It's this very special time of the year again: Everyone is getting into crazy Christmas mode. While most people are bustling around, trying to find the right (but often useless) presents for their loved ones, we invite you to take a deep breath in the midst of this magical-mystical season.
You don’t want to buy random presents under last minute pressure this year? And you're in this dilemma to find the right gifts to show friends and family your love and appreciation and at the same time stay away from all the overconsumption, right? Worry not, we’re here to inspire you how to give - with a beautiful conscious twist.
Let’s inhale this truth: We don’t prove our love by spending money. Let alone on common material gifts that often lack inspiration, are damaging our environment or the health of people who make them. That’s why we want to encourage you to be part of the change you want to see in your world: Spread excitement and joy about a more sustainable and conscious future under the Christmas tree!
To make this all a little easier and less time-consuming for you, we put together our favorite sustainable Christmas gifts and tell you where to find them locally in Berlin or order them online.
Pssst... there's a chance to win one of our recommended gifts further down in this article. GOOD LUCK!
SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS GIFTS - How to give without compromising OUR planet
#1: Gift a voucher that helps stopping food waste
Within one year of being open, SirPlus have already saved and sold tons of high quality food that would have otherwise been thrown away. Did you know they recently opened their fourth (!) outlet in Friedrichshain? No matter where you are in Berlin, there’s many options to get their products and help to stop this crazy food waste.
1: Put a voucher for their online store under the Christmas tree!
2: Give away one of their monthly “Retterboxes”, classic, organic, vegan or the special winter edition.
3: Together is always better: why not inspire your friends or family and take them to one of the SirPlus stores for a zero waste shopping spree?
Learn more about SirPlus and the views and visions of one of Berlin’s most inspirational social entrepreneurs & SirPlus co-founder, Raphael Fellmer.
Other awesome places to get a zero waste voucher: Berlin's package-free supermarkets, Original Unverpackt and Der Sache Wegen
#2: Support a project with a good cause
There are plenty of great projects out there to support, from NGO's to social startups on a mission to tackle the world's most pressing issues. Very close to our heart is Little Sun: What started as a humble idea to create a small, portable solar lamp for people without electricity in Ethiopia is now a global project that has changed over a million lives through the invaluable power of the sun.
Meanwhile, they created a range of beautiful products, from the original sun-shaped solar lamp (our favorite), on to solar chargers for your phone and the latest edition of Little Diamond which you can see above - all of these are perfect gifts for anyone who loves the outdoors and to be in nature.
Learn more about Little Sun, their artful products and how you can support them, while also lighting up the hearts and lives of your loved ones.
Another passionate organization that brings solar power to the remotest regions in the Amazon is the wonderful Love for Life Project - a Berlin-based NGO we can fully vouch for!
#3: Give a reusable coffee cup, drinking bottle or lunch box
Giving a bottle of wine or liquor is such a common gift given at all kind of occasions. Most people have more than enough bottles at home. How about a beneficial bottle instead of booze: Soulbottles. Your donees will be thinking of you every time they use it and at the same time they save the environment by avoiding plastic!
The same applies for food. A good alternative to good old Tupperware is a stainless steel lunch box e.g. by Eco Brotbox available online or in Berlin's plastic-free stores Original Unverpackt or Der Sache Wegen. These lunch boxes help inspire more conscious and planned eating instead of take-aways causing tons of plastic waste.
Interested how a reusable coffee cup can be even more sustainable? Then check out the story of young founder Julian introducing their innovative project Kaffeeform. Their coffee cups built from recycled coffee grounds are definitely one of our top gift recommendations!
#4: Back up local ethical stores instead of hitting the big malls
Whether its socks for dad, a scarf for mummy or a necklace or armband for your best friend - classic gifts can be exciting if they were produced without exploitation. Check out our Ethical Fashion Guide for Berlin to find out where to buy unique and conscious clothing and accessories.
Prefer to give moments, not things? Then get a voucher from our friends at the Green Fashion Tours to go on a tour and meet the designers and shop owners in some of Berlin's coolest areas.
#5: Surprise a foodie with our new VeganBerlin Guide
If you’re looking for the ideal gift for a passionate foodie that doesn’t leave a hole in your wallet, we created just the right thing for you:
Fresh out of the printing press, our VeganBerlin Guide is a lovingly curated collection of over 75 colorful vegan and healthy gems - designed to help people explore Berlin with fun, ease and lots of good karma. VeganBerlin is a foldable map and a co-production by us and our friend Berta from Walk This Way. On one side, we crafted three different routes, guiding you through Berlin’s most creative vegan neighborhoods from breakfast to cocktail hour. On the other side, you’ll find our favorite Berlin vegan hotspots – cafés, restaurants, bars, shops, activities and other curious highlights that will get both vegans and non-vegans excited.
Order VeganBerlin now and be relaxed for the rest of the month. Final order date to get it in time for Christmas: 19th December 2018.
Bonus: What money can't buy - give time and good moments
It’s the easiest gift and you can share it with the person you’re handing it to: Give your loved ones a special experience and time with you. A hike in nature, a visit to your favorite theatre, cinema, or the planetarium, an evening of cooking together, a shared wellness day... Just think about what your gifted one is into or could really need these days and spend some memorable happy hours together in 2019!
And this could be anything – big or small. How about taking him/her out for a big Berlin brunch at your favorite local café? We did some research this year and invite you to eat your way through Berlin's best vegan brunch places (especially great in January for some after-holiday-munching) 🙂
Most important: Make it fun and easy!
An idea especially for grown up changemakers: Think about decrease spending, stress and waste by having family members draw names, sticking to a 'one gift' rule = Each person gets one thoughtful gift from someone who had the time to dedicate their effort.
MORE Tips FOR SUSTAINABLE GIFTS & a CONSCIOUS Christmas:
Rounding off this sustainable gift guide, here are a few simple thoughts to consider before you write your shopping list:
- Consider buying books in a fair bookstore instead of supporting online retail giants.
- A new phone is on the wish list? Why not weigh the benefits of the Fairphone in comparison to top selling smartphones.
- Wooden instead of plastic toys for your little ones, maybe you could support someone who handcrafts things or buy second hand?
- If you want to spoil the ladies, look at natural cosmetic products without any plastics, metals or nasty chemical ingredients
- Want to give chocolates or other yummy treats? Focus on ensuring fair trade standards. Check out this video to learn more
- When wrapping your gift, consider the gift wrapping - here are some wonderful ideas
That's it, conscious Christmas fans
We hope you got some inspiration for sustainable gifts and compassionate giving this year. Keep in mind, less is more and it is the thought behind your gift that counts. Believe us: Giving a thoughtful gift to someone you care about is also a present you’ll be making to yourself!
Remember to slow down, light candles and connect with others.
Happy conscious giving and Merry Christmas to you from all of us at GreenMe Berlin
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SUSTAINABLE GIFT IDEA?
Is there a great conscious product or social startup that you'd like to add? We'd love to hear about it!
Share your thoughts with us in the comments (right at the bottom of this page).