Gift giving is an inherent and joyful part of our culture. Renowned for the diversity and abundance of our festivities, giving gifts is a familiar pursuit for us Indians. But when we look past the generosity and love, gifting can often be a highly wasteful endeavor, driven by consumerist practices that can be very harmful to the environment. However, there is no reason to be disheartened, as we're here to guide you through a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to showering your friends and family with love. A little introspection goes a long way.
Do your research and choose eco-friendly gifts
Nature-based gifts always feel thoughtful and have a lasting positive impact on the environment. Potted plants, organic seeds and composting kits are a great place to start. You can also look for brands that sell second-hand and upcycled items or sustainable lifestyle brands that are cropping up all over the country for a variety of choices – from apparel to jewelry to furniture, we think you'll find it all. If you already have something in mind, such as a set of lotion and shower gel, look for sustainable brands that sell such items. Look for gifts that are useful, durable and meaningful to the receiver.
Be mindful of plastic packaging
It is no secret that plastic pollution is a rampant problem plaguing the planet. The plastic used in packaging is very durable and very rarely recycled. Most of it ends up polluting the planet for centuries.
When buying gifts for your loved ones, look at options that are free of plastic packaging. Shopping locally and directly from stores instead of online is a great way of avoiding plastic-packaged goods. If you're buying online, explore different brands – you'll find quite a few dedicated to sustainable practices, such as our Clan Earth. In fact, we go a step beyond and make our packages from recycled materials that can be composted at home.
Gift your time
In times like ours when it seems like all there is to life is this endless cycle of hustle, getting to spend time with someone you love is a precious, unparalleled feeling. If you can afford to, take a day (or a few) off from work and spend time with your friends and family. Do fun activities or just stay in and bask in nostalgic throwbacks or a journey through the old family albums. Offer up your services to the older folks — help them out at home, spend some time helping them garden or walk their dogs. They will probably appreciate it more than you can imagine.
Change your decorative wrapping habits
Not only should we aim for minimizing the presence of plastic in our gifts and their packaging, but we should also be mindful of what we use to make them presentable. Wrapping our eco-friendly gifts in glittery plastic-based wrapping papers, bows and ribbons isn't all that green, right? They might look wonderful, but they usually go into the bin (and eventually, landfills or incinerators) after providing only a fleeting moment of joy for your loved ones. Is the environmental impact really worth it?
Instead of wrapping paper, try out sustainable alternatives, such as wrapping your present in newspaper or colorful recycled paper packaging. Repurpose old tins, boxes or baskets and decorate them for a more personalized touch. You could also look at cloth wraps and use jute ribbons instead of plastic tape. Or you could skip the wrapping altogether. It's the love that counts!
Gift experiences they want
Find gifts that aren't necessarily materialistic but your loved ones will adore. Have a sibling who loves cooking? Sign them up for an online cooking class. Have a budding calligraphy enthusiast friend? Gift them a calligraphy workshop. Ask your friends and family what they love and find out what kind of experiences you can gift them. This can include gift cards or memberships to organizations that would feed their hobbies — be it art, crafts, music, cooking, sports, there's something out there for everyone.
DIY: Nothing is more charming than homemade gifts
Homemade gifts are always a heartfelt way to make someone's day, and you have abundant options to choose from. If knitting or crocheting is your thing, a handmade clothing item or tote bag can work wonders. Edible gifts are also a fantastic choice. Who wouldn't appreciate a jar of homemade pickle or some decadent baked goods? If you're savvy with crafts, keep your supplies sustainable and get creative!
Support small businessesWhen you’re looking up gifts, instead of going straight to the usual big shopping chains, look at alternatives made by small businesses, locally or online. Chances are, these shops adhere to much more sustainable business practices and support local artisans, use environmentally friendly methods and materials for production, and are overall selling much more unique and ethically made products. Small businesses contribute to the economy and give back to the community, create jobs and leave a significantly smaller carbon footprint. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?
Clan Earth has a wide range of eco-sustainable products which can make great gifts. They are functional, durable, completely animal cruelty-free and plant-based. Check out our range of carry products and lifestyle products.