An Ethical Approach to Christmas Gifting


Christmas is two weeks away and the feeling of pushing against the colossal force of consumerism is strong.

This year has been a constant quest and assessment if you like into my role – my life – on this planet and how it fits into everything. Not only that, but how my actions implicate the health of us as a collective people and place. It’s one gigantic learning curve. Life, I mean. You’re never just ‘there’ in terms of knowledge accumulated. There’s always something new you can do to educate yourself. There’s always something more intricate to study or focus on.

It’s so normal for us all to spin out of control in stress and anxiety this time of year. We’ve been force-fed this atrocious idea that Christmas¬† goes hand in hand with breaking the bank – with spending. And it’s not just Christmas, is it? Every single holiday is an opportunity for retailers to play on our weaknesses and convince us that we can always spend more.

It really is time to stop. And not just for Christmas. Spend these next few weeks, if you can, making conscious purchases. And not just in the gift department, either. Start looking at what you’re buying, when you’re buying things, and how the purchase makes you feel the moment you make it, 1 hour later, and 1 week later. We’ve got ourselves into this rut by over spending and then basking in the stress of a busted bank account. What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be that way?

Below I’ve listed some different ways you can tackle Christmas gifting this year, in case you’re dying of stress and hopeless as to what to buy:

  1. Do a Secret Santa. Instead of buying everyone in your family or friendship group a gift, each draw names and buy one present for somebody. Make this something that they would really appreciate. You can even reveal who has who and straight up ask the person if they need anything. Britons spend an average of 2.4 billion pounds on unwanted presents each year. Why not simply ask?
  2. Give your time. Relieve the pressure of spending money you may not have and donate your time to your loved ones. I guarantee it will be more appreciated than a flashy material present. This could be in the form of a voucher for a day in the park together, concert tickets (if you can afford it), or a homemade dinner. These gifts mean the most.
  3. With the upward trend of minimalism, people wanting to simply have less stuff can be tricky to buy for. If you know anyone passionate about a particular charity or cause, consider donating in their name. Give the funds to someone who truly needs it.
  4. Handmade consumables always go down a treat. Try getting creative and making some delicious homemade treats for foodies or beauty junkies. You can have fun, it doesn’t break the bank, and the fact that you took the time to make something yourself says a lot about how much you care.
  5. Pool together for adventure. If you’ve got a tight-knit family or group of friends that normally spends a hefty total on each other, consider pooling your funds and putting down the deposit on a yurt, lodge, beach house or any other place you might want to venture! Travel is one of life’s greatest experiences, so consider planning a trip together.

Rather than having to endure the time-consuming process of clearing out the crap once Christmas has passed, try to prevent the unwanted purchases from being made in the first place. We all focus so much on liberating ‘closet clean-outs’ and ‘spring cleaning’, but we must stop and access our relationship with purchasing in the first place. 2017 is going to be a year of making this my primary goal. I have a choice with each purchase I make and the repurcussions are huge and can make a difference. Ethical purchasing inspires others and gets the word out there that things can be different. If we each speak up about it loud enough, real change can happen.


Photo: Flickr


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