A common misconception about sustainable living is that it involves giving a lot of your favourite things up. To the contrary, it’s about doing your favourite things in a more mindful way that takes into account its long-term impact. So, if you love making your friends and family happy by giving them gifts, there’s no reason you should stop.
In fact, we have quite a few occasions to celebrate in what we have left of 2020! From Navratri to Diwali, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there are plenty of opportunities to pamper your loved ones with presents. Here’s a guide that can help make sure that your gifts are not taking a toll on our planet –
1. Get them something they need
Are they excited about the sequel of a book/movie? Or have they been meaning to start a new hobby? Set up a cosy movie night at home or pick up a pre-loved book they can enjoy. You could also sign them up for a class or have the tools that they need for the hobby delivered to them. Not only is this practical but it shows that you pay attention to their needs, making the gesture very thoughtful. Adding a note or a card would really complete the gift.
2. It doesn’t have to be a thing
It could be an experience. Some memories stay with us longer than things do. An experience within the city may not be the safest option right now, given the pandemic situation. But you could drive down to a hygienic homestay that’s tucked away from the crowds. Remember to check the precautions they are following before booking. Take a few days to pause, breathe and soak in the peace that nature tends to bring. This is could also be a great option if you had to hold a small celebration with your close friends or family. Booking an experience can leave you with some fun stories to remember an occasion by.
3. Pass on heirlooms
A momentous occasion like a birthday or a special festival is the best time to pass on family heirlooms. Few things strengthen bonds as much as entrusting a valued possession to a loved one. It carries a lot of weight and truly shows you care. If it’s for a friend, you could have a piece of jewellery or a watch engraved with a special message.
4. Shop mindfully
Suppose you have to present a gift to an acquaintance and none of the above options are feasible, you are pushed to shop for something appropriate. In such cases, do shop mindfully for sustainable products from fair-trade stores. Buying local from small businesses supports artisans. You should be able to find out what materials they use and how their products are made quite easily. Your gift could even be eco-friendly products to get the person in question started on his or her sustainable living journey!
5. Eco-friendly wrapping
Avoid buying plastic based, shiny wrapping paper or those big plastic decorative bows You could reuse wrapping paper or get creative and dress up a paper bag. Newspaper is a great option as well and you could finish off these packaged with a cloth ribbon. Interesting options to explore include ‘Furoshiki’ which is the traditional Japanese art of gift wrapping with cloth. So, you have eco-friendly gift wrap and a point of conversation. There are plenty of easy-to-follow tutorials online with great ideas for eco-friendly gift wrapping.
6. Support a cause that’s close to their heart
A meaningful way to mark someone’s birthday is to make a donation (in their name) to an organisation that is doing work that you know a loved one cares about. It could be a program that plants trees, rescues street animals or helps the destitute. Alternatively, you could also arrange to visit such an organisation on the day.
7. When planet-care and self-care meet
This year has challenged over and over again, we’re all dealing with the ‘new normal’ in our own way. We believe that self-care goes a long way in helping us individually and as a community in responding to the challenges we face. You can’t pour from an empty cup, right? With each act of self-care or self-love, you’re better prepared to contribute to your community with kindness and compassion. Our DIFY (Do It For Yourself) bundle was put together with just this in mind. To encourage you to pause, indulge in a little self-care and to spread the love. This is a great guilt-free gift for yourself or for a loved one who needs it.