The time when people start thinking about Christmas presents is just around the corner, as it is every year. Products such as soaps, perfumes and sweets are already in abundance in Christmas special offer packages at the supermarket. What should I give my loved ones for Christmas? This question is asked this year like every year.
Christmas and mass consumption inevitably belong together in the present time. The tendency to more and more expensive Christmas presents rose in Germany in the last decades. The expenditures for Christmas presents amounted to 470 Euro per capita in the year 2019. However, the awareness for sustainable giving has also become more important in recent years. Meaningful and sustainable gifts away from the usual mass consumption are becoming popular. In this blog post we would like to bring the original tradition of gift-giving to you and inspire you for conscious and sustainable Christmas gifts.
The tradition of gift-giving
Christmas as we know it today – with presents under the decorated Christmas tree – exists since the end of the 18th century. Since then, Christmas Eve has inevitably been associated with gifts. Regardless of which regional and traditional customs are otherwise celebrated, giving large or small gifts is part of every Christmas celebration. Where exactly this Christmas custom of giving presents comes from is controversial, but it is certain that the gesture of giving is deeply rooted in the history of mankind. Giving gifts is one of the universal acts that have been cultivated all over the world for centuries. They serve to stabilize relationships and express the bond between people. Psychologists even see gift-giving – that means the mutual giving and accepting of gifts – as one of the cornerstones of a peaceful society. People who give each other presents show appreciation, gratitude and joy. Especially at Christmas, gifts are symbolic of these feelings of solidarity.
How has our consumer behavior and gift-giving changed in recent years?
The type of gifts given at Christmas and consumer behavior in the pre-Christmas period has changed dramatically in recent decades. While our grandparents’ generation still enjoyed apples, oranges or wooden toys under the Christmas tree, nowadays flatscreen TVs, smartphones and branded clothing are found under German Christmas trees. Actually, we should all be overjoyed. But human nature quickly gets used to different standards of living and is just as happy or unhappy after the first rapture of joy as before the expensive gift. Basically, a new purchase brings us only a brief moment of joy. For longer happiness in the form of a gift, shared experiences are more suitable. This is because material gifts are more comparable and this comparison makes us unhappy in the long run. This psychological phenomenon should be reason enough to remember the original tradition of giving consciously and lastingly. Many people have recognized this and that is why, especially in recent years, there has been a trend towards conscious giving and away from consumer thinking or acting. Movements such as White Monday, which was launched in 2017 as a counter-movement to the blind consumerism of Black Friday, are examples of this.
Giving with added value: What does conscious giving mean?
But how does a conscious gift define itself? As you can imagine, there is no instruction manual for the perfekt conscious gift. Giving a gift is about making a person happy and of course about the sense and, for many, the sustainability of the gift. General criteria for a conscious gift could therefore be the purpose and use of the gift as well as its value, suitability as a problem solver and order donor. Of course, sustainable gifts such as the socially responsible Fairphone3 smartphone, the Weducer To-Go cup from Kaffeeform recycled from coffee grounds, or jeans made from old textiles and surplus material from Bridge & Tunnel are ideal for people who live consciously.
Gifts are especially useful for the recipient if they were chosen or made with care and an with an ulterior motive. Personal or self-made gifts as well as shared experiences have a high emotional value. Lasting gifts are additional small world improvements that give both the giver and the recipient a good feeling and conscience. When it comes to gifts, less and well thought out is more. Most things in life are priceless anyway.
What sustainable gift ideas are there for Christmas?
Gifts are very individual, depending on who you want to give a present to. Behind a suitable present there are of course plenty of considerations, which can often trigger the typical pre-Christmas stress. The gift should finally also please. In the following we would like to list some concrete inspiring and lasting gift ideas:
1) Number one for us is of course our fairafric chocolate! Our chocolate from Ghana not only tastes delicious, but also brings added value by creating qualified jobs in the country of origin, Ghana. You can buy our chocolates made in Ghana in our online store or at selected retailers in your area. Until the beginning of December you also have the opportunity to enjoy exclusive chocolate creations by subscribing to our new handmade delicacies from our new brand Amanase. You also support the establishment of the first official chocolate school in Ghana.
2) A truly sustainable gift would also be a sponsorship for an entire bee colony. As a thank you, a gift box with a certificate as well as exclusive honey and photos of the bees is also available for bee sponsorship.
3) For sports enthusiasts, to whom one wants to give a lasting and at the same time meaningful gift, sports equipment from Edelkraft is the right choice.
4) Greek olive oil from the specially adopted olive tree on Lesvos is available at Mein Olivenbaum.
5) Old but gold, of course, will never lose its value when you buy homemade items like calendars, pimped-up items from flea markets or homemade Christmas cookies. If you don’t have time for that, you can personally contact your dear relatives and acquaintances at Christmas – or this year 2020 rather by phone – who will surely be happy about it.
There are definitely a lot of conscious gifts that are also based on sustainability and social impact. Especially in this extraordinary year, some of you might have more time to think about conscious and sustainable giving at Christmas. After all, unusual sustainable gifts not only have a material value, but also convey the original message of giving: appreciation between people and also towards nature.