Ethical and Sustainable Gifting Ideas for 2019

Posted by Madeline Davy on

Let's be honest, it’s no secret that the past few years have caused us to confront a few tough truths. The planet is in crisis, gender-based violence and inequality are still hugely problematic (though we’re finally starting to talk more about it more) and politically polarizing rhetoric is rampant. It’s enough to make you feel… not so festive. Especially because we know, now more than ever, that over-consumption is taking a huge toll on the environment. So what’s a guilty gifter to do?

I don’t think we need to ditch holiday gifting full-stop. Instead, we can choose to be conscious about the choices we make, so that we can spread joy while sticking to our values. Here are a few gift ideas I’m excited to try this holiday season.

Go Handmade
Okay, okay, I know it’s hard not to picture sad handmade scarves and childhood macaroni pictures. But thanks to craft blogs and youtube tutorials, it’s easier than ever to make handmade gifts that people will actually want to receive. There are all sorts of tutorials that’ll guide you step-by-step through simple DIY projects that yield impressive looking results. Recipe jars, nice beginner melt-and-pour soaps, and simple ornaments are some of my favourites. If you’re craftier, something built or knitted from the heart makes a really special gift- play to your talents. And when in doubt, everyone loves baked goods!

Gift Experiences Instead of Things
If you’re trying to give somebody something special without creating a bigger environmental footprint, gifting someone with an experience instead of a physical object is a great option. Maybe they’ve always wanted to try a pottery class, or see a special exhibit or show, or go on a weekend trip. This kind of gift doesn't create any material waste, but still has a big wow factor.

Buy Secondhand
Secondhand goods can be just as nice as new items, and sometimes they’re even better quality. If you have a vintage-lover in your life, this will be totally up their alley. Plus, you can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that buying an item secondhand reduces its carbon footprint by 82%, according to Green Story Inc.

Donate to a Cause in Their Name
This one isn’t for everyone, I’ll admit. Sometimes it’s just nice to receive a gift you can hold. If you know that your friend would prefer something they can keep and treasure, maybe skip this option. However, plenty of people (hi, mom and dad) really just don’t want any more stuff. They prefer the feeling that good things are being done in their name. Plus, it’s nice to feel like your gifter knows you well enough to know which charity you’d choose. It can be a really special gift when it’s done right. There are so many worthy causes out there. Lately I’ve been leaning toward local homeless shelters and affordable housing orgs, since there’s an awful housing crisis in my city this winter.

Support Ethical Businesses
You definitely don’t have to shun conventional consumerism entirely. There are more and more businesses popping up that are making an effort to support both environmental sustainability and human rights.

Some of these include shops include
Ten Thousand Villages which is a sort of artisanal general store with a focus on fair trade, or Reformation which makes beautiful recycled dresses. And then there's our very own Call Her Moonchild (you knew this was coming!) Our clothes are made in an environmentally-friendly print shop and the raw materials are sourced from shops with the highest WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) rating to make sure that everyone gets paid and treated fairly. 

These are just some of the many ways we can be inspired to shop consciously this year without sacrificing any of the holiday cheer!


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