Our consumerist society is amplified during the holidays and unfortunately it seems like consumption has become the focus of the season. Events require new outfits, festive-ness is measured by how many decorations you have, it seems like parties have to feature a Pinterest-worthy spread, and marketing tells us the bigger the pile of presents the more happiness there will be. I’m not here for it.
Now maybe you think I’m a Grinch but I actually really love the holidays! I just think we need to refocus a bit.
One shift that is incredibly important is moving from gift giving focused around quantity to quality. This is not only a lot more sustainable (we really don’t need more gifts ending up in the landfill in a few months) but I’ll bet it also helps with that holiday shopping stress.
Holiday spending is expected to increase this year and consumers surveyed in the US say they’re planning to spend an average of $1,250 each on gifts. Imagine the impact if even just a portion of this spending was shifted to high-quality, consciously made products that will last years or a lifetime, instead of disposable, cheap plastic goods with questionable origins.
This holiday season let’s try to focus on giving quality over quantity!
(this post is kindly sponsored by BuyMeOnce)
One store making it easier to buy better is BuyMeOnce. I’m exited to be partnering with them on this post because I not only think they have a great selection of gifts but I love their mission to “find the longest lasting products” and not only that, they also prioritise ethical manufacturing and sustainability in their selections.
All of the products they recommend have been thoroughly researched. They start by asking these questions:
- Do the materials and craftsmanship make this product more durable than its competitors?
- Do customer and independent reviews confirm the product’s durability?
- Is the product made ethically, and, if possible, out of sustainable materials?
- Does the company offer aftercare?
- Is the product’s design timeless?
If it passes, they then test it out themselves and sometimes they’ll also bring in experts to weigh in. A lot of their listed products also come with lifetime guarantees so even if something does happen it can be repaired or replaced.
Ideas for quality, long-lasting gifts
For the music lover
Tech is a tricky area to shop consciously – there are always new or improved versions coming out and it’s an industry notorious for planned obsolescence, which is when companies deliberately design products to wear out, become outdated in a few years, or products are designed to prevent repairs. So I was pretty surprised to see BuyMeOnce carrying a speaker. This Minirig 2 portable Bluetooth speaker is made in the UK which is really rare to see and is designed to be taken apart, so if something breaks it can easily be repaired, or if technology improves individual parts can be replaced instead of needing to buy a whole new speaker. Also, it can be coupled with a second speaker and/or subwoofer for improved sound that can fill a larger space.
This speaker has an incredible 80 hour battery life so it’s great for taking to the park, on roadtrips, camping, or travelling.
Know someone who loves to cook or bake?
Help them reduce waste and save time cleaning up sticky or burnt-on baking sheets by using silicone baking mats. These reusable mats come in 2 sizes and can also be cut to fit your trays or cookie sheets. They’re easy to use and a great zero waste replacement for foil or parchment paper. Plus the brand offers a lifetime guarantee.
I’ve ordered a set for us and am probably also going to get one for my parents so they can skip the aluminium foil. 🙂
Quality cast iron cookware can last generations and actually gets better with age as the seasoning builds up. I love cast iron because it’s super versatile, you can use it on the stove, in the oven, on a barbecue, or even on a campfire and you also don’t have to worry about potentially harmful Teflon coatings.
This Finex skillet not only is beautifully designed but it’s made in America, comes pre-seasoned, and the unique octagonal design allows for easy pouring. They also give you the choice to include a lid, and for extra quality assurance it has a lifetime guarantee.
On the go gifts
This laptop case can make a great gift for students or professionals.
It’s from Elvis & Kresse who have a line of bags made from durable, reclaimed materials such as decommissioned fire hoses, printing blankets (pictured), and leather off-cuts, and the bag is lined with reclaimed military-grade parachute silk. Designed to last, they also offer lifetime repairs on all their bags.
A product which I also featured in my green gift guide is Lüks Linen’s Peshtemal towels. Turkish towels are amazing for travel because they’re lightweight, compact, and dry quickly. I also love how versatile they are because they don’t look like a traditional towel you can wear them as a scarf, shawl, or sarong, and they can also be used at the beach, for a picnic, or as throw blanket. They’re incredibly practical for travelling, camping, spas/saunas, the gym, or just everyday home use.
Lüks Linen also offers a 20 year replace or repair guarantee on their products.
For little ones on the go there’s a wooden balance bike from Wishbone which has been designed to grow with your child. The frame and seat height are adjustable so they can use it from 18 months up to 5 years! The bike has also been designed to be 100% repairable so if any piece is damaged a replacement part can be purchased.
These bikes teach kids how to steer and balance and from personal experience are a great way to go on walks with kids and not have to carry them after 10 minutes. Plus the company also uses natural materials and non-toxic glues and finishes to keep children safe.
You might be thinking there’s no way jeans can have a lifetime guarantee, but these jeans from Blackhorse Lane Ateliers not only are designed to be good quality with features like hidden rivets and tacked stress-points but they come with free repairs for life! So if they get ripped or worn you can send them in to be patched and stitched up, how cool is that? Made in London from 100% organic cotton, selvedge raw denim these are the kind of jeans you can completely break in, mould to your body, and are sure to become the go-to pair.
A brand I was thrilled to discover is Swedish Stockings and I’m happy to see they are BuyMeOnce approved too! Stockings are unfortunately not going to last a lifetime, and because of this they create a lot of waste. Swedish Stockings however are tackling this by using recycled nylon and producing the stockings in zero waste and solar powered factories. If the tights do get damaged or wear out, they have a take-back program to recycle the stockings so they’re not contributing to more landfill waste.
Another gift idea, if you know someone who is also interested in shopping and living more consciously is the book A Life Less Throwaway by BuyMeOnce founder Tara Button. The book talks about why we tend to shop and over-spend, why products are no longer designed to last, how we can better take care of the things we have, how we can change consumerist habits, and how we can build a life around things that are meaningful and fulfilling instead of just accumulating more stuff.
There are so many ways to give quality gifts this holiday season, you can also give the gift of experiences and spending quality time together. Treat your friends or family to a nice dinner or activity they really enjoy.
This holiday season let’s take a step back, I don’t think we need to completely give up gift giving, but maybe consider if the piles of disposable presents are really necessary and if there’s a way to focus on quality over quantity gift giving.
Great Post! I wish more and more people changed their mind about Christmas gifts. My family cannot understand that I don’t want any more THINGS… If they do insist on buying presents, tickets to a cinema or a concert would be just fine. Or a box of homemade cookies! But this is not considered a proper gift, unfortunately. This year, I tried buying experiences or some small, fun things like board games that we can play together and use on many occasions.
I feel the same… Christmas it’s not about shopping…