Christmas gifts – a bit more sustainable way

So again the fuzzy cozy feeling might be slowly sneaking up on you, as Christmas Eve is slowly approaching. We have just got our first snowfall in my area of southern Sweden – and it has already melted away. Even if it didn’t last, I love how the light snow really brightens up the dark short days of the Northern hemisphere. Adding a few advent lamps and candle lights the darkness becomes bearable. With a touch of mulled wine (called glögg in Sweden), and gingerbread cookies – this time of year can be really pleasant and relaxing in the glow of candle lights.

Maybe you’re the person that has already planned for your Christmas gifts since last years festivities. Or maybe you’re more like myself not really realizing that its celebration time until a few weeks before Santa’s supposed to arrive. Lately my family is not buying heaps of gifts but rather focusing on spending time together, and putting a tiny bit of effort into a small gift game. A dice and a timer gets the sleepiest aunt competitive – every single year.

Mindful gifting is a process of finding the best suitable gift.

Give away a happening or event. Get concert tickets for your dad, a day at the local spa, or a meetup with your friend for a picknic dinner at the seaside. Not buying a gadget and focusing on creating memories together is a win win for everyone invited.

Food is a given go-to type of gift for me. If you get a posh brand of salt, snacks or cookies it can become a proper treat for the receiver. Usually if you spend an extra buck or two they come with a decorative label. Pretty as they are without a need to add a lot of boxes, so be mindful to consider unnecessary cardboard packaging. If you’re a master in the kitchen make a jam, curd or breadsticks to wow the crowds even more.

However if you really want to give something to your loved once or friends, below you can find some ideas for a nice gift that doesn’t necessary involves shopping around. I’ve added a few brands at the bottom that work with sustainability in different ways, if someone really NEEDS that special purchased gift.

Make the gift memorable and really personal, rather than something on top of the commercial banners. If you feel creative you can create your own gift wrapping from scrap materials at home, use an old magazine, wallpaper or the traditional Japanese textile cloth for extra style. This technique is called Furoshiki, there are so many ways to use a piece of cloth or a scarf to make your gift even more precious.

Image from Art Katsura

Buy second hand – anything purchased second hand has less impact on the environment than a newly produced product. It’s usually cheaper, often more uniqueness and can be equally appreciated as it becomes more of a hand picked item that you might have spent time on finding.

Look into local smaller producers – Usually when you look att smaller producer they keep their suppliers close to home including materials and workforce often available around the corner. Smaller businesses also loves when someone is interested in buying from them as you can build a relationship. But make sure not to bargain – appreciate the work and effort put into a smaller brand. The owners are often the designer, producer, social media manager and logistical department in one or a few persons. Like myself for instance – a one woman business using scrap materials for my design.

Gifts that can last a lifetime

Go big with the interiors – If I were a piece of furniture – I’d be a sofa and it would be by Norrgavel . It is one of Sweden’s most renowned furniture and interior design producer only working with natural materials since long. Throughout every detail – upholstery, fabrics and wood you can pretty much convert it all back into soil. They have their own Christmas gift list suggestions. Pricy but it will last a lifetime or three if looked after properly.

Norrgavels beautiful furniture.

From 3D renders to transparency – Verk is creating bulky very Scandinavian products with a nice twist and clean lines. Locally sourced in Sweden. They use linseed oil and wax to protect the leather which creates a nice smooth surface. One of the designers Gustav Winsth creates 3D models in his computer that later translates into glass vases that har hand blown in Stockholm. A bit skew but oh so personal and any bouquet (sustainably sourced of course) could match it.

Design by Gustav Winsth.

Add a bit of Christmas bling – Do you ever really need a new piece of jewelry? Well, that’s up to you to decide. But if your answer is YES- Malin Jung is a designer working at the small island of Ven between Sweden and Denmark. She’s only using recycled silver and gold for her designs and the price range is big to fit every wallet. My favourite items are the ones that are inspired by nature and a bit asymmetrical. Gorgeous, don’t you think?

Christmas time can be stressful being by yourself or with all families coming together and high expectations on the absolute best way to spend it. I would hope for you all to have some restful and cozy days. Regardless of where, when or how you’ll be spending the holidays I hope that you allow yourself to find your own best way to do it. Give yourself some mindful thoughts about that you can give yourself a great year ahead. Remember that you are the best gift you can give – both to yourself, and to the next of kin. Also giving away yourself is really great from a sustainability point of view – no shopping needed!

Cheesy as it might sound you might want to consider that “Present” – is not only a nice word for a gift wrapped in paper – but also to be present during the holidays.

With love! /Annika

All of the companies above are not in any way sponsored collaborations, but rather products I’d like to give away myself – in case someone really needed. However there are links if you like to give them a closer look, all images are from respective brand unless stated anything else.

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