By now, many of us know that the holidays can be an unsustainable time of year for people and the planet. Major outlets are urging you to buy more and more, and sacrifice meaning and uniqueness. Thankfully, we have some tips for being mindful about how you shop and gift this year.
1. Where are you shopping from?
An important thing to consider when doing your holiday shopping is what outlets you shop at - Do they have fair labor practices? Where do they source their goods (Do they even make that information available)? You can learn more about companies that participate in fair trade here. Being careful to spot and avoid companies who are greenwashing is important too!
2. What are you shopping for?
Are you looking for something that has heirloom quality, and that can be cherished for a long time? Being mindful about how much waste this gift produces, if it is single-use, and if it contains pesticides, phthalates, flame retardants, bisphenol (BPA) and PFAS are key factors in making sustainable, conscious purchases.
3. Who made your gifts?
One of the questions to remember when buying gifts for your loved ones is who made it. In the legacy of the Who Made My Clothes movement, consider who made your gifts; were they paid a living wage? What even is a living wage in their country? We encourage you to educate yourself on the communities and practices that those who made your clothes partake in, to reduce their dehumanization and bring you closer to the story of your gifts.
4. What are you wrapping your gifts in this year?
We all want to make our loved ones feel loved and seen, so why not wrap the gift in something they can use in their day-to-day lives? Trends have surged online about wrapping your gifts in scarves or bandanas, old newspapers, making collages or special cut out phrases, using twine instead of ribbon, etc. - all great solutions for reducing waste around the holidays. You can even put your gifts into decorative bags and reuse those bags for next year!
Thinking about your impact - and the impact of the stores you shop at - during the holidays is a practice that will help create a more sustainable future.