Master the art of ethical gifting (even on a low budget!) - Brown Living™

Want to give thoughtful gifts without overspending? Check out our guide to ethical gifting on a budget, featuring DIY and sustainable ideas for any occasion.

With the festive season now in full force, the months leading up to the end of the year will be all about celebrations and gifting. With families and friends reuniting for various occasions, the give and take remain ongoing. Be it a small token of love or a grand gifting gesture, it can be easy to get caught off-guard with unsustainable gifting options. There are several reasons why you may slip up and end up choosing to buy something that’s not necessarily Earth-friendly. Be it budget constraints, the lack of accessible options or a time crunch, you needn’t be caught off guard. 

If you are someone who is committed to staying sustainable in all your choices, this blog can be your guide towards conscious gifting practices, that you can follow throughout all upcoming occasions and beyond!

1. It’s the thought that counts

The first step towards shopping for your loved ones begins with putting some thought into what you’re choosing to gift. Before picking a gift, it helps to figure out what it is they truly need, want or care about. Knowing their requirements beforehand prevents you from buying wasteful gifts that may end up being passed on or discarded.

Once you know what to gift, finding Earth-friendly alternatives as per your loved ones’ needs becomes much easier. Not only does it give direction to your planning, but also shows your thoughtfulness. This way, you can be sure that whatever you pick for them is useful, ethical and will be truly appreciated.

2. Plan in advance

Once you know what to buy, it’s best to also plan and time your gifts in advance. Usually, the last-minute rush to buy gifts can push you into buying whatever is available most easily, and that may not lead to making a responsible or planet-friendly choice. 

The easiest way to avoid scrambling at the last minute is to place your orders a week or more prior to the occasion. This is especially important when you shop for gifts online. You can also decide to buy your gifts in bulk to save both money and time. Most of the Earth-friendly gifting options are often multi-use and appeal to everyone. So, buying in bulk is never a bad option, especially when shopping for a group of friends or colleagues.

3. Research your Earth-friendly gifting options

So, you’ve figured out what everybody wants and decided to set aside some time to buy your gifts. The most important step before you finally make your purchases is to do your research. When it comes to shopping for conscious and truly ethical gifts, it is important to identify the source, materials used and the brand you shop from. 

Today, there are endless green-washed labels in the market, that advertise and market themselves as ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘natural’ but may not truly live up to that claim. The best way to know if what you’re buying is truly sustainable is to read up on the available options and make a comparative choice. 

For example: Let’s say you’re shopping for some natural skin-care products as a gift for your friends or family, and you find a brand that seems to suit you. Before you make a purchase, read the labels to identify if the ingredients are truly natural, or mixed with other components. Also pay attention to the packaging, the brand’s history, customer reviews and the like. If staying plastic-free is a priority for you, prior knowledge of the packaging is crucial before placing an order.

4. Set a budget

One of the biggest reasons why most people hesitate to gift Earth-friendly essentials is the concern about pricing. Deemed expensive, it is natural for you to worry about these gifts exceeding your budget. While this may be true to some extent, it’s still far from reality. 

Once you’ve set aside a budget for buying gifts, it becomes relatively easier to choose planet-friendly options without denting your pocket. One such thoughtful and truly valuable gift that you can give is that of planting a tree in their name. 

Not only is this a highly budget-friendly gifting option but is also stress-free. All you need to do is visit this link, add a tree or few to your cart and dedicate it in the name of your loved one. You will also receive an e-Tree certificate for your purchase and can track your plantation project with ease. A small and simple act like this stands as a true testament to your concern for both- The planet and your loved ones.

5. Let them choose

This is the most self-explanatory option of all. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we may not do complete justice to the preferences of our loved ones. When it comes to choices too, opinions may differ. If you’re not sure what someone may prefer, the best way is to let them buy something as per their preference. 

The quickest and most effective way to go about this is by buying a gift card from an Earth-friendly brand of your choice. This gives you control over your budget and the receiver control over their preferred gift.

6. Experiment with something handmade

If you have a creative streak and enjoy experimenting with DIY, this is a great solution for you. Handmade gifts always hold a special place, as they express the effort and care you put into creating something of value for a loved one. 

It also gives you the satisfaction of knowing exactly what raw materials or components to use to create a completely Earth-friendly gift. You can also explore creative freedom and make customised gifts for your near and dear ones!

7. Also, try something homemade

There is hardly anyone who doesn’t enjoy edible gifts! Definitely a top favourite on most people’s lists, it’s also one of the most sustainable gifts you can give. Be it some homemade laddoos, cakes, mithai or muffins, your homemade gesture will touch a chord with everyone. 

The best part? You needn’t worry about shopping for gifts, or exceeding your budget either! Just put those delectable recipes to use and be mindful of packing the treats in reusable boxes!

8. Avoid plastic wrapping like a pro

Besides the actual gift you make, packaging and gift-wrapping also play a crucial role when it comes to conscious gifting. If your gift is Earth-friendly but the packaging isn’t, this can defeat the purpose of sustainable gifting. After all, the wrapping and packaging is the part that counts as waste and may directly end up in the landfills.

To begin with, you can opt for reusable boxes, old newspapers, or the craft material you may have at home. You can also repurpose old glass jars, boxes and upcycle festive cloth pieces to make hampers or wrapping decorations. Another great alternative is to opt for planet-safe wrapping materials to ensure that your gift is holistically sustainable.

9. Spread the word

Naturally, when it comes to gift exchange during the festive season, you may not always be the giver. If you are an individual firmly rooted in your sustainable principles, you may be worried about the dilemma of receiving unsustainable gifts too. If that is your concern, be upfront with all your peers and family members about your preferences. 

This also helps them make a sound choice when gifting you something and saves you from the burden of managing an unwanted gift that doesn’t align with your values.

10. Assess your gifts

As important as it is to gift only sustainable, it is equally important to effectively manage the gifts you receive.  Despite your best efforts, it is almost impossible to prevent it all. Sometimes, you may receive gifts from unexpected sources or receive something you were unprepared for. 

So, make it a point to take stock of all that you receive and analyse the best possible uses of what you receive. Even if you do get a gift that doesn’t meet your preferences, you can never go wrong when applying the basic principles of reuse, refuse & re-gift! 

Start your festive season by taking a step in favour of planet safety. Explore our extensive collection of 5000+ verified plastic-free lifestyle essentials to shop and gift only sustainable. 

Additional Sources for you to read:
  1. A guide to Conscious Gifting
  2. A Guide to Ethical Gift Giving: 6 Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

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