How to Shop More Consciously this Christmas

Everyone wants to give gifts that others love, but shopping consciously goes beyond that to give a gift that also make a difference. I touched on a couple ways to give consciously in the last blog post (giving experiences, shopping fair trade or shopping locally), but today I wanted to dive a little deeper into conscious gift giving because it can mean so many different things to so many different people.

 

My biggest piece of advice is to pick what matters most to your recipient and yourself in terms of conscious gift giving. It is about doing the best you can, not striving for total perfection.

 

Shop Secondhand

Secondhand shopping is an amazing way to minimize environmental impact and be kind to your budget, but not something everyone would feel comfortable doing for a gift. Secondhand though, does not necessarily mean used.

 

Looking for places to get started:

  • Swap.com allows you to purchase secondhand clothing and accessories for the whole family, and you can filter search results to show items that are new with tags still attached. They also have sales regularly and have a great return policy.
  • Local Facebook groups can also be a great source for people selling new, unused items that someone you know might love. I was able to purchase a toy pirate ship, new in the box, that my kids adore this way last year.

 

Shop Eco-friendly

Looking for products made with recycled/upcycled or sustainable materials is another great way to be kind to the environment. There are so many companies working to make products in a way that preserves our environment, and you can find gifts for everyone in this category with a quick Google search for “recycled gifts.”

 

Looking for places to get started:

  • Green Toys are made in the USA from recycled milk jugs and offer a wide variety of toys for kids
  • The Rainforest Site has an eco-friendly shopping section on their site, and each purchase helps protect a certain square footage of the rainforest.
  • Etsy is another favorite place of mine to look for upcycled goods.

 

Shop Fair Trade

Fair trade items provide safe working conditions and living wages for those who would often be living in poverty otherwise.  You can also find fair trade gifts for every budget, starting with basic fair trade chocolate, tea, or coffee you can pick up at your local grocery store.

 

Looking for some ideas to get started:

  • The Hunger Site has a fair trade section on their site, and every purchase also donates cups of food to those in need.
  • Ten Thousand Villages will have something for everyone on your list
  • Trades of Hope focuses on accessories, home décor, and jewelry. I used to work with the company, and they do so much for their artisans, beyond just providing a fair wage.

 

Shop Vegan

Not sure what to get the vegan in your life? Vegans don’t use or consume anything made from animals or animal by-products (so things like honey, wool, and silk are out too). Never fear, there are plenty of amazing vegan options, from subscription boxes to accessories.

 

Looking for some ideas to get started:

  • Nature Box is a budget-friendly snack subscription box for the vegan foodie in your life.
  • Matt & Nat make beautiful, high-quality vegan bags, wallets, shoes, and accessories like passport holders and pen cases. They also focus on using recycled materials in their lux looking products.
  • The Animal Rescue Site has cute gifts for animal lovers, and each purchase funds bowls of food for animals in shelters.

 

Shop Minimalist

Being more intentional about consumption has started gaining popularity as more people want to eliminate clutter, stress, and debt from their lives. When shopping minimally, the two safe bets are generally consumables and experiences. These can range from homemade treats to tickets to a concert or a massage.

 

Looking for some ideas to start:

  • Check deal site like Groupon. They have vouchers for everything from local restaurants, sporting events, classes, shows, spa services, and more. Even if you choose not to purchase a voucher for a gift, they are a great place to browse to get ideas for places to go or things to do in your area.
  • Create a gift basket of favorite foods, homemade or purchased spa products, or send them a digital copy of the newest book from their favorite author.

 

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards are wonderful to send and receive this time of year, but, for the conscious consumer, they can be costly or problematic in terms of the resources used. There are a couple of options, from sending cards made from recycled materials, creating ecards to send, or getting your traditional custom photo cards from a company that cares.

 

Looking for some ideas to start:

  • Look for card boxes that say “made from recycled paper;” you will be surprised to find even some big box stores carry them.
  • Create Christmas ecards with Redstamp to send to friends and family.
  • Paper Culture is a great place to get your custom photo cards because they plant a tree for every order.

 

If you have any additional resources you would like to recommend for readers, please leave them in the comments of this post so we can all help each other have a more conscious Christmas!

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