It’s that time of year that makes an eco-warrior cringe in fear of the visions of plastic tinsel, glossy paper, and single use wrapping flying around the earth filling ocean floors and landfills. Luckily, this year the minimalism aesthetic is IN and I have some stellar tips for you to keep your gifts looking stylish, while also treating the earth with love!
Firstly, you must consider what kind of packaging your gift requires and how it can be presented to your loved ones. If you are just stocking stuffing, you can opt for all natural twine and rope to create a beautiful bow on the items. Opt for a more biodegradable material like Hemp or the less known Jute Fiber. This rope can also go on the outside of boxes and tied to bag handles for a complete look. You can also incorporate some of those beautiful dry desert flowers if the region you live in allows! Tie those into the bow and you have a beautiful gift to offer.
The next eco packaging suggestion I have is using newspaper or any of those annoying ad papers that we have filling our mailboxes now-a-days. This packaging is great for your more colorful friends or kids as it has bright colors. Lucky for you, this time of year many of the ads are color focused on the holidays so you can get red, green, and blue paper to wrap any boxes of larger items with. If you go for newspaper and have some paints, you can also paint a beautiful design or color combination around the paper.
The third eco packaging is my favorite; REUSING all of the packaging I have been given. I have a box in my home where I keep all old tissues, bags, and boxes from previous gifts or items purchased and I pull them out to re-gift. I always tell my loved ones that it is re-used (since sometimes it says happy birthday… a little comic play) and that inspires them to either save the packaging for their own re-use or sometimes they end up giving it back to me so I can re-use once again!
I would love to touch on sustainable gift ideas as well. This year especially, it is important to focus on funneling money back into our local economy. Consider shopping at the local farmers markets, artisan markets, and small boutiques local to your home. Etsy is also a great site for hand crafted small business gifts. You can find locally made, sustainable gifts starting as low as $2 for things like high quality lip balm. Just because it was locally made does not mean it will be expensive! If you can spare a few extra bucks this year, buying clothing from local brands that hold eco-responsibility high in their moral codes is something to consider. My favorite brands are Wolven, Kucoon, and Mika... all California local brands and found at our beautiful Totem Boutique. I am also fully obsessed with Bahgsu Jewels, epic staple pieces, and Ceara LeAnn Jewelry, beautiful gold, dainty, crystal, and reiki infused pieces. Both are also found here at Totem!
If this year has been too financially challenging to even consider buying gifts, get creative! If you have any clothing that you love but have been wanting to give away, consider their quality and possibly give them to a friend who always complimented them on you. Create art and send to your loved ones. Bake cookies and leave them on the doorstep of someone you love this year. Even sending a funny dance or song that you filmed for your dear friend or family member is a great gift at no cost!
I invite you this holiday season to be conscious more than ever of where your money is going. As we have all had an extremely challenging year, choosing small brands and companies to invest in will make all the difference in the long run. We all have a deep responsibility to keep our economy running and eventually prospering. As we have learned, we cannot rely on the government to bail us out and care for us. It’s time to take matters into our own hands. Keep your packaging eco and sustainable which will not only be good for the earth but will cost you close to nothing. Invest in your local economy to keep your fellow neighbors feeling supported this holiday season so that they can reinvest that back into the community… which will eventually end up back at YOU!
May you exist in the ever current of joy this holiday season and know that we at Totem are here for you. We are your friends, your neighbor, and your support.