Christmas, Boxing Day, and Sustainable Shopping 

Small & Local Blog Christmas Gifts and Sustainable Shopping featured image

Sustainable Boxing Day shopping can mean one big thing—more stuff. Look, I know Christmas at its core is about the spirit of it all, but come on. Gift getting, gift giving, who doesn’t love it? And as Christmas ever encroaches and boxing day sales loom, I’ve been giving more and more thought to the newest crusade— The War on Stuff.  

Sustainable boxing day shopping can be stressful. Breath with some wholesome candles and relaxed vibes.
Christmas can be a headache. Don’t forget to just breath and take the season in. It’s meant to be enjoyed, not fussed over.

What do I mean by a War on Stuff? Well, I, a self-proclaimed buy-local and sustainable shopper have started reading more and more on the mix between minimalism and sustainability. To nobody’s surprise, the two are easily connected. A great blog by the Green Reconnection put it best;

Both concepts have a lot in common. Sustainability requires you to buy less. Whereas the minimalist lifestyle inspires you to buy less. Both of these lifestyles result in you reducing the amount of stuff you buy. Even if it’s for different reasons. But this key idea of not buying stuff results in a lot of benefits.” 

Upon first reading this I thought about how great the two went together. For me, having less and being inspired to be more green sounded awesome. But what I want isn’t exactly what Saint Nick wants. Love the guy, but he is far from a minimalist.

So I landed with a question. How can I:

  1. Shop for local items
  2. Stay sustainable and minimalist
  3. Take advantage of Boxing Day sales and 
  4. And get some kick-ass Christmas gifts this year?

The Answer?  

Based on extensive and comprehensive research, Christmas shopping for the sustainable minimalist is based in three factors: 

  1. Time (how long a thing will be loved/enjoyed before it is tossed)
  2. Meaning (how well something connects to a person’s identity, values, work, hobbies, etc.)
  3. Sustainability (how green was this item created and or does the item push for greener actions once it is obtained)

If an item checks all three boxes? Bingo. You got an item perfect for Christmas. 

“Okay, Oliver…” Easier said than Done. 

You’re damn right. I know more than anybody how hard the Christmas season can be. I mean, here is my Christmas list this year…

  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Brother
  • Sister
  • White Elephant 1
  • White Elephant 2
  • Sister’s Boyfriend (I know… But he’s getting me something and I don’t want to be the jerk this year…)
  • Girlfriend
  • Girlfriend’s mom
  • The DOG
  • The toy drive at my gym

The list goes on. It doesn’t end. Everyone might as well leave me cookies I am dropping off so many presents. 

How am I supposed to get a time-exceeding, meaningful, sustainable gift for EVERYONE? God, even as I am writing this my blood pressure is rising. Don’t get me wrong, trying to be a good, coal-less sustainable, buy-local, minimalist shopper is not only a mouthful but a challenge. 

So let me help both of us out and brainstorm some ideas: 

Make Something! 

Soap in many colors and verities cut individually for buy-local shoppers.
Making soap is a great Christmas idea – and is super fun too. From adding new colors and scents… it can make not only a great gift but an awesome activity too.

Not all of us goodie-goodie, buy-local, sustainable minimalist shoppers are creative too. But, if you are, making a strong effort to make something for someone this Christmas can be super meaningful and definitely sustainable. It checks all the boxes! Plus, there are loads of local producers who can help you with it. For example, Nerds with Needles is a great local yarn/craft provider that can get you started on an early Christmas present. 

Here are a few home-made ideas just in case: 

  1. Hand-made memory book/scrapbook
  2. Home-made bottles of egg nog
  3. Soap! Making your own soap is as hard as making cookies. Here is a recipe for what you can do; 
  4. And in the same vein… candles! Here’s another resource for making candles on your own

If You Can’t Make, Build

I don’t know about you but it doesn’t matter how creative I get, I am not building an Xbox. Or an iPhone. Or a Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night Lego set. Even though it is really cool… So if you can’t make the gifts, make the décor! Tree toppers, decorations, cookies, the list goes on. You can even make a tradition out of it —every year everyone designs and builds one ornament. If you have kids, by the time they leave the nest they have years worth of home-made ornaments for wherever they end up! 

Sustainable Boxing Day Sales 

And if not for Christmas, get out there on Boxing Day. But just make sure to take advantage of the local deals. Many small local businesses will have boxing day sales on the ready for you to snag post-Christmas.

And, as we know buying local is one of the most sustainable purchases you can make, here is a link to some of our other blogs on gift-giving ideas for some local ideas:

Good Luck!

Buying for Christmas isn’t easy. Even harder when taking in your values and adding them to the fray. But by sticking to your own values, you can come across not only some fun activities. And remember, not all goals are meant to be fully completed. Gift-giving will always have some misses.

It would be a Christmas miracle if everyone hit the nail on the head AND was sustainable for all their gifts. So remember to cut yourself some slack, try your best, and enjoy the season while it’s here.

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