A call for conscious giving

Becca Koch , Supervising Web Editor

I love the holidays. My favorite time of year is from Thanksgiving to December 24. Picking out gifts for family and friends is one of my favorite things to do. Recently though, I have become aware of how often consumer goods are heavily marketed, only to end up used a few times. Americans love stuff and the holidays exacerbate this. Buying things like gifts is unavoidable in most cases and I don’t think we should stop buying and giving gifts, we just need to change how we do so. This holiday season I am encouraging you to do good with what you buy. This isn’t me trying to shame anyone for their holiday shopping habits, but offer suggestions on how your holiday shopping can benefit more than just the recipient.

What you buy is really the gift itself. So take the time to think about what type of gift you are buying. A little additional effort to search for presents the recipient will genuinely use makes the gift’s impact much larger. Additionally, it’s better for the planet. My grandma has a saying “if something’s on sale, then somethings wrong with it”. While this certainly does not apply to every sale, it does make me stop and think when I am in a store. Am I buying something because it is on sale or am I buying it because I genuinely need it? I have been totally guilty of getting caught up in marketing and ending up with a ridiculous amount of bath and body works soaps and other such things. Was it nice at the moment? Yes. But I never got anything more than it. It was a purchase I made, but was really unnecessary.

One of my favorite ways to consciously give is through companies that give back with a purchase. There are plenty that offer incentives or donate a portion of profits back to charities. Finding one that gives back to a cause the recipient of the gift cares about can make a gift so much more impactful. One of my favorite ways is by shopping local or other small businesses. Don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of Amazon and Walmart, but there are thousands of local businesses selling the same products at a similar level. Instead of multi billion dollar corporations getting billions of dollars, this money goes into the pockets of our neighbors. Plus, their products are often handmade, creating truly special gifts.

Gift-giving is one of the cornerstones of the holidays, and consciously changing how we buy gifts will help us to be more aware of who we support in our communities.