Living in the United States means being frustrated whenever you pay attention to what is going on. Preserving our planet often takes a backseat to the corporate agenda. Their bottom line? Make as much money as possible. Well, this Christmas, we can do something about that. I have referenced this quote before, but now, during the holiday season, it is as relevant as ever: every dollar you spend… or don’t spend… is a vote you cast for the world you want. Large retail chains often make around 40% of their annual profits during the six weeks before Christmas. These corporations are known for giving CEOs disgustingly large bonuses and paying their workers an unlivable wage. Many of the toys and clothing sold by these corporations are produced under inhumane working conditions. Furthermore, the goods we are purchasing are often of cheap quality and made of plastic, the same plastic that will poison our planet and water supply for the foreseeable future. I know that so much of the holiday season has become about gift giving, but we can make the season so much more meaningful by shifting our holiday mindset.
Firstly, the most valuable gift you can give to anyone is your time. Make holiday memories. Bake cookies, watch holiday movies, string popcorn garland, read books, and start traditions. Be. Present. These memories will be more treasured than any gift could ever be.
As far as gift giving is concerned, one of the best options is to give an experience. Gift movie tickets. Buy a year pass to the kids’ museum. Go on a trip. Visit family. Memories are better than plastic junk every time.
Another good option is to offer your talents. If you are tech savvy, help someone who may not be. If you can sew, help someone give their clothes new life. Using our talents is often free and it can sometimes help prevent people from creating excess waste.
My next suggestion is buy secondhand. This method uses no new resources and can allow you the freedom to give the gift you want to give. There are so many items in circulation already that buying new is, not only wasteful, but completely unnecessary. If your secondhand item isn’t perfect, you can always upcycle it into a more unique and ideal gift.
Another great option is to make gifts! This method is not as ideal as secondhand because new resources are used for materials, but this option is still great because we are not using our money to support large corporations! Make art, bake cookies, sew dolls, make wooden puzzles, etc. These gifts will be even more meaningful because of your efforts.
If none of these options work for you, then find ethical companies to buy from. Make sure these companies have sustainable practices and treat their workers humanely. Buy from local shop owners and small businesses. Consider the end of life for your purchase (will this end up in a landfill? can it be recycled? can it be composted?) Use your money to show where your values lie.
These practices are not only better for the environment and society, but they will bring us closer to a more meaningful Christmas!
I will follow up in another post about my own personal Christmas plans. ❤