Culture, traditions, family, friends, meals, gifting, and shared experiences are all common themes during the holidays. To all of us, holidays have a symbolic significance. For some people, the holidays are the most enjoyable time of the year. Associating the holidays with feelings of excitement, cheerfulness, and wonderful memories of previous holidays. Others find that the holidays fail to match up to the hype, falling well short of that spotlight moment. Perhaps the dissatisfaction stems from how everything has evolved and how different the holidays are now compared to the good old days.
What are your feelings about the holidays?
The source of gratification and contentment is determined by our actions, thoughts, and attitudes, like most things in life. So, how can we make this holiday the most glorious time of the year while upholding conscientious conduct?
Let's look at some ways we can make this year more sustainable, ethical, and memorable— a holiday celebration that helps make a difference.
- Create your own Customs & Traditions
People frequently feel driven to continue family holiday traditions long after no one is truly enjoying it. Don't keep them continuing just for the sake of it. Instead, why not start new traditions? Make one that has a greater significance for you and the planet at the same time. Got a specific charity organization or an individual you always thought of helping but couldn’t fulfill? Do it— make striving for a good cause part of your new holiday traditions. Both you and the receiver can feel good, motivated, and blessed.
Related: List of Ethical Gift Ideas
Most of us believe that to be truly happy is to have all our problems removed, or perhaps a specific situation to change. The people in our lives may be feeling the same way, particularly if they have experienced bereavement in the last year. According to studies, the quickest way to happiness is to be appreciative of what we already have rather than change our life or try to acquire what we don’t have. You can maintain a diary to jot down the little things for which you are sincerely grateful— perhaps the blessing of getting to enjoy a delicious meal? About 811 million people go hungry in the world daily. If we think about the numbers, it truly takes us home, leaving us feeling more grateful for the littlest of things that we sometimes take for granted.
- Switch things Up
Things are no longer the same— unfortunately, both the good and the bad have changed. Ethical consumerism is marching steadfast, increasingly being included in production and consumption. It is becoming a significant consideration for consumers to choose where they invest their dollars. Meanwhile, climate change is also worsening rapidly, and some of the changes have already occurred such as continuous rising sea levels. So, don't get too caught up in what the holidays should be like (idealized hallmark card fantasy), how you should feel or even how it used to be. But of course, while you focus on the shift to a clean holiday, you also don't want to stress too much about the festive mood. You can enjoy the season as it comes, with the same spirit and joy, but more ethically and sustainably.
Seek out the simple pleasures that each day has to offer.
- Gift-Free Holiday, Give From Your Heart
If you want to do things differently this year, maybe try the giving from the heart approach? The holiday season can be hectic, taxing, and utterly expensive. Try simplifying things this year by writing a letter to a loved one instead of gifting. Or, giving a genuine compliment to a passerby. These small acts of kindness are only small in theory, in reality, channeling your love and compassion towards others swells the heart with true happiness. Plus, you will be helping in preventing Christmas waste. Americans generate, weekly, about 30 pounds of trash during the winter festivities. You are better off not adding to the garbage pile!
- Discover Creative Ways to Honor Your Lost Ones
Holidays may bring back memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. Do something this year to honor their memory rather than just being melancholy. Plant a tree in their memory, donate to their favorite charity, volunteer, advocate for a cause that was important to your loved one or for a cause related to your loved one’s death. Spend the money you would have spent on your loved one's Christmas gifts on something helping someone — make a difference in the honor of someone who left too soon. Make them proud!
- Consider Homemade Presents
While the gift-free approach is cleaner for the planet, we understand some people have significant connections to physical gifts. If you’re one of them, why not give a personalized, handcrafted present instead? Making a gift for someone entails coming up with something remarkable and one-of-a-kind. You are investing a piece of yourself in the present— equaling the pleasure of the receiver’s delight upon receiving the gift. Plus, handmade gifts mean you will be repurposing what you already have (mostly), leaving lesser negative ethical effects as compared to supermarket gifts. Try knitting a lovely winter scarf, make a painting, write a poem, or bake some nice warm cookies— these are just a few of the endless, sustainable, wrap-free gift possibilities!
Still looking for Ethical Gifts for your eco-conscious loved ones? Try our sustainable duffel bag for the minimalist traveler in the family, our organic backpacks for the student you know, our eco-friendly toiletry bags for the organizer, or our organic cotton clothing for everyone in your list. All of our products are made with people and the planet in mind, they are GOTS and Fairtrade Certified, Carbon Neutral and Give back!