The holidays aren’t just about buying, buying, buying. At its core, the holiday season is about caring. ‘Tis the season to shop with a conscience. Get your loved ones great gifts while making your shopping a little lighter on the planet with these 4 tips:
Just as you would buy your food at a farmer’s market, try to buy your gifts from local brands, artisans, and makers. It supports local creativity, stimulates the local economy, saves on fossil fuel used in transportation, and fosters a sense of community and camaraderie with local vendors.
For some, buying truly local is not always possible, so supporting goods that are made in America is always a good shopping goal. This ensures that your items are not only held to high ethical standards, but high quality standards as well. At the very least, if you can’t go local, buy from companies with strong ethics and an environmental conscience.
Buy quality over quantity.
When it comes to deciding between a 4 for $20 deal on tee shirts or one quality $20 tee, temptation is mighty. But you’ll be happier long term if you value quality over quantity. Buying the cheaper quality option is not worth the money, from both an environmental perspective and a financial perspective.
In the long run, you’re usually not saving any money by buying the cheaper version (exceptions are always possible) simply because you’ll have to buy a few of them over time. Numerous low-quality items also means more items get tossed into the landfill. A quality item should last for years, if not generations, and you should be able to repair it if it begins to break down. Yes, it is a bit more money up front, but that investment will pay off years from now when your sweater/fleece/bike/blender/necklace/et cetera is still chugging along.
If you need to go cheap, you can still do so while buying well-made, eco-friendly items. The thrift store is the savvy sustainable shopper’s best friend. Plus, it’s fun. Consider it a hunt for the perfect treasure. It allows your gift-giving to get a little more creative while saving money and recycling old items. If you live out in a more rural area, check Etsy for crafts and vintage finds or ThredUp for great deals on gently worn clothing in spectacular condition.
Give instead of gift.
The holidays aren’t just about buying stuff for your friends and family. If you’d prefer to do even more good in the world, consider giving to a nonprofit in your name or the name of a loved one. Check out Care2’s 2016 Giving Guide for a list of our favorite nonprofits in the areas of animal welfare, the environment, disease research, education and human rights.
Buy discriminately. You do not need to succumb to the commercial shopping frenzy of the holiday season. Save on stress, money, and environmental health by opting to make sustainable purchases for your gift-giving this season.