According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), “Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, (Source). Once various economic expenses are accounted for, the NRF predicts 2019 holiday spending to be “up between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion,” (Source). That’s a decent chunk of change. Now imagine the difference that could be made with all of those dollars, if everyone chose to spend in a socially and environmentally responsible way!
Looking at the numbers is a great reminder that we really can make a difference, simply by choosing to support kindness with our purchases this holiday season. In doing so, we can measurably improve people’s lives and offer support to the social, environmental, and economic issues we face globally.
Each year, new and old companies are joining the movement towards a kinder world. Be it through utilizing eco-friendly materials in production or implementing sustainable business practices, supporting ethical labor and developing countries or giving back to local charities and communities… a kinder form of capitalism is quickly on the rise. You just need to know what to look for!
Seek out companies that are working hard to ensure their products are created with sustainability in mind. Many clothing companies have made an effort to choose organic, plant based materials for fabrics. Other products are being made with less plastic and more compostable materials. These changes may seem small, but think about the vast potential for harm and waste reduction taking place as a result? That’s something that we definitely want to be a part of!
These days, there are numerous companies that have written charitable causes right into their business plan. Keep your eye out for businesses offering a one for one model, or those donating a percentage of proceeds to different causes. TOMS, for example, gives a pair of shoes to someone in need with each purchase. Patagonia promises to reduce waste, cause no harm and use success as a means of supporting environmental activism. These are only two out of millions of business out there, committed to making a difference. If we use our dollars wisely, we can be a part of that change!
When choosing where to spend, consider asking yourself if anyone or anything was harmed in the production process. The Fair Trade certification can now be found all over the place from clothing to chocolate, ensuring that laborers are offered safe and healthy work environments, as well as fair pay. Using the power of purchase to insist on ethical practices creates a kinder marketplace.
Making the decision to shop local is a great way to support small businesses in your community. In doing so, you are boosting your local economy and decreasing packaging waste and shipping pollution, not to mention changing lives by directly helping an independent maker put food on their table. Craft fairs and farmers markets are a great place to start!
It’s absolutely beautiful to get excited about giving! It’s also totally human to wait until last minute to get shopping done. Sometimes this can lead to increased spending, not to mention unnecessary stress! With so much money spent during the holidays, imagine the waste that could be reduced if we shopped mindfully instead? So give yourself the gift of time this holiday season. And use the space it creates to bring intentionality to your spending. As you plan out your gifting this season, consider asking yourself if there is a kinder way to source and send your presents.
Opportunities to make a difference and co-create a kinder world are around every corner during the holidays. Seek them out, and you can inspire kindness with every dollar spent this season. As always, have fun out there!