GIVE DON'T TAKE
CHECKLIST FOR A MORE GENTLE HOLIDAY SEASON
It is important to spend time with our loved ones during the darkest days of the year. The perfect gift also gives its makers a fair compensation and respects the environment. Together with professionals of different fields we comprised a lifestyle guide providing tips for presents as well as a sustainable holiday dinner spread. With these notes in mind, you’ll be gentle to yourself and your loved ones, and also the makers and the environment.
The fast-paced consumption of the holidays
Christmas and the holidays are known to be a time of giving and gathering with those dearest to you. We rarely consider the impact our celebratory actions together make up. The Finnish Christmas in numbers looks like this:
7M Christmas hams
1,5M Christmas trees
100M € in holiday flowers
1M gifts shipped
12% of total yearly income per household
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY WITH MATERIAL GIFTS
The perfect gift item is something the receiver truly needs, so boldly ask for real wishes before buying. Another point is the consideration of the country of manufacture, materials and functionality, the ecological burden and ethical issues. These answers aren’t always easy to come by, but asking the right questions is well worth it. From the response, you can rather easily determine how deeply embedded the values are to the core of the business at hand. If a company fails to be open in their actions, vote with your wallet. There are also those brands and companies that want to share their manufacturing processes and the true origin of their products.
“If the item at hand is on the pricier side, ask others to chip into the costs. One truly wished item is more than a pile of unwanted presents.”
- Amanda Rejström, Spark Sustainability -
A material present can also be given to those in need. If you are unsure of what your loved one would want or need, you can guide the gift to bring holiday joy to others as well as the receiver of the gift through charity. For example Venner provides a holiday spread with recipes to a disadvantaged Finnish family. You can also avoid buying new items by finding your gift as recycled. You can make a unique discovery from a second hand shop, and in this way give new life to an abandoned treasure.
“Opt for recycled! If you know you are buying an item for a need, check if you could find it as used. You can also adopt this custom for the whole family; only recycled gift on the holidays.”
- Noora Hautakangas, Relove -
“This Christmas I want to gift courses and services, in other words, more time to spend together or just saving time. To those who don’t want presents, I will write a poem.”
- Anna Kesti, Sugar Helsinki -
AN IMMATERIAL GIFT IS AN EXPERIENCE
An environmentally gentle immaterial gift is more meaningful to its receiver than a knick-knack packed in cheerful holiday gift wrap. The best case is that this type of gift is also more personal than any item. An immaterial present is the better choice, especially when you are not sure which item to get or whether it would be useful to the person you’re gifting.
An immaterial gift usually requires a tad more from the giver, as you should consider the person’s preferences, personality and needs. It can be something, that the receiver could not themselves attain. These types of gifts can provide a true experience or aid in personal growth, for example in the form of a course or cultural event.
“Massage is a gift that rarely goes wrong. Intimacy, relaxation and a joyful mind is what you pass on with this present. The effects can be seen in the human mind in addition to the instant sense of relaxation.”
- Meeri Koutaniemi, photojournalist -
A climate-friendly holiday dinner
“I’ve once in my life cooked an entirely vegan holiday-time spread, and it was the most delicious Christmas dinner I’ve ever had!”
- Noora Shingler, Kemikaalicocktail -
"Freeze the extra food you couldn’t find use for during the holidays. Buy as much as you can without excess packaging by reusing for example paper or canvas bags and avoid anything single-packed. Choose packaging that is 100% recyclable.”
- Otso Sillanaukee, Nollahukka -
“I recommend critical questioning in a world, where the social and environmental responsibility of companies seems to work more as a random tool of marketing than an internally programmed way of acting.”
- Jukka Peltola, Goodio -
“Transparency of production is an important notion, if you’re looking for a sustainably produced gift. I want my choice to also be a gift to those behind the item, both the people and nature.”