‘Tis the season to dress up, light up and be jolly! There is a nip in the air even for those living in warmer climes, and everyone seems to be soaking in the love and magic of the season. Festivals are about renewal and new beginnings, as they fill us with the hope of a better tomorrow. It is a time to connect with our loved ones. And there can be no better way of connecting than by celebrating, gifting, and enjoying mindfully!
We all love that warm fuzzy feeling when we choose a gift for friends and family that delights them. Thoughtful, unique, meaningful gifts that do not inevitably end up in the trash after a while and can be cherished for a long time increase this joy manifold!
Our sustainable gifting guide will help you be kind to yourself, to your dear ones, and the planet. We have done all the thinking and taken the stress out of choosing gifts that are special, sustainable, and unexpected. The guide includes ideas and brands that have at least one sustainable attribute, including products that are low waste, ethically sourced, or eco-friendly. They are unique and thoughtful and certain to be loved by the recipients. So, dive right in!
The guide includes ideas and brands that have at least one sustainable attribute, including products that are low waste, ethically sourced, or eco-friendly.
For corporate gifting ideas, read this story.
1. Gifts That Grow
Gifts that keep giving back for years are the best kind of gifts. While your local nursery is always a good idea, there are some other options you can consider too.
- Microgreens Kits: Microgreens are young vegetable greens – the first true leaves produced from seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are high in nutritional value and offer health benefits. Microgreens kits usually come with detailed instructions on sowing and caring for them. These kits that help grow superfoods in our own homes make for a great gift that keeps giving back! All That Grows, Green & Brown, and Clan Earth are some brands that you can explore to get this regenerative gift. Like Clan Earth says, this festive season ‘instead of getting your loved ones another gift, get them a hobby!’
Source: Clan Earth
- Plants: When in doubt, gift a plant! Because can one ever have enough plants? Head over to your local nursery or shop online for a large variety of plants, planters, and more to suit all budgets. You can spend hours happily browsing Nursery Live and Root Bridges and find all your gifts here. With most of our cities grappling with poor air quality, air-purifying plants are always a good idea and a nice pot adds a dash of style to this useful gift. And we just love the stunning moss frames on MyBageecha. These online stores also sell garden decor and other essentials to go along with the plants. You can also consider gifting a gardening subscription from Ugaoo for a unique gift.
- Plantables: Expand your choice from plants further to plantable goodies of all kinds. Explore Blue Barrows, Plantables, The Terra Co, Gram Art Project, and bioQ for plantable seed balls, germination kits, seed cards, stationery, calendars, and even seed ‘crackers’ that Gram Art Project prefers to call Hatchers! You would find plenty of items for all tastes and ages, and you can be sure that they will never add to the plastic waste in a landfill.
Source: The Terra Co.
2. Different Is Good
Every thoughtful gift makes a statement about the giver and their values and beliefs! By pushing the envelope and choosing gifts that are not run-of-the-mill, we can make our gifts stand out in the crowd and become memorable!
- A Living Composter: A composter is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of gifts. But this is the perfect gift for those inclined to conscious living.The key to living sustainably lies in making everyday changes and composting is a big step toward that! You can get your composter from indie brands like Daily Dump and My Green Bin. Add a small handwritten note, and voila! Your gift will be cherished for a long time.
- Zero-Waste Bundles: Explore the zero-waste and sustainable gift hampers offered by Bare Necessities, Upcyclo, The Affordable Organic Store, and Clan Earth, and find inspiring gift ideas, no matter what your budget is. If you can’t choose what to give, you can also opt for festive gift cards from brands like Green Feels and Brown Living.
Source: Bare Necessities
3. Sustainable Is Chic
If quirky and unusual gifts are fun and memorable, traditional gifts are classics that always hit the spot! So, for more conventional gifts, go ahead and choose clothes, jewellery, and accessories, but do it mindfully.
We at The Good Loop love brands that do sustainability with style and we often talk about them. Check out our earlier guide to gifts that are mindful as well as this story on brands that are using innovations in sustainable fabrics to make exquisite fashion and accessories and you are sure to find just the right gift. With brands spoiling us for choice, here are some more finds!
