Christmas is right upon us, so is the pressure to find the best possible gifts for your loved ones. So if you are an eco-friendly, woke environmentalist or simply a responsible individual affected by the COP26-dominated headlines, you'll be looking for meaningful yet timeless gifts this holiday season.
Where do we even start? A lot comes down to your budget and how open-minded you are. If you ask me, it has never been a better time to become more open-minded and realise that it's the thought that counts, not just for your loved ones but also for our entire planet.
Let's have a deep dive into the topic of gifts that make the least impact on our beautiful planet but will make quite an impression on your nearest and dearest.
1. A gift of Time
Time is the most precious thing you can give to your loved one, yet you are always so busy. "I've spent too much time with my family", - said no one. A gift of your time can mean many things, and this is where you can get truly creative.
It can also mean that you have written a poem for your friend or repaired their bike. It can also mean that you have taken out your paint brushes and painted a beautiful sunset for your cousin. If you are not good with art or tools, find a way to give them your time in another way – choose a day, an hour when you'll spend a quality hour together without being disturbed. Go to a concert, a show, or a coffee without it being Christmas, Easter, or a Birthday. In fact, it's a gift to both of you.
You can write down your intentions and the date and the time options in a note, in your best handwriting, of course, put it in a cute envelope and wrap it for a more festive look.
2. A gift of Jewellery
What can you give so that it is beautiful, timeless and lasts forever? Socks wear off and become waste; most cosmetics carry a burden of plastic packaging. But jewellery, on the contrary, produced, packaged and delivered in the right way, have none of it. David&Martin Jewellery take the environmental threats very seriously. We use recycled gold and silver, the packaging made of eco-friendly materials, and we compensate the carbon footprint involved in the shipping process. So, the silver cufflinks for Him or this lovely timeless necklace for Her will tell a story, last ages and be passed on to another generation without a burden of extra waste. Access Black Friday deals using your discount code LOVEBF2021 to get 30% off across the whole website.
Who can say they have too much jewellery?
3. A gift of Giving
Christmas is about giving and remembering that not everyone is fortunate enough to afford the shopping sprees in search of a perfect scarf for Uncle John. Give your loved one a chance to support a worthy cause – a child in need, vital research or actually an attempt to reverse the effect of climate change.
The Brain Tumour Charity has just launched the Gift of Time campaign, raising money for the heavily underfunded search for a cure and kinder treatments of deadly primary brain tumours; you can donate as little or as much as you can. Action Aid UK offers child sponsorship opportunities that can change a child's future for the better; the monthly payment starts at £19.50. You can also support the micro-funding project Kiva, which aims to improve people's livelihood in developing countries by funding small businesses that otherwise cannot obtain traditional bank funding, with a life-changing and repayable loan starting at as little as £20.
These are just a few examples.
Remember, this is a kind of gift that can be life-changing for someone who really needs it.
4. A gift of Money
I can see some of the faces go uneasy reading this but hey, who doesn't love money? Money is freedom. It is better than something random you'll never use. Be very open with a person you intend to gift the money to, decide upon the amount and how you'll present it. If you don't want it to be digital, put them in a nice envelope, accompanied by a cute card (handmade?) and a kind, funny note. This can be a real hit.
5. A gift of Learning
We often regret to spend money on ourselves, especially when come childcare years, though we've been dreaming of learning cha-cha ever since our teens. And here comes a Christmas present from a best friend that has a nicely wrapped promise to turn us into a homegrown Strictly Come Dancing star. Cha-cha, pottery, pizza making, you name it. A voucher, a class or the whole course – it all depends on the friend's budget.
It is a fantastic environmentally conscious gift that will be much appreciated.
We might even be lucky to get a gym pass if a friend does not afraid to appear rude. Holiday weight, you know.
6. A gift of Art
We all secretly admire art, even when we do not admit it, which makes it especially pleasing to get art as a gift. And if it is a second-hand item, hand-picked for you after hours of browsing in a string of antique outlets, charity shops or a flea market, what can be better? It makes you feel special; it is excellent for the environment too.
Music and audiobooks count as art too, can be purchased digitally and are budget friendly!
7. A gift of … Food
Why not give your loved one something edible they'd normally not treat themselves to? Don't think an overpriced bottle of wine or a gold-plated box of chocolates. Think something they'll actually eat "in real life" rather than placing it in a cupboard to admire, too afraid to touch it. Go easy. It can be a digital gift card for a fancy grocery store, a home-delivered weekly fresh fruit and veg supply, a voucher for their favourite local coffee shop (support small businesses!). You know them, be creative.
You can even try taking it one eco-step further. If your loved ones have never had a 100% vegan meal experience, give them a voucher for a vegan restaurant. If it's a gift, they might well give it a go!
8. A gift of a Tree
Planting a tree for a loved one is a perfect ethical gift that will keep on growing, literally. When you order your gift with Trees for Life, a native tree will be planted in the Scottish Highlands, creating a home for wildlife and forests for the future. Make sure you put the name of your love done and order an e-certificate; it can even be personalised with your own message. A printed certificate is £19.99 and includes free UK delivery. E-certificates are £17.99.
Wow, what an incredible living gift it makes!
9. A gift of a … Penguin
It comes wrapped and delivered right to their door. On a serious note, you can adopt a penguin via WWF with monthly payments starting as low as £3, so £36 per year. Think about the impact this will make. Who wouldn't want to be a proud co-parent of an adorable, captivating, inquisitive - and incredibly vulnerable to threats like climate change penguin?
You can adopt a dolphin, a snow leopard, an orangutan, a lion, a polar bear, a jaguar and many other animals on www.wwf.org.uk.
Whatever you prefer to give, if it does not come in a digital format, make sure you wrap it in plastic-free recycled paper, preferably reusable (don't you reuse yours?). Christmas 2021 can do without the excessive packaging!
p.s. Don't forget to tell your family that their presents come with the added value of being eco-friendly and environmentally conscious, to get extra points.