The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of gifts is ADDING VALUE, NOT ADDING THINGS!
Gifting is an expression of love for most people, until and unless it’s done out of pressure ;) Ok, I am joking about the pressure part, but mostly gifts express our feelings and which is why we want to choose the best gift. I am personally somebody who makes sure that my gift should be remembered and at least be of some use for a few years at least. I think a lot of you will agree with that.
Let’s go back to the times where gifts were items which were thoughtful like household items, timeless weaves, yummy food itemsand things which were remembered and used for years to come. Think of it like an investment where the giver and taker both are happy.
But, looks like the scenarios have changed with our fast paced lives. We are always in hurry and looking for quick fixes. But with quick fixes come a lot of quick decisions which stay for a long long time. You will be surprised to know that the bows, paper lined with plastic, foil, glitter, wrapping paper are mostly not recyclable and end up in the landfills.
Coming straight to the point now, in the past decade the gifting sector has been offering plenty of options. One of the issues is with products which are made in bulk and are priced at cheaper rates, making them more desirable for majority of folks to buy. Another worry is that now there are gifts which have a lot plastic in the product and packaging itself. We are becoming contributors to micro- plastics which are now found in our oceans, soil, food and even unborn children.
We can always break-free from the chain, yes! We can. It might take a while but here is how you can start:
1. What to gift: This might take a while to decide but ask yourself before buying a gift for somebody, would you use it? Things like healthy home cooked food, seasonal fruits always do the trick, plants as home décor, Personal care items which are natural and toxic free, up cycled furnishings, repurposed furniture, books and artisan handmade chocolates.
2. Adding value: Before gifting anyone anything, it’s better to ask them what they need; will it add value to the person’s life you are giving it to? It’s not rare that sometimes we end up having 2 of the same items because they came as gifts. That could be the same case for others too. SO, why not just ask them? We can normalize that so we don’t end up wasting resources or time and bring a gift which is worth it.
3. Where to buy the gift: In this online era, everything is literally just a click away. With so many brands marketing on Social media and Websites, how would you know where to buy from? Look for brands that are transparent about their products & packaging.
How will you know if they are being true to their words is by checking their profile thoroughly, the comments and ASK questions. Asking questions about the ingredients, manufacturing is also very important. Look for local artisan pages and support them by buying from their small business. There are women empowerment programs which make beautiful home furnishings and clothes too. Look out for slow & sustainable fashion brands.
For gifting plants, choose easy maintenance plants which don’t overwhelm the receiver. Hand-crafted pottery items, home décor are also very unique depending which part of the country it’s getting made in. Choose thoughtfully and try to support your local businesses. They are really working hard, putting in a lot of effort to bring to you especially hand-made gift.
4. Choosing Packaging: You don’t always have to fall for shiny, aesthetic looking wrapping paper which is lined with plastic. Instead you can use bamboo baskets, wooden trays, recycled paper boxes which might be used later and don’t end up piling up in the landfill with our other waste. Also, keep in mind that not all small business are eco-friendly so if you can request them to have plastic-free packaging and if they are willing to do it – nothing like it, right? But, one must always try.
5. Re-gifting: This might sound like I am telling you to be such a “miser” but let us normalize re- gifting items. It can feel weird at first but not buying new is also being sustainable. Normalizing this can encourage others to do the same and it’s also a way of connecting over your ideologies.
6. Reciprocating: If they know what you like, your values and what you believe in it will make others around you aware. For instance I am going to use my example. I end up gifting seeds and Plants to people I meet for the first time, this has such a ripple effect that whenever they meet me again, we exchange seeds and saplings. It’s basically the idea of reflecting what you want to receive. I might sound philosophical but try this and you will love the feeling, when others reciprocate with your thoughts and values.
7. Pricing: Eco-friendly sustainable gifts don’t have to be expensive always. They can be cost effective and something which can cost a little more than bulk made items but will last way longer than those. I know comparing machine made and hand-made isn’t the right thing to do, but pricing can always be a deciding factor when it comes to gifting, I won’t lie but most of us have budgets, there are some lovely brands who are trying to give you alternatives to conventional gifting at good prices and keeping fair trade I mind.
For more you can us at www.giftgreen.in or follow them on @greengiftindia