At this festive time of year it is very easy to fall into the consumerist culture where we spend, spend, spend. This year let's do things a little differently. Here are my top tips for having an eco-friendly and "conscious consumer" Christmas. Below I have summarised my top three tips for gift giving which also apply all year round. For some added help I have provided some for her gift suggestions (feel free to pass this on to the main man in your life to give him a little help!)
1. Give the gift of experience
I learned a long time ago I like doing things rather than getting things. Especially as I got older the things I need I buy myself but I love sharing memories. Giving someone an experience that you can share together is great as they are a) excited when they find out b) excited for a long time to come and c) get to share said experience with you. An added benefit is that you don't accumulate "stuff" and it doesn't require wrapping. Choose a beautiful card and fill it with clues as to what you will both be doing - feel free to leave them in suspense!
Some suggestions would be a long weekend away, a holiday, fun activity, a class, an upgrade on an existing trip, a surprise treat when they are away (think massage on the beach or bungi jump), a membership (although choose your audience wisely - a gym membership may not go down well this time of year unless they are already an avid gym bunny...)
2. Fuel their passion
What is their biggest passion? Or what do you think could be their biggest passion? Are they a skier who would love the latest pair of goggles? Or do they love scuba diving and need a new pairs of fins? Think about what they love and make a purchase that will make them love it even more. Alternatively, have they ever said the words "I wish I could..." We are all very good at regrets and we typically feel we never have enough time to pursue something. Do they wish they could dance - get some dance classes (like tango, salsa or swing). Do they wish they read more or knew more about a certain subject like art or history? Buy some good old hardback books, ebooks are great but nothing beats a good old book. Displayed on a coffee table or book shelf make you look terribly clever as well - added gift. I have heard many of my friends say they wish they could "try vegan" but don't know how - perhaps a vegan cookbook is in order so they have no more excuses. But the Wilde Feeding Recipes are coming out shortly full of vegan alternatives to everyday meals :)
3. Think before you buy
Mindless shopping is the worst. If we are going to succumb to consumerism at this time of year then put your money to good use. It is also human nature to feel innately better knowing that the gift you have received is supporting something bigger than you - bonus gift. Avoid funding large corporates and support small and/or local businesses. Or if those large corporates are actually doing good, then showing support for that product and business practice sends a very powerful message to the guys at the top making the big decisions that this is something you want. For example, if your gift receiver is desperate for the latest pair of fashion trainers then check out the Adidas Parley product line. Adidas have teamed up with Parley who remove plastic from the ocean, turn it into yarn, which is then used by Adidas in their new range. Big corporate, big impact.
However, never underestimate the power of the little guy. Small businesses pack a serious punch and it's true that with every purchase an actual person does a little dance (speaking from experience). Your whole experience will be more personal and small businesses are much more open to special requests.
What has she always wanted to do? Is there an exclusive hair salon your Mrs would love an appointment at? Or a spa she has been pining to go to? Or she an adventurer who would love rock climbing lessons? A quick google search will reveal the best spots in the area. I personally love historic sites so a tour of somewhere like the Tower of London followed by a posh lunch (or good old English pub) would be a treat. Thanks to the rise of "immersive" entertainment there are lots of pop ups like Secret Cinema, Crystal Maze or a Medieval banquet around. The choice is yours.
If you're really struggling check out the ultimate eco-warrior woman wish list:
1. Incausa bath and meditate set The Incausa lines supports indigenous communities with proceeds returned to the artisans who crafted these beautiful pieces
2. Pai Landmark Collection This limited edition gift set features Pai's signature cleanser, Rosehip BioRegenerate oil (a personal favourite) and the calming day cream. Pai is organic, cruelty free and highly ethical.
3. Thought bamboo sock giftbox Thought are a very ethical organisation, sourcing sustainable materials like bamboo and hemp, and they are also founding partners of The Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) - a not-for-profit network that champions ethical production. Who doesn't love ethical socks?
4. Montezuma Christmas Chocolate Library Five of Montezuma's festive chocolate blends in lovely festive eco-friendly packaging. Inspired by South America but British made. Montezuma source the finest fairly traded cocoa and also partner with Children on the Edge, helping support children around the world.
5. Paint and Pins Cushions These sensational cushions are handcrafted by artist Tara Wallace, with an animal front and back (bum) - possibly the cutest thing ever. Made using 100% organic cotton and pigment ink (much better for the environment). Check out her range of prints, or make a special pet portrait request for a more personal touch.
6. Twisted Lingerie Think Agent Provocateur but affordable. Get your hands on beautiful provocative lingerie without the hefty price tag but with the same luxurious quality. From boardroom to bedroom, Founder Sophie has even found a way to make sex ethical - working with her factory she sources offcuts where possible from other brands that would otherwise find their way to landfill. #slowfashion #fastforwardthefun
7. Wunderworkshop Turmeric Latte London made and Sri Lankan grown. Wunderworkshop is the brainchild of Zoe, who sources her turmeric directly from an independent organic farm in Sri Lanka, supporting the local community. Shop the whole turmeric range, from latte blends, tea, honey and even CBD oil!
8. Save our Seas gift set Here at WildeNest we have transformed our passion for ocean conservation into a convenient little package. We support the circular economy by using recycled cotton and plastic bottles in our T-shirts, we help you never buy a plastic bottle ever again on-the-go with the collapsible water bottle and we help remove 1lb of trash from the ocean with the 4ocean bracelet.
We hope we have given Santa's little helpers some inspiration for the festive season.
Happy gift giving! I hope this has given you some ecofriendly gifting inspiration. Remember to share any eco-gifts with is using #wilde4theworld to help spread the wilde word!