The Holiday season is coming soon and also the stress of giving our loved ones nice presents. The anxiety surrounding gift-giving is everywhere, in malls and advertisements, all of them making us feel forced into shopping nonstop. I have some tips for eco Holiday presents that come directly from my heart. And as a beautiful bonus, they are also friendly to nature!
There are many different experiences you can consider based on your loved ones’ interests. A few popular ones: a voucher for a special restaurant, a massage, beauty care, hairdresser or barber, tickets to the cinema, to the theater, to a concert, a weekend trip, cooking workshop, photography workshop, or workshop to make something, gym membership, yoga center membership, ski tickets, voucher for a sauna, a boat trip, or to test-drive a sports cars, etc.
Any gift experience always depends on the person receiving the gift, but with that I have one more suggestion. Give the voucher with the idea that the experience will be for both of you. I used to give vouchers to someone and then be done with the gift. But now I realize that the most precious thing I can give someone is time, so I now give the voucher for both of us so we can enjoy the experience together.
With food I don’t mean just any food. It could be a special bottle of wine, or a special edition beer or apple cider. If you prefer giving liquid gifts, I recommend giving high quality oils, either for cooking or bodily use. I love the Czech brand Dary Země. A nicely packaged set of oils from a specialized shop or bulk store with a personal message about how and when to use them is, in my opinion, an extraordinary gift.
Home-made and hand-picked herbal tea is a beautiful gift as well, because of the time you spend picking herbs and drying them. By making your own tea, you also avoid non-biodegradable tea bags and give the best quality tea you can. For coffee lovers choose Fair Trade coffee and coffee that is mildly roasted, because it is healthier. I know coffee travels a long journey, so it is likely not the most eco-friendly gift, but on the other hand you can support small communities and family coffee farms.
One of the most important things when choosing an edible gift is buying local and supporting small and local businesses as much as possible.
3. Zero waste.
If you know the person is interested in a low-waste lifestyle already, start by observing what they’re missing. It could be a safety razor, bar of soap, bar of shampoo or lotion, tote bags for shopping, bamboo toothbrush, reusable cotton cloths for makeup removal, a thermos, stainless containers for food, reusable straws, and so many other things. Extra gift bonus if you can sew your own tote bags for your loved ones.
4. Fountain pen.
My husband and I bought fountain pens this year and we are so happy with them that now we recommend them as an amazing gift all the time. Fountain pens are refillable, so you don’t need any plastic refills. The pens also feel so luxurious when you write with them, that you really learn to love them and take care of them. Plus, you won’t have hundreds of random, non-writing pens in the office or at home anymore.
5. Your time.
I mentioned it in the first point, and I’ll repeat it here because it’s so important: the most valuable gift is your time! As a gift by itself, it can be an hour of undivided attention, a massage from you to your significant other, or a home-made dinner with many courses complete with candles and music. Another option is writing a letter to a good friend, in which you write why you appreciate her/him in your life. Of course, these gifts are great for any occasion, not just for the Holiday season.
At the end:
I know there aren’t many tips in the list, but you know what? Quantity is not the intention here. The intention should be quality! We should be spending time with our loved ones with as much quality as we can. Cook a meal together, go for a long walk and have a long talk over some hot wine or other drink (yes, I mean without TV or mobile phones!).
I will leave you with a quote* (that I changed a bit to fit into the Holiday season, of course), “Over time, people will not remember what you gave them as a gift, what they will remember is how you make them feel during the Holiday season.”
Have yourself a pleasant Holiday time,
Translation with the help of Ellie Farrier
*Original quote is from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”