“Oh we are living in a Material world and I am a material girl …” sang Madonna in the early 80’s
An era where computers were just being introduced in homes around South Africa, the ozone lazer was a hot topic and plastic items graced the shelves of every store.
More than 30 years after we understand the damage we have done to the Earth and now have very conscious steps we can each take to do our part in trying to restore the delicate state of our one and only Earth.
Becoming eco conscious
Whilst becoming entirely eco conscious over night may not be possible for many of us, there are certainly small steps we can each do to make a more positive impact on our environment and change our lifestyle.
And one of these steps is to look at what and how we gift to others.
Gifts of love
Without a doubt gifting plays a huge role in our lives.
In 365 days of a year I personally have 20 family birthdays, 2 anniversaries to remember and all the regular holidays like Valentine’s day, mothers day, father’s day, Easter and Christmas.
Not to mention wedding gifts, birthday gifts to parties my children or I are invited to, thank you gifts, bridal showers, baby showers, gender reveals, retirements, etc
With all these gifts we are buying and gifting throughout the year, how much have we added to the pile of unsustainable junk suffocating the Earth?
Are we mechanically just buying a gift to fit a budget ?
And have we diminished the value and love of a true heartfelt gift behind the latest trending items on a gift catalogue?
A change in gifting
Looking at the amount of gifts you give each year and asking yourself how many of them are sustainable, or truthfully given because the recipient honestly needed/wanted or would enjoy the gift, can help you to gift more smartly and with a more mindful sustainable mindset.
How to gift more mindfully
Some ways you can change your gifting habits to be more mindful are:-
- Don’t gift at all ( I’m personally not sure that I am brave enough to ever not gift but the most eco conscious way to not add to clutter is not to gift)
- Gift through a charity– many charities offer a service whereby you can make a donation in the name of the gift recipient. Some of these organisation’s offer a certificate or card to hand to the person on their special day.
- Gift an experience –Instead of gifting yet another item to fill a shelf, why not gift an experience that the other person has always wanted. You get wonderful online vouchers for cooking classes, art classes, helicopter rides, etc
- DIY – use your skills to make homemade gifts. Bake or make something. Homemade gifts often save you money and are genuinely heartfelt.
- Second hand – If you are going to shop why not look at vintage stores, thrift shops or second hand stores for good quality gifts to give. Often the charities and organisation’s have their own shops and you get to give back to a worthy cause by supporting them.
- Upcycle– while you are shopping in the second hand stores look for items you could add a coat of paint to or fix up with a little creativity to gift.
- Regift – Yes! I said it. Regift that ugly necklace your husband bought or that pair of jeans you’ve never gotten into. If the item is in your cupboards and not being used there is a good possibility it can be used by someone else.
- New– finally if all else fails and you must shop new try to shop local, sustainably and as mindfully as possible.
And as a final note, if you are still looking at options to gift less physical items why not gather your friends or relatives and each contribute to one big ticket item gift instead of each gifting several smaller, often unused items.