Conscious Holiday Shopper

This holiday post was originally published on the Fashion Takes Action website. You can find it here.

The holiday secret can be a wonderful time. Visiting with family and friends, enjoying meals and moments with those you love, plus those first snow falls that feel like the best of the winter. These are just some of the aspects of December that make so many people look forward to the holidays all year round.

However, it’s no secret that this time of year is also associated with a ramp up in conspicuous consumerism. Spending around the holidays is estimate to be around $1 trillion USD this year, and when we give the gift of fashion we may be contributing to the second most polluting industry in the world.

So whether you’re ready to extend your conscious consumerism into the holiday season this year or are discovering sustainable style for the first time, I’ve got some tips for being aware of what you purchase this holiday season:

Go local

One of the easiest ways to give consciously is to support local businesses and artisans. This can be as easy as purchasing clothing, accessories and gifts from holiday markets and craft sales near you. You’ll reduce carbon emissions by avoiding shipping, and you can speak directly to the maker about what went into your gift and how it was made.

Make thoughtful gifts your own

If you have a crafter’s flair for making DIY gifts, you can have the last say over whether your gifts are truly eco-conscious. But just because you’re not into DIY doesn’t mean you can’t be aware of a gift’s environmental impact. Try giving a little less this year, focusing on the thought behind each give rather than quantity.

Pay a little more to make it last a little longer

Another way to take the focus off the sheer quantity of gifts you give is to try and quality products. With fashion items especially, paying a little more for a single, eco-friendly piece can mean the difference between a garment that’s disposed of after a season and one that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Make material matter

If you are planning on giving the gift of fashion this year, try to focus on natural fabrics. Polyesters and other synthetic fabrics use harsh, environmental unfriendly chemicals while they’re processed and when washed, can shed micro plastics that harm marine ecosystems as well as water supplies. Look for bamboo, organic cotton and other fibers that will degrade naturally.

Give the gift of time

Rather than focusing on the stuff that surrounds Christmas such as gifts and decorations, a great way to celebrate the season is to give back. If you’re crunched for time, even a donation can help! Organizations that bring awareness to the effects of hyperconsumerism such as Fashion Takes Action are a great fit. But if you do have time to spare, consider what an amazing gift that can be! Whether it’s taking your kids, niece or nephew on a winter outing or volunteering with charitable organizations during this season, your energy and presence can be a gift that makes someone’s holidays truly wonderful.

What are your tips for being a conscious consumer around the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!