With Christmas and the holidays around the corner, I get a lot of questions asking me what some good ideas are for natural gifts. When you first hear this idea, buying natural gifts for someone else might sound like something you’d never do. But it doesn’t mean getting someone a gift that they won’t use or like. In my opinion it’s quite the opposite.
I love shopping and giving gifts, but what I don’t love is mindlessly buying items that I think someone *might* like in hopes of just finishing up my holiday shopping. I realized that this mentality really stole from the fun of giving and the joy of picking things out for my friends and family.
In my opinion, trying to find natural gifts that are well suited for someone actually makes the experience of giving a gift richer and more meaningful. This week I’m going to share with you WHY I made the shift to opting for more natural gifts and HOW I have gone about doing that for friends and family.
I’ll be honest, it doesn’t necessarily work for EVERY gift I end up buying, but for my own kids, my husband and gifts that I have more of a choice over, I really try to give more natural gifts or experiences.
I’m also excited to share with you this week my Natural Gift Guide with links to some of my favorite products at the end of this post.b
WHY BOTHER GETTING NATURAL GIFTS?
For me personally, I wasn’t always on board with this idea of buying more natural gifts, and even gifts that aren’t things. I used to love taking advantage of the sales starting in September for Christmas presents for friends and family. To be honest, I started to convince myself that because I liked giving gifts, I needed to buy a lot of them. But this led to inexpensive and low quality items that end up getting tossed or given away in a short amount of time. Instead, now I focus on high quality natural gifts that will be timeless to the recipient.
Maybe it’s my kids who have changed me, but I recognize the issue of having too much stuff. It seemed that everywhere I turned there were more things that needed to get picked up, put away or gotten rid of. This was my tipping point and the one thing that pushed me into getting more meaningful, natural gifts.
I didn’t want to contribute to a problem of more plastic and waste in landfills and I could certainly see where the amount of stuff that my kids received started to affect them and their mentality about things and the world. I made a conscious choice to go low key at Christmas from then on out for my family.
This has ultimately led to more high quality, natural gifts as well as many gifts that aren’t things, but rather experiences we can have together as a family. I really think that making a very intentional choice about each and every gift I buy for others actually supports my love for gift giving in a much more positive way.
THE BASICS OF BUYING NATURAL GIFTS
For me there’s a few basic principles that help me look for natural gifts and experiences to give. I love buying gifts and giving things, but I have to still remind myself sometimes that more is not necessarily better. This is the first principle, quality over quantity. I learned this lesson when my kids were small — the more toys they had, the fewer they actually played with. It was like the sheer choice of items and toys gave them paralyzing overwhelm.
The second principle for buying natural gifts is to avoid plastic wherever you can. Believe me, this can be REALLY tricky. I recently was looking for a new high chair that wasn’t mostly made of plastic, and it was super frustrating that I had so few options when it came to what I wanted. I think this is true of many items for kids and even adults — plastic is often the main component and can be difficult to avoid. But enter online shopping and you can find specific items that are made plastic free with a little more ease.
My third principle for buying natural gifts is to be really intentional. Sometimes this means waiting and not purchasing something right away. It may mean thinking about it for a few days before purchasing. So often I think we see something that looks halfway decent and decide to get it for the sake of being done with shopping. But, if we took a step back and asked if our recipient really wants or needs it and is it something that aligns with my feelings on waste and plastic, you may make a different choice in the long run.
Another tip I have is that practicality goes a long way. Oftentimes my husband and I don’t necessarily go all out on frivolous gifts. And to be honest, I’m COMPLETELY okay with that. We make an intentional decision to go out to a nice dinner, or do something together as part of our gift to each other. And if we do get gifts for one another, it’s usually something more on the practical side that we’ll really use or something we really wanted. I think the key here is to think about how often the item will get used, and if the answer is frequently, it’s a good pick.
When it comes to shopping, I love handmade shops and items for natural gifts. These often mean more to someone getting them and they also usually create a lot less waste and shipping costs when made. This post I wrote on Etsy shops that sell natural and organic items is one of my favorites to reference when looking for home decor items to give. Etsy and local shops near you often have some of the most creative gifts you can give. Jewelry is especially great to find in these places.
And lastly, gifts do not always have to be things. THIS is where I’m completely at with my own kids and family. We’ve done family adventures and trips in the past, or for my husband and it might be an outing without the kids together. We’ve also done passes, tickets and lessons in the past, which are all great experiences and not necessarily things that need to be stored.
GIFTS FOR HER
- Custom Art Work (like this one on Etsy)
- Personalized Bracelet (I ADORE this handmade one)
- Custom Stamped Necklace (like this handmade one)
- Handmade Turkish Towels (these are so cute!)
- Recycled Glass Wine Glasses (these handmade glasses are beautiful!)
- Experiences (spa, massage, etc.)
- Services (houselceaning, online courses, etc.
- Salt Lamp (This is the one I like at my desk)
- Toxin Free Pots and Pans (Xtrema is 100% ceramic)
GIFTS FOR HIM
- Customized Leather Wrap Bracelet (This handmade one on Etsy is a must)
- Marble Cheeseboard (love this idea for a non-toxic gift)
- Ethical Apparel
- Certificates for Restaurants and Breweries
- Experiences (golf, sporting events, concerts, etc.)
- Make Your Own Grill Box (seasonings, smoker box, etc.)
- Cast Iron Pan (like this one)
- Blue Blocking Glasses (perfect for the gamer or computer nerd)
- Hydro Flask Water Bottle (a great low toxin option)
- French Press Coffee Maker (like this one, plus add some fair trade organic coffee in too)
GIFTS FOR KIDS
- Name Crayons (custom made is the best!)
- Gratitude Journal
- Wheat Straw Kids Mugs
- Wooden, Open Ended Toys
- Organic Stuffed Animals (these handmade ones are the cutest)
- Lessons or Classes (think swimming, dance, art, music, etc.)
- Games or Puzzles
- Book or Magazine Subscriptions
- Experiences (think museum passes, theme park tickets, etc.)
- Organic Bedding or Sheets
- Art Supplies (this post has TONS of options)
- Organic Floor Pillow (love these ones listed on Etsy)
- Wooden Play Gym (handmade for baby)