5 Strategies for Ethical Gift Giving

It’s the holidays, and along with the holidays comes presents. Gift giving and generosity are wonderful. Giving gifts is an exciting and special way to show love and affection. However there can also be pressure to find the “perfect” gift or keep up with the Joneses or the financial stress of these additional purchases. Then throw in the ethical implication of the products you are buying. I think it is important to be mindful especially at this time of year when we have a tendency to get carried away. Think about your personal values and work towards having those coincide with gifts you buy.  Here are five strategies for ethical gift giving to consider and the benefits of each.


1. Support Local Business

-supports the local economy
-creates and keeps jobs in the neighbourhood
-promotes competition and diversity for small businesses
-often less transportation necessary for products
-items “Made in China” are produced so cheaply in part by turning a blind eye in regard to the environment and human rights

2. Experiences in Place of Stuff

-psychology research supports the theory that experiences actually make us happier than stuff
-give gifts that have an experiential aspect such as treating a friend to coffee and a goody and hang out at the coffee shop
-collaborate on an open house, potluck, or progressive dinner
-plan/pay for an outing together such as snowboarding, a play, skating, or a concert

3. Buy Used, Recycyled, or Repurposed

-keeps valuable goods in circulation and out of landfills
-give vintage or even antique items or clothing to those with that interest
-good condition, high quality items can be found (with a little effort) at thrift shops, consignment stores, and garage sales

4. Buy Handmade or Make It Yourself

-gifts are crafted with love and talent
-incredibly unique and often customizable
-supports the maker directly
-can be found at local art shows, craft fairs, Christmas markets, or websites such as Etsy
-there are pages and pages of homemade gift tutorials all over the internet

5. Give Gift Cards

-reduces amount of shipping required
-recipient purchases something they will use (as opposed to the giver possibly giving an unwanted and then wasted gift)
-can still be thoughtful through the choice of store, restaurant, etc
-another type of gift card can be to donate to a charity or organization in the recipient’s honour

For more specific gift ideas, check out my Ethical Gift Guides: for Women for Under $50, for Men for Under $50, and for Kids for Under $30.

What is your gift giving strategy?