This holiday season promises to be different than any we've had before. We've found new ways to connect, rediscovered our own neighbourhoods, and adapted in ways that emphasized community care. With that in mind, we've been thinking about how the gifts we give can reflect the best parts of these changes. We want the gifts we give to be loved by the recipient—but we are also aware of the impact they have on people, on communities, and on the planet. This year, we are using these five ideas to guide our gift giving. We hope you find them inspiring!
1. Shop Local
Products made close to home have a positive impact on so many levels. Shopping locally supports neighbourhood artists and workers and keeps their unique and carefully crafted creations available. It also supports the local economy and—best of all—lower the environmental footprint of your purchases.
We Love: Our entire line of paper products, including the Toronto Greetings Monarch Card (pictured above), are designed and printed in Toronto; Crywolf apparel screenprinted by hand in Toronto; Jen of Flowers in the Ointment makes her lip balms and hand salves in East York, with flowers grown right in her own garden.
2. Minimal Packaging
Cutting down in this one small area can have a big impact. We were surprised to learn that packaging materials make up more than 30 percent of most landfills. We are trying to minimize packaging, both as makers and as buyers. With one change, we are reducing litter, preserving raw materials, and even using less energy!
3. Give Back
Community organizations and charities are more needed than ever, but they struggle in hard times too. We are excited this holiday season to support businesses that give back. And local businesses support local charities, so this works well with our commitment to shop local!
As a family with kids, we've really started to think about the lifecycle of the products we make and buy. Are the products made from recycled materials? Are any new materials renewable? Are they produced in an eco-conscious way? Can the products themselves be recycled or reused?
5. Quality First
Sustainability, to us, means buying well made items. Not only are they nicer, they also last longer, offer better quality craftwork, and often support a good wage for local workers. These items can become heirlooms, used by more than one generation of a family!
By following these five guidelines, we are hoping to create a positive end to this unusual year. Our celebrations may be smaller, but we're using that as an opportunity to make them more responsible. We are finding our joy in being able to give gifts and give back.