Is it me or the over-consumption culture is getting more and more intense every year despite the constant alarming reports on climate changes, pollution, and how it’s already impacting us and our planet big time? Even though like anyone else I love a nice gift or a good sale, I hate to see the way consumption is encouraged (even pushed on us) nowadays not especially by brands (it’s their business after all) but mainly by bloggers and “influencers” who just share list after list of products without even putting any thoughts into it.
During the last Black Friday, I reflected on mindless overconsumption and wondered how someone on the road to a more minimalist and conscious lifestyle could survive any kind of holiday season without having to make too many concessions. So here is a list of questions we should be all asking ourselves before buying a gift for someone or for ourselves:
Do I need it? What purpose does it serves?
Where was it made? Who made it? In which conditions was it made?
How long I will be able to use it for/wear it?
Can it have a second life after I’m done using it?
Those are pretty basic questions, and I know that sometimes it feels good to buy something we don’t really need, but we should at least try to make sure that we will benefit from it and not simply trow it in a corner. The amount of waste our society goes through is endless and scary, I’m conscious that I’m part of the problem (can’t live without my bottled water, and we are using disposable nappies for our daughter) so every time I can make a little change I go for it.
For Christmas this year I asked to receive nothing as I simply don’t need anything, just spending time and sharing good food with friends and family is all I want. I also decided to only get gifts if it’s something that really make sense or is needed as I don’t want to encourage the buying for buying and I want people to understand that sometime the intention is somewhere else than in a well wrapped box. Gifting time, knowledge, a meal, something we made ourself is in my opinion much more meaningful especially in an individualistic society where everything is disposable and fast living constantly promoted.
Few months ago I published an article about sustainability and shared with you few addresses to shop more conscious for you and your kids (read here) as well as an article about local artists and artisans to buy from (read here), but today I wanted to share few more gifts ideas with you for the upcoming holidays. If you can of course, make sure to buy ethical, local, second hand, and to chose independent stores over big chains.
Gifts for the conscious & creative people
A museum membership (most museum have one), or some exhibitions tickets.
An gallery tour (most cities have some great guides)
A painting, drawing, pottery, or ceramic class/course/retreat. Check Kana Clay Parlour if you are in London.
Tickets for Secret Cinema (if you are in London) or to a screening of your choice.
Tickets for a talk, a play, an opera, a ballet, a concert or a festival. Of course get one for yourself to share a moment with the person you are gifting.
A magazine subscription. I recommend The Gentlewoman.
A ceramic piece. Check être ceramic Tictail.
Books. If you are looking for second hands gems I came across that IG account recently:artbooksephemera.
A homemade gift : if you have some creative talent why not making something custom made for your loved one? A painting, a poem, a cool macrame.Even a fresh batch of Kombucha or kefir to keep their guts clean and healthy.
Zero waste homemade starter kit (gather some basic zero waste items like this too cool shopping bag from Turtle Bags made in organic cotton).
A tea ceremony, a veggy cooking, or a barista workshop.
A trip (it can be a day trip in your own country to spend a day together – make sure to take the train to reduce your gas emission).
Gifts for the conscious little ones
Books. One of my favourite gift for a child. You can find some great ones in second hands, but this year I particularly like MamaOwl book selection.
Toys. Privilege wooden toys, or second hands.
Clothes. I shared with you some ethical and sustainable addresses for clothing in this post few months ago. I also recommend handmade and second hand of course, these two concepts particularly caught my eyes: Marcel & Fifi in Belgium and Loopster in the UK that both have beautiful selections.
Nursery/bedroom decoration. I love those handmade banners by Happy Sunday Studio.
Organise a treasure themed hunt.
A locally handmade, sustainable, and ethical baby wrap or sling by Mezaya Baby.
Kids and family friendly museum activities . Most museums have kids programs.
A reading or a music workshop.
Baby-sitting. Well it’s more for the parents, but it’s a good way for your friends or family little ones to spend some time with you.
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Cover picture by aeand Studio