How to Shop Sustainably During the Holidays
A guide for how to create less waste while still giving meaningful presents to the people you love.
It’s the season of giving and receiving gifts, and as a result, it’s the season of creating a whole lot of waste. As someone who loves giving gifts, I wanted to explore the idea of shopping sustainably and what that might actually look like.
Out with the new, in with the old.
One of the most sustainable things you can always do is buy secondhand, or give something you already own an upgrade. These days, you can do a decent amount of secondhand shopping online, which is extremely convenient given the current state of the world. Thrift stores and antique stores often have an extensive selection of home decor, glassware and cookware that are unique and good quality.
I’ve seen a pretty big push on social media to encourage people to shop locally. This is a great way to support and explore the community around you and find unique things to give your friends. Locally sourced items are more likely to be ethically made and they support the local economy.
Smaller is better.
There are so many small online businesses these days, and although not all of them practice sustainable methods, their smaller scale production is inherently better for the environment compared to those of a massive company like Amazon. Sure, your gifts may not show up on your doorstep the day after you order them, but I’ve found that this “slow shopping” method produces more intentional shopping habits.
Etsy is probably one of the best websites to use to find small businesses, and since these businesses are usually owned by one or two people, the proceeds of your purchase go to another human being rather than a large corporation.
Another way I love finding small businesses is through Instagram hashtags. I’ve found some really amazing artists through Instagram and being able to support their work through buying prints is always exciting.
Quality over quantity.
One of the biggest tips I have is consolidating many gifts into one gifts. Rather than buying lots of tiny low quality gifts, buy something that is more high quality, and just one of it. This not only minimizes consumption, but also gives the person a high quality product that they can use for a long amount of time.
Shop for experiences!
This is hard to do right now, but offering someone food, a fun date or a road trip is probably going to be a more impactful gift than something the person can hold in their hands.
Wrapping it up.
My last tip is that if you are wrapping up a gift, instead of buying new wrapping paper, try finding old paper bags or other creative paper to wrap your present in. I’ve seen some really well grocery bag material wrapped presents.
Those are all of the tips I have for today. Happy holidays to all those who celebrate, and stay safe!