Historically, Christmas was celebrated in the Christian world when most of Europe and North America were buffeted by cold wintry weather. Nowadays, the holiday season has spread across the globe, in the tropics, the highlands, the desserts, in almost every country. A record breaking Christmas trees pepper Dubai while glittered snowflakes and holiday lights adorn streets in Bangkok. Arguably, the act of gift giving associated with Christmas has been the thrust behind its spread across the world which can be understood in the joy associated with giving or receiving. In an era of excess, why not use some of that purchasing power to give back to the planet, protect biodiversity, and preserve natural resources.
Time to review your gift giving choices.
Are you grabbing stocking stuffers from the sales rack? Or are you handing out Starbucks gift cards on Christmas Eve? Whether you are giving or receiving said crowd pleasers, take a pause and consider what other ways these hard earned resources can be used.
For example, consider gifts to benefit a charity or organization doing work you respect. A friend of mine recently made gift donations in a colleague’s names to the arts program at a local school that included an invite to their annual art show. My sister uses her annual gift-giving budget to benefit a nearby animal shelter. I prefer to donate to a small charity or organization that does great work but often struggles for funding. Small gifts like these may seem insignificant, but collectively they can make a huge difference for a small fledgling organization.
If a donation in another person’s name does not feel like your style, there are plenty of other gift ideas that can still benefit a charity or the environment. Scores of organizations sell calendars, subscriptions, “adopt a species,” or other merchandise where proceeds go back to fund their efforts. SEVENSEAS is experimenting with e-commerce here for that very reason.
What is trending in the environmentally friendly gift department this year?
Below are three growing trends you can consider if you are thinking outside the realm of a donation in someone’s name. All can have a direct impact on the environment while still giving you the opportunity to wrap a bow on something thoughtful.
- Items made out of ocean plastic. A little harder to nail down if you are shopping locally but these items are becoming more and more popular.
- Reusable everything. Bottles, straws, bags, lunch containers. In fact, SEVENSEAS Media is selling plenty of these in our online store.
- DIY or locally purchased consumables. Handmade soaps, jarred sauces and jams, potted plants, crafts, wreaths.
Gifts like these often receive the “Why didn’t I think of that?!” reaction. It’s great to put your money where your mouth is.
Make a change that can transition to a New Year’s resolution everyone can get behind.
Propose to your office that in lieu of gift giving everyone participates in a collection to a charity. Are you a school teacher? Suggest the same from parents so you avoid a drawer full of $5 gifts from Target. Know any parents? They can do the same at kids’ birthday parties.
Your DIY gift baskets can inspire people to shop locally and seasonally throughout the year. Adding some thoughtfulness to your purchasing power can have a huge effect on the environment and local economy.
Use this gift giving opportunity to introduce others to cool products that can eliminate waste in their daily life. From portable stainless steel cutlery, to metallic reusable straws, to trendy lunch containers, there are plenty of smart ideas.
SEVENSEAS Media thanks you
We would like to thank all our readers and donors for your continued support. Without your generosity SEVENSEAS Media would not be able to continue publishing the work of so many conservation partners and provide capacity building to organizations across the globe, regardless of their size or budget. It is our aim to continue to connect individuals within, and outside of, the marine conservation and eco-travel community while bringing you news, science, jobs, art, and adventure. To make a donation to SEVENSEAS Media in your name or someone else’s please go here. If you would like me to send a personalized thank you note via email or traditional post, for a gift of any size, please include that information in the comments of your donation or email me at email@example.com
Thank you and happy holidays!
Giacomo Abrusci, Executive Director