This time of year, we’re bombarded with advertisements urging us to buy as much as we can. The messages tell us this is how to bring us and our loved ones joy.
But is that really true? Do we have to participate in an endless cycle of consumerism in order to enjoy the holidays or show our friends and family we care about them?
For some people, buying less and wasting less don’t have to mean giving less over the holidays. If you’re one of those people, here are some gift-giving ideas.
1. Pre-loved gifts
Gifting pre-loved items is a wonderful way to show how much you love the recipient … and the Earth. Online groups like Buy Nothing or Freecycle allow you to get items for free from your neighbors who no longer need them. Or, you can find local, low-cost, pre-owned items on local Nextdoor sites, Facebook, yard sales, thrift stores, or even on the sidewalk.
2. Repaired gifts
It’s likely there are plenty of things around your family’s and friends’ homes that they once loved but are now collecting dust because they broke or need maintenance. Getting an item repaired or serviced puts it back into use, rather than leaving it to eventually be discarded, and is also a great way to make sure the recipient will actually enjoy and use their gift.
Buy less gift guide: Repair an item to give new life to old stuff
3. Shared gifts
Some useful things are expensive and only occasionally used: cars, bikes, scooters, tools, etc. A gift membership or other access to a shared resource can meet the same needs for less cost to consumers and the planet. When you give someone access to one of these services, your recipient gets to choose how and when to use their gift while still making their life easier.
Buy less gift guide: Lending libraries aren’t just books anymore
4. Upcycled gifts
Upcycling is a form of recycling where you take items that would otherwise be thrown away and use them to make something new. This is different from mending or fixing something because the goal is to make something entirely new. Using your creativity, you can make something out of materials that you already have around the house or that you can find easily and inexpensively or even for free.
Buy less gift guide: Upcycled gifts keep things out of the trash
Not only can you give a kind and exciting gift without spending a ton of money, but your recipients will appreciate your thoughtfulness about protecting the environment. You’ll feel better too, knowing you gave a gift that doesn’t add to the waste stream.
Explore even more ideas for meaningful and sustainable holiday gifts with our full Buy Less, Give More guide:
Buy less, give more
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