Shoppers during the holidays crave exorbitant spending and justify purchasing items in excess. These cultural habits negatively impact wallets and the environment, which is why many desire to change their mindset.
Holiday shopping weighs less on a conscience if the gifts come from a sustainable business. If you aren’t sure of the best ways to prioritize the planet during the gift-giving season, consider these options for bolstering the livelihood of eco-friendly businesses.
Some of the most overlooked sustainable businesses are thrift stores. With their entire foundation built on recycling objects instead of using materials and resources to create new ones, it promotes a circular economy. Instead of defaulting to the local craft store, everything from trees, garlands and stockings can reside on thrift store shelves.
Make it extra fun by making a day of it, going thrift store to thrift store — like a scavenger hunt of holiday decorating potential. It helps clear their shelves of stock to make room for the influx of items they receive during the giving season.
Though the holidays may encourage us to travel to fancier or far away locations for more exotic gifts, stay close to home. Sustainable business means local business. Often, the shops source their materials locally to create artisan goods or stock from suppliers in the area.
Plus, the most sustainable shopping means supporting the local economy’s health. Backing sustainable outfits encourage more businesses to set up shop in the future, providing citizens with high-quality and diverse products that are better for the environment.
Give Sustainable Presents
Sustainable businesses create or sell sustainable products. Whether it’s upcycled fashion from a diverse company or handmade decor using eco-friendly materials, it’s vital to spread an environmentalist message by showing loved ones the joy and value of sustainable gift-giving. Supporting sustainable businesses now will continue to support them later as your loved ones discover the incredible products they stock, offering continued patronage. It’s as if you’re simultaneously giving loved ones and the business a gift.
Make Timely Purchases
If it’s within your means, consider shopping outside Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Sustainable businesses struggle more than large chains or e-commerce websites because of their higher prices or lower convenience.
Though the shop may have sales, support its mission by purchasing full-price items or on small business-centered events like Small Business Saturday. Every dollar counts for a sustainable business, especially when environmentally friendly business practices — like ethical material sourcing and renewable energy — can have high upfront and long-term costs. Investing in the full-price items demonstrates to the owners the community cares as much as they do.
Embrace Perishable Gifts
Everyone has been guilty of giving a gift someone didn’t want. Then, that item sits in a home for years unused. Instead of promoting unsustainable gift-giving practices like this, you can choose perishable items like baked goods and sweets that everyone loves.
Take time to interview everyone in your circle about their favorite flavors and textures. Delicious gifts never get wasted, especially when it appeals to their sweet tooth.
Plus, you can shop small and local from a baker, chocolatier or patisserie in your neighborhood. Supporting sustainable businesses this way benefits everyone because you’re spreading the word about their delicious products. Word-of-mouth advertising could make recurring customers year-round with something as small as a tasty cookie.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
Cooking a massive holiday dinner or buying gifts for so many loved ones you lost count? Sustainable businesses often have higher quality items because they are individually crafted instead of mass-produced, where product defects are more common.
Instead of purchasing tons of food or presents because it’s inexpensive, choose fewer, higher-quality food and gifts from sustainable businesses. Practicing intentional shopping like this produces less waste and allows more focused shopping.
Depending on how secretive you want to be, sustainable businesses need advertising to compete with the retail giants. Post Instagram photos of their decorated storefronts or their unique offerings that catch your attention. It’s possible you may not even purchase something from that sustainable business, but they will appreciate the highlight. It could be the Instagram post that drives countless dollars in sales.
Do Your Research
Before going on your shopping trip, research what businesses in your area are doing to promote sustainability. Are they carbon offsetting or supporting eco-friendly charities? Do they create vegan or cruelty-free products entirely using renewable energy?
Sustainable business can have varying fronts — all are equally important to support. Researching what’s around will encourage local exploration and open your mind to how companies can support sustainability in countless ways.
Shopping on Amazon for the price and convenience is tempting, but there is so much joy in shopping sustainably. Businesses that choose sustainability as a value work hard to protect the planet but still provide shoppers with high-quality, eco-friendly products with more emotional and financial value than shopping from a chain.