Christmas like never before: 10 ideas of ethical gifts

Christmas is coming!

I love this celebration and this time of the year because they are synonymous with enjoying good family time, eating yummy food, and watching the snow fall from my new local headquarter: the couch!

What I don’t like about it is the frenzy around buying goods in crowded malls and this sense of obligation to comply that chubby Santa Claus and jingle bells instill in our spirits as early as November.

Ever thought of doing things differently?

This year I really want to. I am mostly going to make stuffs, buy immaterial experiences and a title of Lord of the Highlands to my elder bro’ (who doesn’t read my blog, don’t panic). I gathered 10 ideas of gifts that are eco-ok and support local, sustainable brands. These ideas are for all budgets and could save us sweaty marathons at the mall. Curious?

Zero Waste Gifts

#1. A S’well bottle:

A perfect functional gift that could convince someone to stop buying water in plastic bottles. On top of having a very beautiful design, these bottles are also highly efficient at keeping liquids cold (24 hours) or hot (12 hours). They come in different sizes (260, 500 and 750 mL) for different needs. Pick your own!

#2. A reusable coffee mug:

The JOCO cup is also a cool takeaway coffee cup that easily fits in a purse. Similarly, travel mugs could divert tons of non-recyclable coffee cups from the landfill. And most coffee chains give a discount if you bring your cup! Small incentive, big impact.

#3. A basket of natural, local and ‘nude’ cosmetics:

Pick a couple of packaging-free products from Haute Goat, Captain Jamie, and Sudsatorium. It is not the first time I mention these brands because I really appreciate the quality of their products and the passion of their founders (that I all met and discussed with). They are all Ontario-based and use natural ingredients only.


#4. A workshop with Kathrin Brunner:

Kathrin is the founder of For the love of body. I can’t stress enough how much I love Kathrin’s workshops. They are perfect occasions to learn a useful skill to live a healthier life.  Kathrin, a holistic nutritionist,  teaches people how to brew kombucha, ferment foods, create natural cosmetics, make soap, forage and many other things. Offering a workshop to a close one (and yourself) is the guarantee of a nice moment spent together, and something to eagerly look forward to.

#5. A worskhop at STEAMLabs:

Be ready to make anything at STEAMLabs: jewellery! laser cut! 3D print! The place is a big maker lab that offers workshops all year round. Such an awesome thing to gift to someone who is into DIY! Personally, the “Make a [wooden] wine box”  workshop is the one that I’d love to attend. Take a look at their gift cards.

Talking about experience, I learned that 3 out of 4 millennials today would rather spend money on experience or event than things. (NOwnership, No Problem: Why Millennials Value Experiences Over Owning Things)

Subscriptions to better living

#6. A subscription to Toronto tool library:

Ever wondered what was the point of buying a driller or a camping tent that you are going to use on average 0.4 times a year? Me too. To answer this nonsense, Toronto tool library created a “library of things” where people can borrow tools, equipment, games and a quantity of other things with an annual membership. A good idea for young parents, sport and outdoor addicts and DIY lovers.

#7. A subscription to healthy eating:

I recently tried Fresh City Farm and I am very happy with it so far. Their products, organic and grown locally, are delivered weekly to your door or you can choose to pick your bag at one of their pickup locations. They propose a selection of bags (veggies, fruit, a mix of both, local only…) that the client can then customize, adding products from local producers (eggs, bread, honey..).

What about offering a one-month or two-month subscription to someone who wants to eat more organic food? These bags are also a nice way to avoid some trips to the grocery store. I haven’t tried other options in Toronto but this article is comprehensive.

Supporting local artists

#8. A piece of art from Harbourfront Centre’s Artists in residence:

If you have never been there, go! It is a unique place where you can see artists in action (Textiles, Glass, Ceramics, Metal, Design), blowing glass, sewing or making ceramics. The boutique is right next to their studios and you can purchase ‘extra-local’ gifts from these artists. The products, from ceramics to wooden toys and jewelry, are unique and very beautiful.

The gift of creativity

This last section is for the artist sleeping inside you. I am sharing two ideas that I have been dreaming of doing for a long time.

#9. A home-made calendar of the fruit and veggies:

I have seen many calendars about the seasonal fruit and veggies, and I find them very useful. If you have any drawing, collage or photography talent, what about creating your own calendar as a gift?

#10. Coupons

I wish I did, but I did not invent this idea. In this time of the year, I read more and more about the ideas of gifting coupons for immaterial and personalized experiences and I find them very exciting! More than anything, they are an excuse to book quality time with someone you care about.

-A ritual against winter depression (eg: watching a Disney movie every Sunday afternoon till the last snow melts)

-A morning ice-skating followed by a hot chocolate at your favourite café

-A 30 minute massage at home

-An afternoon colouring while catching up on each other’s lives

-An afternoon making canned veggies and fermenting things

I hope this short selection was inspiring! Happy and generous Christmas to you!

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French girl living in Toronto, spending most of my time exploring, cooking, reading and outdoors.. I decided to gather my thoughts in this blog in 2016. Hope you enjoy it!,

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