Hello, festive furniture lovers--
It's a busy and beautiful time to be in Basel, isn't it? With Herbstmesse just finished and the Christmas Markets about to open, there is a festive flair that takes the city's energy up a notch. As the holiday decorations appear, I find myself getting into the spirit and thinking about this 'season of giving.'
I don't know about you but I get stressed out about 'too much stuff.' And the thought of buying gifts that people don’t need—just because it’s Christmas—actually makes me a crazy. And yet the tradition of exchanging gifts is so rooted in our culture, and I have such happy memories associated with Christmas, it's been difficult for me to find a gift-giving solution that sits well with my environmentalist soul.
So, what to do? Well, several years ago I came up with a solution and began spreading the word among my gift-giving family. I basically said, if we are going to exchange gifts, why not fit them into one of the following categories: you can eat it, drink it, or experience it. Right?!
Last year I saw this posting on Facebook called ‘The Ethical Hierarchy of Gift Purchasing,’ which offered up a few more sustainable living gift ideas.
Basically, the gift giving hierarchy goes a little something like this:
On top…Give memories. Things like event tickets, experience days or memberships make unique, memorable gifts that can be tailor-made for each person on your list. Think plays, concerts, art classes, karate lessons…there is a super fun bouldering gym in Grenzach that we go to—quality time for the whole family!—that would fit the bill nicely for your more active or adventurous peeps.
Below that we have, Give your time. Do you have skills you can offer to a friend or family member? For instance, are you a hair dresser, interior decorator, massage therapist, web designer, baby sitter? Personally, with the cost of hiring a babysitter, it would be no small thing to offer your sister with two kids a night out with her partner so they can both stay sane—and married. Y'know what I’m saying?
Next up, Upcycle. If you’re crafty, you can give a one-of-a-kind piece of refurbished furniture, or repurpose some old toys. Not only will people be amazed and appreciative of your mind-blowing skills, but their compliments to you will make you all feel-good-y inside. It’s a gift for them and you. And if you love this idea but are not crafty, we have a few very cool potential gifts (which aren't chairs or tables), such as amazing creative art lamps from old bike parts, re-purposed wine barrels, jewellery holders and other home deco items in our webshop.
Buy second-hand. Tutti, Ricardo, Ebay as well as physical shops like brockenhauses and antique shops offer such a variety of everything. Online, locating rare, special, or vintage items is easy—or easier—just by typing in a few key words. And you can do it while sipping a hot toddy in your underwear to boot! You can shop ecochair.ch this way as well—but please, if you stop by our showroom, consider dressing in full garb. Danke!
Make. Again, maybe you’re crafty or a fabulous baker. Share those skills, my friend! Knit someone some fingerless gloves, or bake up some homemade pumpkin bread. Trust me, no one will be bummed they didn’t get another candle.
Buy ethical. You know the drill…fair-trade, organic, sweat-shop free… “Change Maker" in Schifflände is a beautiful shop with an impressive array of ethical gifts. The Basel Christmas markets have some beautiful, hand-crafted, high-quality items, which can be perused with Glühwein in hand. And our friends at Unico Market will be running their next event on Dec 21st at Restaurant Union, showcasing local entrepreneurs in fashion, art and design, if you need some last minute gifts.
And of course, when it comes to wrapping up these eco gifts, get creative on waste-free ways…use fabric you might have laying around or pre-used gift wrap or bags.
And I know…you may be feeling reticent to give up your own tradition of putting on Christmas music and singing loudly while rolling out gold and red santa paper, taping on elaborate ribbons and bows, and hearing the crunch of cellophane around gift baskets…But trust me. It’s just as fun—and sustainable for generations to come—to do it in a waste-free way. You won’t miss a thing. Good luck and have fun!
(only 40 days until Christmas)
Carrie and the ecochair.ch team