It’s Christmas time and a lot of people are going crazy doing shopping for their loved ones. It can be lovely to give gifts, but don’t do the mistake of buying stuff no one needs. Choose quality over quantity, always. If you scroll down, I have made a little list of Christmas gift ideas that I think are much more sustainable than what many typical ads promote.
This advertisement below shows the bad way of doing shopping. Please, don’t use the site in this ad, I don’t want to be guilty of contributing to this! I think you should watch it only to start noticing how awfully acceptable wasteful shopping really is. Let’s change that!
So what do I think is so wrong with this ad?
The girls shop more because it’s easy. They don’t buy because they would need the things. They don’t even buy because the things would make themselves or anyone a lot happier. I see the temptation in very easy shopping without any thoughts of consequences. The easier, the better because I really don’t enjoy shopping but I really do enjoy having beautiful clothes and things. However, I think it’s better the less advertisements make me tempted and manipulated into buying stuff I don’t need.
Because of my studies, I have done a lot of thinking and reading about sustainable shopping from an economic point of view.In a few months I’ll graduate with a Bachelor´s degree in Economics. The conclusion of the thinking and the studies has been that our welfare does not have to diminish just because we stop buying rubbish. No one needs to worry about the economy when they decide to buy quality christmas gifts. “The economy needs it” is an awful excuse for making poor choices.
List of nice ideas for sustainable Christmas gifts
1. Gift card for a massage: Who wouldn’t love that? If the gift is for someone close to you and you want to do the budget version: make a nice card and give the massage yourself!
2. Shampoo or shower gel in a neutral smell from an eco-friendly brand. If it can be used up, it doesn’t pile up in peoples homes un-used or become waste. Go for a smell you know the gift receiver likes from before or chose a neutral smell. In my opinion, the best shampoo is a bar shampoo: no waste in the form of plastic bottles! Try these from Lush, I’ve been using them for years and I love them! The “Soak and Float” shampoo is my personal favourite, try out different ones for your hairtype! Examples of other eco-friendly brands are Weleda, Avalon Organics and Dr. Hauschka . Natural cosmetics is usually best for the environment, our water treatment isn’t perfect…
3. Tickets for a concert or the theatre. I would love that, I think it’s a nice surprise when someone else chooses the play for you! Just check the date in advance or get exchangeable tickets.
4. A dinner! Either home made, or at a restaurant. Real quality time together over a great meal, is one of the best gifts. Make a real effort to cook the nicest food or look up the perfect restaurant to take your gift receiver to!
5. Healthy food and vitamins. Superfoods and vitamins can be really expensive sometimes, especially young people who don’t have a big budget might really appreciate that you make it affordable for them to live a healthy lifestyle! I’d personally love these packs of Finnish naturally grown berries that have been dried into a powder that’s a real vitamin bomb! Or perhaps a nice bag of locally produced quinoa grown either in Finland or Britain, depending on where you live…
6. Gym membership Continuing on the health theme. Perhaps best to give to someone you know likes gymming, you might not want to risk offending people for subtly hinting they are getting chubby!
7. Gift card for donating to charity. Spend that money on someone who really needs it! This Finnish/Swedish website allows you to make a really nice card that tells the gift. You can give children in less fortunate countries a chance to go to school or planted trees in an area of deforestation. You could also donate to Syria via the Red Cross and make your own card. This is the true ethical gift!
8. Electronic subscription for a newspaper. Saves paper but still makes it possible to give some really enjoyable reading moments!
9. Old books. Okay, so sometimes it is quite nice to read from real paper and not a screen. But why would it have to be newly printed paper? We need to get rid of old stereotypes that say you shouldn’t give old things as gifts. Pass on your favourite book from 2016 and give someone a nice reading time! You could even borrow the book from the library for them. I would love it, if someone got me their favourite book from the library. I could just ask them to renew the loan until I’m done reading and then return it to the library!
10. Spotify or Netflix subscription. Perhaps you could also make them a personal playlist for their Spotify account?
11. A repair. Usually, it isn’t so time consuming to buy new stuff. It’s repairing the old stuff that can become tricky! Why don’t you take your family members favourite pair of shoes and bring them to a shoemaker for a little treatment? They could get a lovely new shine! On the top off my wish-list right now is that someone would take my broken speakers to a repair shop…
12. Clothes worn and things used with love. Buying beautifully aged vintage, or a bit newer secondhand is a great option for christmas gifts too! Check secco.fi or beyondretro.com for wonderful secondhand fashion. Some home decoration can be bought secondhand to… Ebay, tori.fi or Gumtree aren’t bad options for Christmas gifts at all!
13. A Sodastream-style machine. Because really, as their new advertisement campaign “Shame or Glory” says, you should be ashamed if you buy a lot of plastic bottles! However, Sodastream has been subject to controversy due to their manufacturing on Palestinian grounds, ask for an alternative in the store or check some out here.
14. Quality & made with love. Buying new things can sometimes be really good. When they are needed, and when the things are produced without harming people or the environment.
A fine choice is a wonderful website for finding quality things! I absolutely adore these re-usable glass straws. Finnish Nudge web-shop also has amazing things, both fashion, jewellery and cosmetics. When it comes to fashion, try sustainable brands such as Lovia for ethical luxury, Marita Huurinainen for Wild Finnish Fur, Purewaste for affordable eco-friendly fabrics and the UK based People Tree for clothes made by people who really get appreciated for their work! Stella McCartney is good too. Or why not some sustainable yoga-wear from Under The Same Sun?
15. Time. In a busy world, the most valuable thing you can give someone is your time.
Some of my things listed can be expensive. This one is not, yet it’s the most valuable one. Think of anything that makes your friend, family member or loved one happy! Go for a walk in nature, go out dancing with them, watch their favourite movie with them. Or perhaps you could help them moving, cleaning, re-painting or baby-sit their children! There are endless possibilities.
Skip the awful Christmas shopping rush and give people things that really bring them happiness!