly and sustainably, so if you want to give a material gift, consider more sustainable brands, like:
iPhone cases: Woodcessories
all of the above: Up to do good
Adopt a bee (okay, more like a beehive)
You can support a beekeeper with a donation and make sure the bees are taken care of. Some places will even send you a few glasses of honey for your monetary support. You're helping to save the bees, and are getting honey in return. It's a win-win! Some places in the Netherlands: Bee Happy, Immunobee, Wellbeeing In Germany: Bienenpatenschaft
Give a bee or butterfly hotel building kit
Yes, we love bees. And even if you're not adopting beehives, you could still improve their lives by building them a little, cute hotel. You can buy the kits for instance at Dille & Kamille.
Buy products made by people with disabilities
Research workshops or organizations in your area which employ people with disabilities, who manufacture a variety of things, including Christmas decorations.
Help animal protection by adopting an animal
Organisations like the WWF allow you to symbolically adopt an animal and support the conservation of wildlife. This is a great gift for your animal-loving friends or family.
Give the gift of relaxation
Let's be honest, the last months of the year are busy for most of us, so a gift like a massage, facial, sauna, or yoga class is a great reminder to take time for yourself and relax. In the process, you will not only help the receiver unwind, but you will also be supporting a small business.
Help conserve nature by buying a piece of forest
This is a great way to protect a piece of nature from deforestation and exploitation. Ever dreamed about being part of the nobility? You can become an official lord or lady when you purchase a patch of land in Scotland.
Make something yourself
Homemade gifts are great because they show you put in time and effort to create something for the other person. You could make jam, liquors, chocolate cream, spice mixes, pancake mixes, and much more. Just browse online for recipes and pick things that don't go bad easily (like the above).
Let us know any other great ideas in the comments below!