The holidays are in full swing and that means buying presents. Humans have exchanged gifts since prehistoric times, and gifts have been used to show love, grant luck, and in negotiations. Presents are an important way that humans connect with one another. In modern culture, we often give gifts for important rites of passage (such as graduation), birthdays, and special holidays. In America, Christmas is a holiday where we exchange gifts with nearly everyone we know. For many of us, this can become expensive. We also don’t put much thought into where we spend our money. Here are a few things to think about when compiling that shopping list.
Give Practical and Homemade Presents
The benefits of giving practical and homemade gifts cannot be overstated. Practical gifts are wonderful because the recipient is likely to use them, which means the giver wastes less money. Another benefit of practical gifts is that you can often make them instead of purchasing. You can make many presents with ingredients straight out of your pantry. Homemade items are some of the most frugal gift choices available. Other homemade ideas are to gift your services or time to someone instead of giving a material item. For example, gifting time to babysit or animal sit for a friend for an evening, or gifting your services to complete a chore, such as yard work.
Know Who Benefits And Who Is Harmed
If you do plan to buy a present, do the research about the company from whom you’ll be purchasing. Every purchase we make is a vote for the company that made that item. Think about the kind of companies you wish to vote for, and do your homework before shopping. Know where your money is going and who benefits from it. Choose brands that you can feel good about supporting. Find brands that are transparent and that work to help end child labor and human trafficking. Conversely, know if anyone suffered making the item you are purchasing. Trafficked people make many of the products we consume everyday. When buying gifts, research and purchase only from brands you can trust.
Know The Impact On Resources
If you choose to purchase a present, it’s important to know the impact that item has on resources. Items that travel long distances use a lot of fossil fuels. Products made in countries with fewer environmental regulations contribute to problems such as pollution and deforestation. Items made overseas might be considerably cheaper than those made sustainably in your local area, but the true cost comes in the form of environmental impact. Purchasing products made sustainably from trusted brands alleviates many of those concerns. Another option is to consider buying used items when possible. There is far less impact on resources when you purchase used products. And they are often a more frugal choice.
Alternative Present Options
Alternative present options can decrease holiday shopping costs and be a more sustainable option than purchasing new gifts for everyone on your list. One idea is to pick names out of a hat and purchase a gift for only one person instead of buying gifts for all of your friends and family. This is a frugal option that still allows you to give someone the special gift they’re looking for without breaking the budget. Another idea is to donate money to a worthy cause as a gift. Get a list of causes that your friends and family think are important and donate to those causes in the other person’s name. This is an excellent way to give a gift that can truly make a difference in our world.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of mounting credit card debt and buyer remorse. Holidays are a time of family and friends gathering together and enjoying each other. Giving presents during the holidays is an important ritual that many of us do. By using the above ideas for sustainable gifts, you can feel good about giving gifts to those you care about.