There’s a reason so many cultures come together during the coldest months of the year that has nothing to do with religion. We’ve been working hard and playing hard for the last twelve months and as the days grow short in the Northern Hemisphere, we spend more time gathered around a figurative hearth, looking inward and thinking about the things that truly matter. Often, what rises to the top for most of us are the people that make our hectic and busy lives worth living.
And in our appreciation of these people, we exchange gifts. But the holiday season should first and foremost be about gratitude and celebration of the meaningful relationships in our lives, not mass consumerism and subsequent waste that has come to define the gift-giving season in the modern world.
This season, slow it down. Be more purposeful with your spending and your intentions for the holidays. And do what you can to minimize waste–the earth will thank you for it. Not sure where to begin? At Karukinka Outdoor, we know a thing or two about sustainability, and here’s a few tips on how to start.
One gift that lasts is better than three or four that create clutter or wear out in a few month's time. Fast fashion has sunk its claws into our culture, creating more waste, both in terms of non-sustainable production practices and an increased likelihood of cheaper clothing eventually finding its way to a landfill. The best thing you can do as a gift-giver is to give quality gifts that your loved one will use and love for years and years to come. It's this idea that is behind the entire Karukinka collection.
Don’t undervalue an experiential gift as a cop-out. You can put a lot of thought into planning an itinerary or picking an outing perfect for your loved one. Are they stressed at work? Consider a massage or spa day as a present. Do they love surprises? How about a scavenger hunt in their favorite city or tickets to a show they would love to see? How about challenging themselves to do new things? Music, art, or cooking classes might be in order. If your experience involves travel, make it a little more sustainable by also purchasing carbon credits or take public transportation and make an adventure out of a new, alternative means of travel.
If you love the anticipation and excitement of a wrapped present, consider buying a roll of recyclable butcher paper and twine you can use again and again. Or use something to wrap your gift in that becomes part of the present, like a soft pashmina wrapped around another gift or a ceramic mug or vase that hides something inside. Even a reusable grocery bag makes for a sustainable gift wrap if you are in a pinch.
Research the social impact of gifts
Don’t forget that a key component of sustainable gift-giving is how people, as well as the planet, are impacted by a product. When you shop, consider who is actually making the gift you’d like to give. Are they paid a sustainable wage for their labor? Will the money you spend go back into an economy you believe in supporting? Remember that there are people on the other end of every product.
The gift of presence
And don’t forget the point of the holidays–to spend time with loved ones and reflect with gratitude on your life. Make a point to set down your phone or other distractions during this time of year and prioritize being present in the moment, rather than presents under the tree.