The holidays can be a time of celebration, connection, sometimes overshadowed by expectations of consumption. Here’s your guide to giving sustainable and non-material gifts this holiday season.
Studies have shown that experiences, not things bring us the most happiness. Giving experiences can maximize quality time with people you care about and create memories. Like a physical gift, think about making it personalized and getting a ‘gift receipt’ - find out about alternative dates, cancellation policies, and refunds before you buy.
Experience gift ideas:
Concert, theater, or film tickets
Lessons or a class
Museum, aquarium, or zoo passes
If a new item just makes the most sense for a certain someone, read some reviews online, ask around and make sure you get a version that will have a long lifetime of good performance. Consider fair trade, recycled content, recyclable, and don’t forget the gift receipt.
Waste-reducing gift ideas:
Reusable travel mug
Reusable shopping bags
Elfin Book, a reusable smart notebook
Bike helmet, bike light, and other commuting accessories
Durable reusable to-go food containers
Photovoltaic charging devices (like Luci Pro)
Low-flow shower heads
While they can take some time and planning, homemade do-it-yourself edible, upcycled, or recycled holiday gifts can be inexpensive and treasured gifts.
If you have an idea but not the tools sewing machines and a plethora of other Maker tools are available at Building 61, the Boulder Public Library’s Makerspace.
And if you like the idea of upcycled but don’t have the time to do it yourself, check out upcycling artists on etsy.
It can be pretty simple to take a non-upcycled DIY idea to your local thrift store and find used materials to give new life to old items.
Upcycled DIY gift ideas:
Bicycle chain jewelry or bowls
Etch used glass pitchers and cups
Recycled crayons and homemade coloring book
Plants raised from cuttings
Chalkboard painted coasters
Bottle cap magnets
Homemade food items like Challah bread or preserves, spiced nuts, or popcorn balls can be fun, easy and delicious to make. If any of these don’t come out perfectly, they’re easy to get rid of and you might have a great #pinterestfail on your hands.
For the person who has everything, a donation in their name to a cause they support might be the perfect gift this year. Non-profit organizations like Heifer International can make gifts like these more tangible by providing donations of a goat, cow, chicken, or other livestock to subsistence farmers around the world.
For select family and friends, consider having a conversation about forgoing gift-giving all together this year or next year. You might agree to only give non-material gifts or start a yearly pillow fight tradition in place of gift giving - this season might be a great opportunity to start the conversation.
Have a meaningful and joyful holiday season Buffs!