Low Waste Gifting
We believe in living our values to the best of our abilities. Our choices reflect those values. This time of year, it can be especially overwhelming to make choices in our giving that is a confluence of what the giftee wants, what is affordable, and what is in line with your values. This week we wanted to open a dialogue about low waste gifting, and offer some suggestions towards gifts that are given in the spirit of the season, and also keeping a low waste mindset at the fore.
Our American culture has us so convinced that a model of consumption is one that will endlessly benefit the consumer with no ramifications. Now, while we (Kindred) are ultimately a business, and while we do live and participate in a capitalistic society, we have the option, every day, of living our values. Our gift giving can and should be a reflection of those values.
There are plenty of options to gift your loved ones that don’t involve superfluous stuff, plastic, and the perpetuation of waste. With some intention and creativity, you can find, make, borrow, or plan for gifts for everyone on your list. We’re filling hearts and not landfills here, folks.
Firstly, and probably most importantly: avoid plastic wherever possible. Especially if the thing you are intending on gifting is mostly plastic. Find an alternative! Now, if you’re repurposing something, or gifting a second hand item (more on that later), there are some harm reduction points to be had in that regard. However, wherever possible, don’t purchase new plastic, items that come overly packaged in plastic, or wrapping materials that are mostly plastic. (More on wrapping with low waste options later, too.)
One of our personal favorites: gift an experience. Offering time/ time together, rather than a thing, leaves so much room to communicate your care for the person you’re giving it to. Does the person love dining out? Take them to a restaurant they haven’t been to yet and pay for the meal. Do they like being outdoors? Plan an outdoor activity with them! Do they enjoy spa or massage services, or regularly get other services? Ask them who their regular service providers are, and pay for their next haircut, manicure, massage, etc. That’s an especially lovely option because you’re also supporting service providers!
Gifting something secondhand or vintage is also a great option. If you’ve ever once tripped on the idea, thinking: “Well, I should get them something *new*...” Just go ahead and banish that thought from your mind right now. If you’ve ever in your life experienced the thrill of finding the perfect thing you’ve been looking for, or the coolest, weirdest, most unique item you’ve come across up until that point, why not pass that joy along? There’s something for every kind of person out there- even the grumpy dads and uncles who’re impossible to shop for. Make a day of it to visit bigger or more out of the way places to treasure hunt, or just keep an eye out when you’re doing your lazy Sunday, latte-in-hand meander around town. The treasure is out there.
Gifting a vintage or second hand item is low waste and lovely because it keeps items out of the waste stream, while considering the whims, interests and desires of the person you’re shopping for. It could be jewelry, furniture, clothes (rad sweaters?!), art, housewares, tools...the list goes on. At the shop, we have a curated collection of vintage items, and are more than happy to help you find that perfect treasure for that person who’ll love it--whether it comes from us or not.
Another option is the tried and true homemade gift. Make your gift! Yes, make it. Even if you’re not creative, even if you’re “bad at it.” Chances are, you’ll put time and effort into the gift, and the person receiving it will recognize the thoughtfulness that went into the creation of it. It can be usable, consumable, or just plain enjoyable. Everything from candles, to bath soaks, to dried flower bouquets, to art, to baked goods, to homemade tea blends all make lovely gifts, and we have the supplies to help you. Ask us next time you’re in and we’d be happy to help.
Homemade gifts are also often friendlier on your wallet, which is a plus during an expensive season, and just….y’know, in general. The cost of many common goods is higher than ever, and with a homemade gift, it is still possible to share care, thoughtfulness, and desire to brighten someone else’s holiday season without putting yourself in a bind financially.
You can also gift favors. If you know of a friend that is in need of help in some way, shape, or form, give them the favor of your assistance. It could be a ride to the airport during holiday travel (--all the more valuable if they have a red eye.). If you know they might be moving soon, or just rearranging and need help moving furniture, that could be an offer. If they need help with a home improvement project, or a freelance job, or maybe just help with general life maintenance. That could also include animal or child care, house or yard cleaning help, grocery shopping, etc.. Gifting a favor is also a double whammy in being free (more often than not), and being very thoughtful and immediately useful to the recipient. Bonus points for a homemade coupon or voucher of the favor so they can “cash it in” when they’re ready.
Finally, don’t forget plants. They make an excellent gift if the recipient is inclined to keep it alive. Plants make a lovely gift, especially for those who like them, collect them, and care for them. You can even give cuttings away of your favorites for free!
There are plenty of options out there. As usual, our hope is that this will inspire creativity and resourcefulness in your holiday shopping, gifting, and making. No matter what you end up giving this year, may it be useful, inspiring, joy-bringing, and low waste!