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Five top tips for gifting consciously this holiday season

As we head into November and a second national lockdown, it’s a great time to beat the rush and start choosing holiday gifts for your loved ones. Here are ELM RD.’s top tips for mindful gifting – minimising the environmental impact of your presents and ensuring your recipients love them.

We’ve all been there: dashing to find the perfect holiday gift at the last minute, scrambling among crowds of shoppers and hoping we’ve made the right choice. But the events of this year have given a much-needed reminder to many of us – that there is value in slowing down, planning ahead and practising gratitude.

Even pre-pandemic, the trend towards more conscious and mindful gifting was growing. Three-quarters of us would prefer to spend money on an experience than an item, one 2019 study found. More than two-thirds of us think the amount of waste generated at Christmas is unacceptable, another concluded. Yet half of us receive at least one unwanted gift every winter.

By steering clear of the temptation to purchase an abundance of ‘stuff’ made with little to no concern for the environment at this time of year, favouring more mindful decisions, we can not only reduce our environmental footprint but the pressure on ourselves and on those receiving our gifts. It’s been proven that possessions take up mental space as well as physical.

Here are our top tips for gifting more consciously in 2020

1. Shop with small businesses

There are a wealth of reasons why, from the fact that small businesses typically have a smaller environmental footprint, to the personal connection small business owners feel to their customers. Items from small businesses often come with a beautiful backstory, making the recipient more likely to treasure them, also. And let’s not forget that following this step lowers the risk of your recipient receiving two of the same thing…

2. Streamline your gifting

Do you really need to get several presents for your loved one, or would a single, more thoughtful gift have the same effect? If you have a large friend group, would a ‘secret Santa’ arrangement be kinder to your wallets and to the planet than all gifting to each other?

There’s a reason the phrase ‘less is more’ is so popular.

3. Be mindful with packaging

A lot of big retailers are removing plastic from their festive cards and wrapping paper, which is fantastic. But you can’t go wrong with brown paper wrap or reusable fabric wrapping, decorated with recyclable inks or accessorised with dried fruits, mistletoe or holly. And, if you already have a lot of gift bags or wrapping paper from previous years, don’t be afraid to reuse and repurpose them each year.

4. Think circular

When choosing a gift, consider how long your loved one is likely to use it for; whether it can be replaced, repaired or customised; and whether the packaging could be repurposed or recycled. Households produce 30% more rubbish in December than at other times of year – so make sure your gifts don’t end up in that waste mountain.

5. Or simply give the gift of time

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would not appreciate the offer of a home-cooked meal, or getting their kids picked up, or simply some quality time with a friend or family member they’ve not seen in a while. You can definitely show that you care without buying piles of expensive things.

Our range of home fragrance can make wonderful conscious gifts because…

1. They provide aromatherapy benefits for mind and body

ELM RD. only uses natural essential oils, to help our community reap the full extent of the positive benefits of home fragrance. While synthetic fragrance oils can cause headaches and other unpleasant side effects, natural essential oils have a positive impact on the limbic system – the part of your brain which processes memories and emotions. The limbic system also plays a role in regulating heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels and hormone balance.

Those who regularly make time for aromatherapy report a broad spectrum of benefits. You can read our previous journal post on the difference between synthetic and natural home fragrance to find out more.

2. They can help your loved one build a ritual to relax or recharge

For all our daydreams about snow-covered mountains, crisp walks and cosy evenings in front of the fire, the reality is that winter can be a stressful and draining time. Whether due to the pressure of preparing and budgeting for festivities or to less sunshine, many of us find ourselves losing motivation at this time of year – and, after spending more time at home all year, the thought of being stuck indoors over winter may seem daunting.

Of course, a candle will not solve the winter blues in and of itself. But home fragrance can be a powerful tool for building me-time rituals that will make the season more bearable. Whether your loved ones are looking for a morning ritual that will invigorate them in preparation for a long day, or a night-time ritual to reduce stress and improve sleep, our previous journal entry on incorporating home fragrance and mindfulness into daily routines will help you make the right match.

3. They make any house homely

This point explains itself – after all, there is a reason that home fragrance is often given as a housewarming gift! As we spend more time at home, the importance of creating a space that fits us only grows.

Moreover, we have created a brand new section where you can find all our gift ideas in one place – so you’re bound to find something your loved one will appreciate, whether they’re new to natural home fragrance or are a long-time devotee.

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