This year, you will not find a typical gift guide on the blog.
The end of the year can be a stressful period, especially for those of us who are on a budget.
Black Friday is a great opportunity to buy long-coveted and usually pricey items at a bargain, but not everyone has the time or courage to shop during this time of madness, IRL or online.
Also, the FOMO is real. My guts are wrenching as I'm typing this. The race to the best bargain, shopping under pressure, are very triggering for me.
I tried my best to avoid temptations as much as possible last week. I reminded myself not to check certain websites, unfollowed as many brands and influencers on social media as proactive measures but still felt a little tinge when an ad or promotion would still seep through my filters.
I'm a recovering shopaholic on a budget. The struggle is real.
But I have to admit that I feel very lucky. Being far away from my home country, the pressure to give gifts is very low. The only people whom I usually give gifts to are my parents and my sweetheart.
And the formula is most of the time pretty simple. Octave and I decide on a budget and get a gift (or gifts) of that amount to each other. This year, I'm toying with the idea of gifting each other experiences rather than material presents, and we might just decide to treat ourselves to a common experience, like a couples massage or a 2-night getaway.
As for my parents, since they live so far away from me, I usually wait until my next visit, or opt for gifts that keep on giving. Last year, I knew they would be in the process of selling and buying a house, so I subscribed them to interior design magazines for inspiration.
I've been very inspired by this Ethical Hierarchy of Gift Purchasing.
There are so many ways to give ethical and sustainable gifts no matter what your budget is this holiday season and I'm very happy to share some of them.
1. Give Your Time
Spending quality time with loved ones is priceless.
I love this idea because no matter what your budget is, you have the possibility to give someone a very meaningful gift.
You can craft a cute voucher for one of the following time-sharing gifts and put it under the tree:
- Teach a skill
I wish I had had more time to learn certain skills from my grandma. She taught me the basics of knitting and how to make mayonnaise. I cherish those moments spent with her and hope to pass the knowledge to those around me (though I have to admit I'm a little rusted).
Teach a loved one something useful, like, how to mend a sock, something fun like how to dye with shibori or something edible like how to make chia pudding.
Offer to show up at someone's house and cook for them. No strings attached, just a random act of kindness, redeemable any time before the next holiday.
Your exhausted parent friends will love you for gifting them the time to go on a date, or just take a long bath... alone!
2. Give Memories
Memories last a lifetime and a great way to show your loved ones how much thought you've put into finding a gift they'll love and appreciate.
Here are a couple experience-based gift ideas:
Very high on my wishlist
More on that coming up next week on the blog
Skipping the hassle of planning the thing is already a very big gift you can give someone!
And an extra voucher for pop-corn
Because it's a gift that keeps on giving. I love subscriptions! And may or may not have gifted myself one last year.
Make a bunch of bath ritual kits, junk mail notebooks, scented candles, cookies.
4. Buy Second Hand
A gift isn't less valuable if it's been purchased second hand, though you might want to put a little more effort on packaging as some tend to stigmatize preloved gifts.
Check out my favorite Portland Vintage Stores for inspiration (they sell online too), keep an eye on Criaglist, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, etc for the perfect gift.
If you feel like buying something new is the right choice for you, by all means, do it!
Ethical means different things to different people. Whether it's shopping local, supporting a mission-driven brand or buying something that will last a lifetime, make sure that the purchase will make you and the receiver happy.
Check out my Favorite Conscious Brands for Women for a little inspiration or my ethical gift guide.
You can also alway visit my Shop.
Let me know in the comments below whether you make "unconventional" gifts.