On 2nd of Jan 2020, we went for a walk. It was chilling cold and we had never done walks in winter. It was probably the shortest one with the walk taking less 2.5 hours. We continued to go for walks through out the year and after each outing the desire for walks grew more and more. We ended up doing 19 woodland walks this year. Sometimes I feel that it has helped to keep the sanity all through 2020. We have decided to gift ourselves the National Trust Membership this Christmas.
Picture from our first walk of 2020
Being a minimalist, I personally discourage gifts as I would want to avoid any plastic waste that comes from the product itself or the packaging. Even if gifts are to be discouraged, we should not discourage the practice of giving. Giving helps others, inspires actions and builds bonding in our community. Giving begets giving and when we add an ethical and sustainable aspect, it enables progress without hurting our planet.
Gifts that I had given in the recent times -
Tree Dedication: It is something done every Christmas for each of my neighbours and to the school where my children go. Instead of doing greeting cards, we do tree dedication for the entire class! Eforests and Woodland Trust is what we have used in the past.
Gift Cards: Not Amazon and hi street shops, but there are loads of ethical and sustainable business which do gift vouchers. This is great when you would like the person to choose in their field of interests – be it books, sustainable clothing, accessories, ethical art supplies etc. We did a Dolma Gift card for someone who likes perfumes.
Ecofully does gift vouchers too!
Gift Experiences : We had Go ape adventures for our children and a sewing class from Know How You for my daughter for her birthday and she stitched a bean bag in that class! We did theater shows from Polka theatre before it closed for renovation and some comedy plays for my husband. From tournaments, to musical shows to exhibitions and adventure shows or learning (be it digital ones or in person), there are loads of choices. You can arrange a game night, song night, crochet, or art evening for your loved ones.
Subscription service: Sometimes, it is important to gift yourself too. I did a book subscription service (Books that Matter) for myself and I ended up doing one for my daughter too (Brave girls book club) from the same company. It was a big hit. Now my son wants something like that. There are loads of subscription be it environment magazines, natural world activities, artwork subscription, science learning etc.
Gift Basics Utilities: Pyjamas, Lunch Box, sports equipment are some of the essentials that we gifted our children. When you tie to an occasion and make it a gift, it just adds a special touch. Not always though, I once gifted a small dust collecting pan for my son which was apt in size for his small hands. He said "seriously? Who gives a dust collecting pan as a gift?" My daughter gave a broad sarcastic smile and wished him - Happy Cleaning! Gifting essentials can be a big hit,especially in COVID times and it could be a simple voucher to a renewable energy supplier. Garden equipment and seed balls can be good gifts to people who like growing and gardening.
At ecofully, we stock lot of basic essentials( skin care, make up, cleaning and stationery) which can be gifted as ethical and sustainable alternatives.
DIY: Doing or making your own adds a loving touch! We have done moisturisers, bath bombs and chocolates and cakes. They are the easy ones that we have done. We have gifted produce and seeds from our garden to our neighbours and friends. I did not go beyond this due to my limited skills.
Give to inspire change: Sometimes, I end up giving food or organic food or chocolates only to educate of the alternatives available. I have given homemade chocolates, sweets, vegan food, and even organic veggies! For children, books on environment and animals help them connect to Earth and all her earthlings.
I do discourage the idea of gifting especially when it becomes obligated. I do not necessarily gift always. If I do not know someone too well, or if I do not find something suitable or if I am not sure its suitable. I skip it. I focus on giving time, effort, and care. Gifts as a substitute for the above three are a big No No. Gifting is not necessarily for occasions, sometimes giving out of the blue brings moments of surprise and joy. It could even be a simple handwritten letter. There is a thin line of difference between gifting and giving and when we focus more on latter, we end up building a happy community, not consumed by consumerism.