Give Sustainably

Perhaps it's time to stop with the holiday waste.

Last Christmas, I gave you a box. The very next day, you threw it away.

You also dumped the gift wrap that I put so much effort into selecting.

What a waste.

This past holiday season got me thinking.

Receiving presents was a part of my life when I was a kid. It was a pattern: November birthday, then Christmas, then New Year's. And I enjoyed all of it.

Yet, I didn't grow up to be much of a gift-giver. I would buy stuff and write cards for those closest to me, but I never bothered with packaging.

And in many cases, it was just cash. "Gifts are overrated, I'm busy, money is practical, and I like money, too. Let's stick to cash!"

This changed a few years ago after my second quarter-life crisis. Life made me start appreciating those around me and practicing gratitude big time. I finally felt the desire to give thoughtful and neatly wrapped gifts.

I did it, and it felt rewarding. It was also more difficult than I had expected. Picking a dozen or two personal gifts is hard enough when you'd never done it before. And then there's wrapping them! Fortunately, YouTube saved me. It felt great.

But last year I went a little overboard with my presents. And as I was going through the millionth gift wrap roll and the billionth gift bag, a thought crossed my mind:

You realize all of this stuff goes straight into the bin, right? Kinda mean to the environment right there with your gifts.

So I did a quick research. Turns out we have a term for this: holiday waste. Apparently, Americans generate 25% more trash during the holiday season, which is 25 million extra tons of garbage. And the figure is as high as 30% in the UK.

There goes my newly acquired love for beautifully wrapped gifts.

Yeah, I know the personal carbon footprint is BS. And that I'm not in the top 10 biggest polluters in the world with my rolls of wrap.

But still. I strive to always be a little more mindful when it comes to my relationship with the world around me. Even if it doesn't matter that much in the grand scheme of things.

Perhaps instead of completely ditching gift packaging, I'll go with something more sustainable this year. And perhaps you should too.

Recycled wrapping paper? Newspapers? Regifting?

We'll see.

And for the love of Earth, stop buying useless gifts for the sake of giving something.

The last thing your friend needs in life is a random dust-collecting figurine or a stupid mug. (Unless they're into it.)

Write a personal holiday card instead. Show you're thinking of them without adding clutter to their life, and without adding trash to our beautiful world.

Plus, there's always cash.