1. A cultural outing
An outing at the theater, opera, ballet or movies is a small luxury that many people can’t afford or won’t buy for themselves. However–these experiences are a way to get out of the routine and make inspiring discoveries. If you are unsure about which movie or show tickets to give, think about something that had an impact on you, or buy a gift card so they can make the choice themselves.
Even if they are made from paper, the production of an e-book is much more damaging to the environment than the printing of a book. A book is also a gift that keeps on giving: if well-chosen, a book can inspire, guide or teach something to your cherished person. To be even more eco-responsible, buy from a used bookstore.
Who wouldn’t like organic and fair-trade chocolate or coffee? For this gift idea, it is better to avoid waste–hence limit fresh foods. But in general, food is a great way to make sure your gift feeds one person or more–the complete opposite of a useless Christmas gift.
Buying local has a positive impact on producers and artisans of your region. It is also an act of solidarity toward small businesses, which are often much more creative than multinationals. It is also a way to reduce the environmental impact of transportation, i.e. pollution. A lip balm, piece of jewelry, soap or ceramic are all practical, cute and personalized items with a distinctive local flavor.
5. An eco-responsible piece of clothing
Buying another cheap shirt from a large store isn’t very clever–it causes pollution, mass transportation, and bad working conditions for the people who sewed that shirt on your back. However, encouraging an eco-responsible brand that worries about paying its employees a decent wage and responsibly sources its fabrics–like Miik from Toronto–is a good idea, because it encourages eco-responsible businesses. You can also scout vintage stores to find an unique gem and give it a second life.
6. An outdoor experience
Be it a ski season membership, a pass for a provincial or state park or a snowshoeing excursion, an outdoor experience is beneficial for mental and physical health. You can make the most of it by sharing the experience with your loved one.
7. An ecological toy
Christmas is almost synonymous with children. Many companies now offer recycled or responsibly-sourced toys that will make everyone happy. Take, for instance, this adorable plush unicorn!
8. A reusable item
A pretty coffee or tea cup to go through winter, a DivaCup for a lady in your life that still uses tampons and pads or a reusable water bottle are all ecological gifts that are immensely practical for everyday life. They will also reduce your loved one’s environmental impact.
9. A homemade gift
Despite the tendency to associate homemade gifts with childhood, those gifts can be even more appreciated coming from an adult. Especially if the adult in question possesses a particular talent. You can always merge various ideas together and craft a surprise box. You can even use recycled base materials to make the gift even more ecological. A homemade gift transmits the personality of the one who made it, and will be remembered every time the gift is looked at or used.
Your sister’s been stressed this semester? Why not offer her a semesters worth of yoga classes? Whether your person’s been talking about trying something new, or already holds a passion in something, offering classes is an amazing way to give someone an opportunity to grow and take time for themselves. (Namaste.)