All year round we encounter moments where traditionally gift giving seems necessary, or some might say, an obligation.
And with good reason! With consumer culture at an all time high and cumulatively a huge contributor to waste year on year (particularly during festive periods), this gesture is a key solution to reducing your (and your gift recipients!) environmental footprint. There are a number of ways gift giving doesn’t have to be solely about an exchange of items. This approach does require a bit of creativity and a different lens on what gift giving really means, but the best part is, it by default becomes a joint task with the person who is receiving the gift. This could be agreeing to not give gifts at all and instead spending a day together, going for a hike in the national park, a walk and a beach swim. The gift becomes carving out the space to spend quality time together. Surprising them with the activity can be a fun element to this as well! You can also minimise your gifting consumption by setting up a kris kringle within your friends, work or family network, so everyone only gives and receives one gift each. Putting parameters on the types of gifts is an option as well, ensuring they’ll be the sustainable option! Another increasing trend to minimal gift giving is donating on behalf of the giftee to a cause they care about.
You’ll notice these alternatives also come with the added benefit of being extremely affordable… A perfect combination of minimising consumption and keeping spending low!
1. Agree with someone to not give gifts at all and instead spend a day together. You could surprise them with a day hike, head to a national park for the day, or find a nice track where you can walk and swim. If outdoors isn’t really their thing, think of an experience you can share that you’ll both enjoy, even a breakfast somewhere you wouldn’t normally go, or a creative workshop of some sort. If staying local, council websites are a good source of local activities and workshops.
2. Set up a kris kringle so everyone participating only buys and receives one gift. You can then put a limit on the amount people spend. There are many apps and websites which let you allocate people in the kris kringle, and also lets you add a wishlist, further avoiding waste and unwanted items!
3. Gift a voucher to an experience (an hour in a float tank, for example!) or make a donation on behalf of someone to a cause they care about. This is a meaningful option which is easy to organise. Ensure to check the legitimacy of where you are donating, and let your gift recipient know in their card who you donated to.