101: Give experience gifts rather than “stuff”

Cost of taking action: £/$/€ VARIES

Think outside the box when deciding what to buy as a gift

Very often, the gifts we give to our loved ones are amongst the worst things that we can buy from an environmental perspective. This is because they tend, by nature, to be luxuries. They also tend to be wrapped or packaged quite extravagantly. It’s difficult, for example, to justify a large box of fancy chocolates in lots of plastic wrapping and packaging as a necessary use of resources at a time when we are struggling with a global plastic pollution problem.

So for this action we’d like you to think about not buying “stuff” as presents, but buying experiences instead.

Experiences can be memorable and even more special than tangible items. Also, you’re avoiding all the plastic, packaging, resource use and damage that often comes with luxury items.

What could be given as a gift instead?

How about the following ideas:

  • concert tickets
  • sport event tickets
  • celebrity-made individual video messages ( Try Cameo for example)
  • balloon flight
  • posh afternoon tea for two
  • dinner and cabaret
  • food and wine tasting experiences (Try Experience Days for example)
  • trip to the zoo/aquarium
  • learning experiences
  • educational courses (like learning a new language for example)
  • traditional craft experiences (pottery, glass blowing and smithying are examples)
  • pamper days (using eco-friendly products, of course)
  • night in an amazing unusual accommodation
  • cookery classes
  • museum tours and trips
  • stadium tour of a favourite sports team
  • celebrity event tickets including meet and greet
  • brewery tour
  • distillery tour
  • horseback riding
  • farm day experience
  • escape room adventure
  • massage
  • house clean
  • cinema tickets
  • ski day and pass
  • zipwire experience
  • manicure or pedicure (or both)
  • glamour photo shoot
  • this list is potentially endless ….

You get the idea!

Why is this important?

We believe that everyone should be encouraged to enjoy their world and experience new things, rather than simply continuing on the consumer driven luxury bandwagon that is contributing to our global problems – poverty, food inequality, climate change, plastic pollution, resource exploitation, deforestation, and so on.

We also believe that experience gifts are often more likely to be remembered and treasured. Great photos and souvenirs of the event can ensure that the memories last, and it’s far more likely that in future years you’ll be talking about and remembering “the time that we did x” than you would a luxury box of chocolates or a case of wine (however good!).

Take action

Try to think outside the routine and consumer-driven when you are buying gifts. You don’t have to spend more and you will be helping to create wonderful memories that will last, and if you choose carefully you will be reducing the impact on our environment of your gift.

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