The festive season is in full swing and Christmas is around the corner. This blog post wasn’t planned and won’t be full of images or about my latest travel adventures. I’m letting the words flow, like in the good old days, when blogging was still solely about the content. You might be on holiday already and even find some time to read this:
This time of the year is about giving and I see many people being under enormous pressure to buy gifts for their family and friends. A visit to the local mall says it all and the ‘big Xmas rush’ has officially kicked off. Looking at my Instagram, it’s not surprising that many people feel tempted to buy certain things. The discount codes are endless and it’s easy to order with one click. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I hardly do product placements or run competitions. I prefer to post about things that I enjoyed experiencing rather than bombarding you with more materialistic goods. This doesn’t mean, that I won’t promote any useful products in the future but I keep being selective on what I recommend. For me it’s very important to show you things that are vegan, organic and eco-friendly whenever possible. Times are hard for many South Africans these days and often we have no choice,but to buy cheap gifts in the Chinese shops, just for the sake of giving presents. Most of those gift items are full of plastic, contain harmful substances and are most likely useless to the person receiving them.
I’d like to encourage you to try to be more conscious this Christmas. This might be a bit too late already for some, but there are always people getting everything in the last minute, right?
If you are still looking for a gift, but actually can’t afford much, why not GIVE YOUR TIME instead of buying something. Your time to someone else is priceless. An idea is to create a voucher / write in a festive season’s greetings card that you’d like to donate your time. Depending on the person you intend to give it to, this could mean a simple coffee date, helping with the shopping, cooking a meal, giving a lift to somewhere, looking after the kids or pets for a day or joining in for that weekly walk along the beach or in the park. I’m positive you can come up with something.. just think out of the box. Everybody needs some support smewhere along the lines.
Those are just a few ideas, but just think about what the person you give it to might need the most. We often tend to forget, that it’s the simple things in life that count. Giving a conscious gift, means giving it lots of thought. Think, think, think! Does the person in question go through difficult times? Would a coffee date and a good chat add value to their current situation? Would it help, if you took over in the kitchen one night and cook for them and afterwards do the dishes? Remember, simple is the key! You don’t have to whip up a 3-course gourmet dinner – a simple vegan Mac’n Cheeze should do the trick. If you are a creative at heart, home-made gifts are also a wonderful and thoughtful idea of course.
Even if you can afford to buy something expensive, I think it’s the most beautiful act of kindness to give a loved one your time. If your budget allows and you definitely want to buy something, give an experience, rather than something materialistic. How about a food tour, picnic, sundowner cruise, wine tram experience, sightseeing bus ticket, wine tasting, cooking class and so on. The options are endless and you’ll gift a memory of a lifetime and not some object that the other person might not actually like or doesn’t even have space for.
Regardless of your budget, in order to decide on a conscious gift idea, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the person in question really NEED this gift?
- Does the person in question really WANT this gift?
- Does the person in question really HAVE SPACE for this gift?
- Is the gift in question HARMFUL to the environment? (plastic etc.)?
Just think of how many times you’ve received a gift, that didn’t bring you any value. Even though it wasn’t given to you with any bad intentions, you perhaps just didn’t need it, didn’t like it or didn’t have space for it. Most of us have so many possessions already and the latest ‘minimalism trend’ keeps growing and growing for a reason. All I’m saying is: “give a gift with a purpose and value.” This will bring joy to the recipient as well as to the environment. We all should try and own less instead of more. Giving your time is valuable and kind to the planet at the same time. Let’s call it a ‘win-win situation’.
Another reason why this blog post is close to my heart is the impact gifts can have on the environment. We all love unwrapping presents, but are we actually aware of the consequences? If you’ve already bought your wrapping paper, try and change things for next year (or the next upcoming birthday). In case you were about to buy the wrapping paper next week, I’d kindly like to ask you to opt for alternatives. It’s not going to look as beautiful and festive, but wrap your gifts with an old newspaper. We unwrap gifts within seconds and then the paper lands in the bin, creating a huge problem for our planet. I don’t have to tell you that climate change is happening – IT’S REAL! Now you probably wonder what your family and friends will say to that strange way of packaging? Don’t worry about their reaction. Just do it and educate them on why you opted for a ‘greener option’ this year. Climate change affects all of us at the end of the day.
Google is your best friend, right? Search for: gift wrapping newspaper ideas and voila, numerous DIY articles, videos, Pinterest boards pop up on your screen. You can also search for eco-friendly gift – wrapping ideas to get into the spirit. To be honest, I was surprised and amazed by the creative results across the internet.. By using an old newspaper you can go wild and be super creative and decorate with elements from your garden for example. This is definitely the future and the earlier we start using alternatives, the better. The internet is full of inspiration, so no excuses here.
Nobody is perfect and I’m only starting to be more conscious about everything I do. Just keep in mind, that the festive season is about being with the people you love and not about spending big amounts of money on unnecessary gifts that might even be harmful to our planet.
Please feel free to share more conscious and green gift ideas in the comments. It would be fantastic to get some more inspiration from you out there.
Wishing you a wonderful festive season further and I still have a few blog posts in the pipeline before Christmas.