- Fashion & Accessories – The festive collections by Nicobar, Doodlage, Grassroot by Anita Dongre, Aarka, The Burlap People, and Beej are worth checking out. Whether you choose to buy pre-loved fashion or slow fashion, you can be sure your gift will help your family and friends make a stylish as well as a low-impact statement. And let us not forget the little ones! Hop over to Amala Earth and browse their collections for kids. Or check out the quirky themes of Chhota Baccha’s lines of slow fashion for babies and kids.
Source: Chhota Baccha
- Home & Living – The festive season is the one time of the year that prompts even the most laidback, easygoing folks to spruce up their homes! Several exciting brands offer product ranges that combine design ethics with sustainability in interesting ways, while also working directly with artisans and crafts-persons. Ellementry, Kar Conscious Living, and Exclusive Lane are worth exploring for some great finds. With even earth-friendly laundry pods available as a festive gift bundle, like the recently launched Hapiso is offering, there is no dearth of interesting gift ideas!
- Curated Eco-Hampers – Niche, lifestyle brands have raised the bar with exquisitely curated gift hampers made up of beautiful, functional, and earth-friendly items. Phool, Verth and Buraansh offer thoughtful bundles that make for ideal gifts. We are also loving Loopify’s Signature Collection 2022 which has an interesting mix of products, is plastic-free, and comes in attractive gift packaging.
4. Food From The Heart
Nothing says love like food does! While traditional mithai and chocolates continue to rule the roost, there is more to choose from.
- Gourmet Hampers: The plant-based meat market size is expected to reach $13.8 billion by 2027 as healthy, vegan options find increasing favour from consumers. Choose plant-based, vegan bundles, and artisanal gourmet items from brands like One Good, The Gourmet Box, East by Northeast, or Wildermart and create personalised hampers based on the likes and preferences of the intended recipients of your thoughtful gifts!
- Something Sweet – Check out the organic honey gift hampers by Under The Mango Tree or browse the many varieties of honey available on Brown Living and Loopify. And for the chocoholics in your life, Mumbai-based Pascati has options of artisanal chocolates that, besides being delicious, are certified organic and Fairtrade.
More Than The Gift
Sustainable gifting is so much more than just the gift. Here are a few bonus tips to help you make your celebrations more meaningful and fulfilling.
- Buy What You Need: Turn off your notifications and unsubscribe from fast fashion brands so that you do not end up overbuying. Choose practical and useful gifts consciously, keeping in mind the preferences of the recipients, so that these are appreciated and not discarded!
- Wrap In Style: According to one estimate, the global gift wrapping market was at $16 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $ 35 billion by 2028. That is a lot of paper used once and discarded within minutes! Do not add to it. Make sure your gift box has no plastic or non-biodegradable frills that look good but don’t do any good. Wrap your gifts in upcycled or recycled handmade boxes or dress them up in pieces of colourful fabric, add warm notes handwritten on seed cards, and you are set! Or you can opt for upcycled packaging from The Second Life or Oh Scrap instead of buying shiny plastic wrapping paper that does not biodegrade.
- Support Local Artisans: Give a pass to those fancy hampers of imported items with high carbon miles, and support small, local businesses and artisans. When we buy from local artisans or brands that work with Indian craftsmen and artisans, not only do we support their livelihoods, but most such brands use eco-friendly packaging and sustainable materials that are low-waste.
- Think Low-Waste: There is plenty of help at hand! Brands like Green Utsav can help you host the perfect zero-waste party. Use clean and reusable alternatives like diyas, soy wax candles, and solar string lights from your local electric store for lighting. Look up plantable thank-you cards and invites or reusable decor from brands like Happy Turtle, and store them carefully after use so you can reuse them. Before buying anything new, review what you have – you would be amazed at how creatively old silk sarees, dupattas, glass bottles, and leftover decorations you already have at home can be reused. Read about hosting sustainable festivities at home in our earlier story for more ideas.
Make Merry, Mindfully!
If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is to find joy in the little things. Thoughtful gestures like a handmade card or a home-baked cake in the gift hamper make gifts memorable and precious. Think thrifty and practical, because it is the sentiment that makes the gift count. What we buy, who we buy from, how we buy, every little conscious decision matters!
After two years of the pandemic that was rough on all of us, we deserve to hold our family and friends close, let our hair down and play cards, eat, drink, dance, and be merry. Let us make the most of it, in a way that says we care, for our loved ones and our home, the planet!