It’s that time of year again! Our part of the Earth has gently angled away from the sun, lulling a warm fall season into Edmonton’s trademark winter. As skeletons and costumes get stowed away for next October, stores start tempting us to bolster their holiday coffers.
Don’t worry: this article isn’t here to chastise you for how you do your holiday shopping. But it does come loaded with tips for gifting personalized presents that are a bit more eco-friendly and budget-friendly.
First things first: the gifts
You’ve probably already heard the advice of gifting experiences, not products. Experiences aren’t always budget-friendly, though. The good news is that there are gifting options available that are kinder on the planet and on your wallet.
– Hand-picked recommendations: Tune into what your gift recipient likes and draw them up a personalized list of recommendations. The list could contain video games, books, podcasts, movies, songs, cafés, walking routes, etc.
– Handcrafted gifts: If you’re crafty, you could create a handmade present. Cookies, digital art, a short piece of fanfiction, a crocheted turtle, a necklace, a pin — if you can make it, you can gift it.
– Curated scrapbook or collage: Gather photos of both you and your gift recipient, and stick them into a scrapbook format of your choosing. Got loose leaf, forgotten stationary, or old stickers kicking around? This is the perfect opportunity to use them. Don’t worry about making a masterpiece. A little effort and heart go a long way. Bonus: if they’re into comics, video games, or movies, you could grab pictures of their favourite character or characters and make a collage of them instead.
– Sharable Herman sourdough starter: Prepare and gift a Herman sourdough starter. I was introduced to this when I was in elementary school. A person makes the first starter, uses part of it to make bread, and then passes it on to the next person. It’s a gift that truly keeps on giving if it’s well taken care of!
– Digital gift card: Run out of time for a gift? Looking to gift something to someone who lives far away without shipping something over? A digital gift card to their favourite store could do the trick.
Setting the scene: the decorations
Just as it’s possible to green up your gifts, it’s also possible to achieve an environmentally-friendly holiday aesthetic at an affordable price. Here’s one project idea to get you started.
– Festive centrepiece: When I was a kid, we would make centrepieces using floral foam, but I’ve since found out that this material is not great for us or the planet. Instead, try making a centrepiece using items that you already have. Grab a vase, fill it with a heavy base like pebbles or marbles, and then stick in short pine tree twigs. Next, decorate them with ribbons, holiday ornaments, and maybe even a small string of lights. It’ll be like having your own miniature winter wonderland.
Putting a bow on it: the gift wrap
Try these alternatives to gift wrapping this year to help cut down on paper waste. If you do opt to use gift wrapping and you’re gifting to family, you can keep the paper for future holiday seasons if it’s in good shape. This also applies to items like bows, gift bags, and decorative boxes.
– Fabric or scarves: To reduce holiday waste and still add flair to your wrapping, consider wrapping up gifts in fabric. Tea cloths, scarves, or old long-sleeved shirts and sweaters will do the trick. If you find shirts or textiles that seem to be beyond repair, drop them off at a place like Blenderz Garment Recyclers instead of the landfill.
– Tags: Prefer not to store holiday cards? You can repurpose them by turning them into gift tags. Cut shapes out of the patterned side of the card, put a hole through one of the corners, and you’ll be good to stick them to your gifts.
Happy holidays, and don’t forget to gift some time to yourself during this hectic time of year!
Photo from Canva