Christmas is a time of excess for many of us. Whether that comes in the form of indulging in food, drinks, or the gifts we buy and give. Gift giving is a huge part of the season, The United Kingdom will spend £20.1 billion on Christmas gifts alone this year! Luckily, over 70% of Christmas shoppers prefer to shop at retailers who implement sustainable practices, proving the public's desire for conscious gift-giving. So whether you're new to conscious gifting or just looking for some new ideas, we're here to help you shop more consciously this Christmas...
What is Conscious Gifting?
Conscious gifting is a movement that goes against over-consumption and instead focuses on meaningful spending that supports you, your gift recipients and the people who made your gifts. It can also entail giving gifts that are intended to last a long time, or fulfil a purpose in someone's life, rather than being the newest, trendiest things. For example, you could gift someone some new cookware that they need or a voucher towards a trip they've been dreaming of taking. It is a way to alleviate some pressure, to purchase items that will have a significant role in the recipients life and to hopefully do some good with the money you spend. It is anti-throw-away-culture, encouraging us all to be more thoughtful with what we are gifting.
So, how can you be a conscious gift giver? Here are our tips...
Identify Key Gifts
If you are trying to shop more consciously this year, it may require a little more planning and forethought than you are typically used to. Think about all the people you want to buy gifts for and try to identify things that you think they will actually need, want and use. If you are struggling, you can always ask your loved ones if there is anything that they need or would like to fulfil a purpose for them. For example, if your sister has just moved into her first home you may want to think about gifting her something for her new kitchen or bathroom. It can be hard not to go out and impulse buy, but this method of identifying ideas for gifts is really helpful to stop you from overspending and ultimately buying gifts that aren't going to be cherished forever. If you are really unsure what to gift someone, we recommend picking something consumable. Whether that's chocolates, toiletries or vouchers; this means that the recipient is sure to get use out of the gift.
Buy Sustainable Gifts
We all know about the importance of trying to tackle climate change, and this even comes back to the gifts that we choose to buy. Giving sustainable and environmentally responsible gifts is a great was to give more consciously. Some ways to identify a sustainable business is by looking out for certifications such as Fair Trade, B Corporations, GOTS & other eco-friendly initiatives. But certifications aren't the only way! Businesses that are sustainable will usually be very transparent about their practices; watch out for any business that claims to be sustainable but doesn't have anything to back it up, these businesses will often be green-washing. Picking products made from more sustainable materials is another great way to buy a sustainable gift. Avoid single use plastics and instead opt for presents made from recycled & recyclable natural materials.
Support Small Business
Small, independent, local businesses are not only great for finding thoughtful, unique gifts, they are also better for our local communities. Roughly 63p of every £1 spent at small or medium-sized businesses stays in the local economy, versus just 40p at a larger business. Plus, small businesses are often more invested in charitable and sustainable practises, often working within their local communities to fundraise for important initiatives, as well as investing more of their time and money into building a eco-conscious business, not just one that puts profits above all else. For example, we pay our staff a real living wage, donate 2% of sales from our collection to our charity partners and continually support our artisans across Africa and India with steady, manageable work that they are always paid fairly for. By choosing to shop small, you will often be supporting real living wages, unique designs, thoughtful products and your local community.
Buying secondhand gifts can be another great way to gift more consciously. Whilst this does take more time than shopping from small businesses, it can be a fantastic way to find unique or rare items that could mean a lot to the recipient. Look out for good quality items that have been made to last. Avoid purchasing secondhand fast fashion, as these items have such a short life-span and have already been preloved, meaning they will be destined for landfill pretty soon. Look out for true vintage clothing, antique homewares or retro kids toys. It's best to support local secondhand shops such as charity shops, antique stores and markets but you can also find some great options online through websites such as eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, Vinted etc.
We hope you found this guide helpful, and remember, Conscious gifting isn't just for Christmas! In fact, you can be a conscious shopper year-round by supporting small businesses like ours and not acting on impulse purchases. Let's be responsible with where our money is going and create a more sustainable future for us all! Merry Christmas.