I’m really feeling the holidays this year. It was off to a good start when I was granted permission to head up Thanksgiving dinner, and since then, my excitement for the holidays has continued to snowball (pardon the pun).  I’m loving all of the twinkling lights on my neighbors’ homes, I can’t help but to sing Christmas carols to Grover (Grover Bell Rock anyone?), and this past weekend I attended my first ever ugly sweater party!

But the best thing about the holidays, in my opinion, is gifting. I’m in love with the idea of giving wonderful, unique, and thoughtful gifts to my loved ones, and a bit obsessed over finding just the right ones.

Admittedly, sometimes this obsession, coupled with my tendency towards indecision and perfectionism, bites me in the butt and things don’t go as planned. And let’s be real, sometimes my budget doesn’t fully allow for the sorts of presents I’d really love to be giving to people.

But nonetheless, finding special gifts for my favorite people is one thing I always look forward to, and finding gifts that are conscious (i.e. those that delight the recipient and yet are socially and environmentally friendly) is even more rewarding.

 

Give consciously: give gifts that are unique, thoughtful, and socially and environmentally friendly. Click To Tweet

 

Below are some of my favorite ideas for conscious gifting:

Give gifts that give back.

One great gift for the person in your life who has everything is simply to donate to a charity in his or her name. But if you are looking for a physical gift that also supports a good cause, check out shopwithmeaning.org which allows you to browse by category or cause to find gifts that give back to others.

Give experiences.

Local dance, yoga, or art classes, a weekend getaway to an exciting and memorable destination, or simply a night out at the movies . . . there are so many choices for fun experiences! Bonus: experiences often lead to new skills, or at the very least new memories, both of which are truly priceless gifts in my opinion. For more on how experiences rather than belongings make us happy, check out this article.

Think quality over quantity.

I can’t lie, gifts that are eco-friendly and sustainably created tend to seem a bit more expensive than say, something you’d buy at Walmart. In the interest of avoiding a rant about hidden costs to the environment and human welfare, I’ll just say that it’s a good idea to get comfortable spending a bit more and buying a bit less in order to make environmentally and socially conscious purchases. That said, look for items that can be used up and that will add value and enjoyment to the recipient rather than ending up in a landfill in a few months (i.e. gourmet fair trade coffee, tea, or chocolate, eco-friendly/organic makeup, handcrafted soap or beeswax candles).

Re-gift your old favorites.

I’m not saying you should re-gift all your old stuff just to get rid of crap you don’t want anymore (because let’s be real, that’s not very thoughtful), but if, for instance, you have a book that you really loved and are finished reading, why not give it to a friend or family member who would also really love it? You can even personalize it with a heart-felt note!

The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year. Of course it’s not all about presents, but the act of giving is something that can bring us all great joy. I’d love to know, do you give consciously or have you receive a conscious gift that you absolutely loved? Share it in the comments below, and happy holidays!

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