More relevant than any other time during the year, gifting is almost synonymous with Christmas and with that a question arises just what to buy for those we love. Unfortunately having so much choice doesn’t particularly help. Besides, most people already have everything they need so how can we turn this beautiful gesture into something meaningful. This is where ethical gifting comes in.
What springs to mind for most people is involving some kind of a donation to charity into the mix however this alone isn’t the only path forward. Furthermore, imagine getting a card that says your aunt donated to charity on your behalf and all you’ve got is this ‘lousy card’. In these instances, the gift choice is more about the aunt’s moral compass then yours and leaves you, the receiver outside the realm of consideration.
Don’t get me wrong, we are definitely pro charity donations but perhaps not as a substitute for a meaningful gift. Do it because you care, not because you want others to.
6 considerations of ethical gifting
1. Make gifting intentional
Ethical gifting goes way beyond charities. The key ingredient is the intention behind the gifting itself. The sheer expression of love, appreciation and care. Being able to do that in a way where the gift actually communicates a story, engages the receiver into an act of curiosity and presents the opportunity for greater bonding, now that is intentional.
2. Make it about health
Health is such a crucial building block in life. Without it, nothing else really makes sense. Knowing what your loved ones are currently struggling with or something they’ve been working hard at, could be an incredible way to express your support on their journey of recovery or kicking health goals; in general, in the way they navigate life.
In our world of assistive technology, we are able to facilitate independence for those who wear our devices, such as the mCareWatch or mCareMate pendant, and enable that all important peace of mind for the carers or/and loved ones.
Our model on the right is wearing the current version of the mCareWatch in black.
Select one of our devices as a gift for your loved ones and support their health through assistive technology.
3. Do-it-yourself gifts
What springs to mind is the African tradition during Kwanzaa, where members of the diaspora gift each other thoughtful homemade gifts closely tied with their heritage. Their philosophy emphasises the creation of a moral community where each member is dedicated to the other further strengthening the sense of belonging and communal responsibility. These do-it-yourself gifts encourage an attitude whereby the focus is not on the gift itself but more so on the recipient, making it more personal and meaningful.
Whether you knit or crochet something, paint or construct something from material of any kind, the thought behind it is what counts. These kinds of gifts can create tremendous joy in someone’s life. Don’t be shy and give it a go.
4. Ask yourself: what does this person mean to me?
It probably goes without saying (but I will spell it out regardless), that gifting is more about the person you are gifting to than about yourself. You would be surprised just how many people are out there clueless about this one. Most will choose a gift they themselves would love to receive, which of course makes it a more selfish endeavour than ethical gifting.
This one alone could demonstrate how conscious you are in terms of understanding your loved ones. Have you been actively listening to them picking up on ever so slight details that could indicate what a perfect gift could be for them? Have you asked curious questions (without giving away you are fishing for gift ideas) that could give you a clue what they’d like?
5. Eco conscious ethical gifting
A gift that considers the receiver BUT at the same time also the environment, communities and animals. I remember a Christmas at a friend’s place a few years back where they had a massive mountain of presents under (and next) to the tree. Their family is large, with grandkids as well and as I witnessed the opening of the presents, I was horrified just how much plastic waste was attached to each.
The presents themselves were plastic; packaged in plastic and then they put all the wrapping paper into a big plastic bag and chucked that into the red bin. Now this is the epitome of unconscious in every sense – gift consideration, choices, waste and habits.
I think you get where I am heading with this – consider the gift itself and how it’s made once you know what you’d like to buy. Try supporting companies that have a B-corp certification as these are likely operating an ethical supply chain.
6. The gift of quality time
The holiday season is not just about gifts. This time of year means different things to different people. It’s usually a joyous time spent with family/loved ones but it could also be incredibly isolating for some.
Experiencing loneliness and depressive episodes are not uncommon even at Christmas time. Not everyone is fortunate to be spending time with family or friends. Is there someone in your friendship circle who might be spending Christmas on their own? Perhaps someone who is from overseas or may no longer have parents around. Perhaps someone who is estranged from their family, maybe single without children or someone elderly who is largely alone in the world now.
Look around – I guarantee, you’d know someone in your circle who could fall into any of these categories. Giving the gift of spending quality time together, having meaningful and deep conversations is the epitome of ethical gifting. A memory that they could feed off for many weeks if not months to come.
Whether it’s a small gift or something more substantial (or expensive), making our choices more intentional and ethical can go a long way. The key is to stop, think and decide from a place of awareness and thought. More isn’t more and often our choices are causing serious harm to the environment, society and animals.
We urge you to be more intentional this holiday season. Think more about the receiver than yourself and know that sometimes the tiniest gestures and stories will be the most connecting.
All there is left to say is: We, from mCare Digital, wish you and your families a joyous holiday season.