I think one part of consumerism that is overlooked around the holidays is the act of giving meaningful gifts. Often times we see people buying to buy, such as black Friday where we see consumers buying just for the sales, not for items they need. During this time of year people are buying a crazy amount of gifts just because, not even items people actually want or will use. This mass impulse buying prevents consumers from stopping to think and reflect on what they are buying. Here are a few ways to focus on giving meaningful gifts this year.
1) Focus on experience based gifts.
Give a gift that is an experience. Consider giving a gift card to a restaurant for a nice night out, a place for family fun day, or a winery. This can encourage people to focus more on spending time with their loved ones and less on materialistic objects.
2) Ask yourself, is the gift I’m giving practical and actually something the recipient will use?
So often around the holidays we see people giving those classic “I didn’t know what to give you” gifts….the candles, soaps, and chocolates…you know what I’m talking about! So before you jump on that train, think about purchasing a more impactful item that the recipient might find useful. Even ask the recipient if there is something they’re hoping for. If people are going to spend money anyway, they might as well spend it on gifts people will appreciate, use, and items that won’t end up in the landfill (or re-gifted).
3) Reflect on who is being impacted by the purchase of this gift?
Besides your wallet and the person receiving the gift, who/what else is being impacted…and how! Consider the impact on the planet? The impact on people who made the item? Did your purchase support fairly paid employees, small businesses, local shops, artisans abroad, or major corporations? By knowing who your purchase impacts, I think this makes us think twice about our purchases and shop in a more impactful manner.
4) Does the gift give twice?
Consider gifts that give back! The receiver of your gift will love a gift that shares a story! There are plenty of gifts that give back through non-profit partnerships, employment programs, monetary donations, environmental initiatives, and more! Pick a cause your friend will care about to make the gift even more meaningful and find something that gives back to that cause.
And if you need suggestions, we’ve got you covered! The 2018 Ethical Gift Guide is filled with meaningful gift ideas and keeps shopping fun by organizing gifts by personality traits!