Most of the time we don’t *really* need the things we buy. And probably our loved ones, friends, acquaintances and colleagues at work don’t need the things they get from Secret Santa either. 

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about global warming and the impact we as individuals have on the environment. Still not sure about the answer, but since rewatching Melancholia to prepare for the inevitable disaster isn’t that productive after all, I wanted to share some great gift ideas with you.

1. For the radicals / true minimalists out there – don’t give anything as a protest against the greedy capitalists destroying our home (the planet). Probably very few will understand and appreciate that gesture, but it is, theoretically, an option.

2. Ask what your people really need. Surprises are great, but how unexpected is a scented candle or another pair of colourful socks? Everyone would be happier if they can actually enjoy the things they get, without accidentally giving them back to you the following year. Disclaimer: Some scented candles and colourful socks are cool, but that’s another story.

3. If you insist on the surprises, at least go local. Or sustainable. Or to make it even more challenging, go local AND sustainable. This will differ on where you are from, but I put together some links to amazing brands creating natural / ethical / local products, based in Łódź, Warsaw and Berlin – places where most of my homies reading this blog live. With guest appearance of one brand from Zurich. All links below.

4. Feeling crafty? