Holiday Gift Guide: Conscious Consumerism
Happy Sunday wanderers! If you are anything like me you are saying to yourself "Oh shit Christmas is in 15 days and I still haven't finished my shopping." Fear not, because although my shopping isn't done either I have taken the time to create this holiday gift guide for you all. In this guide I am going to hone in on two things, where to do your shopping & some specific ideas of where you can do your shopping online.
If you are new to conscious consumerism let me take a moment to explain it a little more in depth before jumping into the post. If you are a person with enough disposable income to buy gifts for your friends and family I personally believe you have a responsibility to make good choices when deciding where to spend your dollar.
For instance, before going vegan I was blindly supporting animal cruelty every time I bought a non-vegan product. So I urge you to give yourself some homework and dig deeper into the company culture of the businesses you are supporting when you shop this holiday season. The goal here is to align your beliefs with your actions.
Unfortunately it is not always a perfect science but we can try our best. For me I am personally working on making vegan & eco-conscious purchases this holiday season. I am also trying to make sure I am buying from sweatshop free fair trade brands. If you love this planet, love animals, and consider yourself against unfair working conditions I urge you to join me and "put your money where your mouth is." We can all stand to do a little more research and avoid making blind purchases. Without further ado, lets jump into this post.
I think you should take some time out of your schedule to visit your local farmers market. Farmers markets almost always have more than just food. Often you can find great stocking stuffers like locally made candles, candy, jewelry, scarfs, and even sometimes some lovely woodwork. If you are in Providence, as I know many of my readers are, I suggest you go to The Arcade and the Pawtucket Wintertime Market. Also be on the lookout for seasonal holiday markets. Often extra local markets pop up around the holiday season specifically for gift and decoration shopping. Just look up local event listings on Facebook.
I love shopping at small markets for three main reasons. Normally you get to meet the person who made the product you are buying and they are always happy to chat and answer your questions. I personally like to ask where they source their materials or ingredients and if the product vegan. Secondly, you are shopping local so you are reducing your environmental impact by buying the products straight from their producers, skipping shipping. Lastly, you are giving back to your local community and that should be what the holidays are all about!
By boutique, I mean a smaller shop. I am personally avoiding the mall all together lately and loving it. It is too easy to get caught up in there and make uneducated decisions when shopping. I suggest going to shops that are locally owned and preferably not large chains. These types of stores tend to have more integrity, just generally speaking. I love shops that combine the work of many artisans into one space. Also, shops featuring vintage items are great. If you are in Providence I suggest checking out Nava or Share Space and if you are on the Cape I recommend Wish Gift Co. Nava has some awesome vintage items and locally made jewelry while Wish Gift Co. has some great vegan & fair-trade items.
Thrift stores are overall the best option. Wherever you live I guarantee you have a local thrift store, salvation army, or savers. Buying second hand is the most eco-conscious way to shop because the item has already been purchased by another person so you are not creating new demand. This is also a stress free way to shop because you don't have to be hyper conscious about what you are purchasing. By this i mean it is essentially negligible if the items are vegan or fair-trade, because like I said the item has already been bought and discarded by another person. You are not creating new demand for cruelty or unfair working conditions. What you are doing is helping to give an item that may have ended up in a landfill a new life.
That being said when thrift shopping I do personally avoid certain things. I don't buy anything with a logo of a brand I don't support and I also avoid fur and other products blatantly derived from animals. This because I personally want nothing to do with such items and don't want to influence others to buy similar things.
Online shopping can be a double edged sword, but I still consider it far superior to blindly shopping around the mall and here is why. Most importantly, when shopping online you have more time to research and reflect before purchasing a product. Alternative to shopping in person where you can feel pressure to make a quick decision, shopping online gives you more opportunity to find brands and products you whole-heartedly support. The one downfall to this is that I will often find a brand that aligns with all of my standards and even donates some of their profits to a good cause and then that company will be based out of Europe or even Thailand. So shipping wise, online is obviously the least eco-conscious of all the choices. The plus is that you have more opportunity to ensure you are making purchases from companies that utilize sustainable materials. Besides, when shopping in the mall or a large scale company that ships from the United States chances are that supplier is outsourcing to some parts of Asia, so buying from a sustainable brand online is the clear winner here.
My Online Recommendations
Click the photos below to shop. These photos do not belong to me & this post is not sponsored. I genuinely support everything I have linked and described below.
Shop your values on Thrive Market. You can filter your product searches using your values! They have food, skincare, beauty products & more.
Use this Amazon link & Happy Cow, a nonprofit vegan restaurant app, will receive 5% of your order total as a donation.
Click here to download Good On You, the ethical shopping app.
Click here to claim a free eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush (plus S&H).
Shop Bohemian Island harem pants, skirts, dresses, tops and shorts. This is a fair-trade brand that donates 10% of their profit to helping stray cats & dogs in Thailand.
Shop WeWood watches. They are made from reclaimed and recycled wood, and for each watch purchased they plant a tree. Skip on any featuring the leather straps. They also have women's watches and sunglasses.
Shop Ecoalf apparel, shoes & accessories made from sustainable materials such as plastic bottles, fishing nets, tires & more.
Shop Wrenn vegan & cruelty free nail polish.
Shop Coconut Bowls 100% natural bowls and silverware.
Shop Wolven Threads activewear and swimwear made from recycled bottles.
Shop Love Your Melon beanies. Please only buy the ones with the faux leather decals. 50% of their profits are donated to pediatric caner relief.
Shop Boli + Chip vegan, fair-trade & organic apparel.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this post! What is your favorite eco-conscious brand? Leave me a comment below!
Wander often & wonder always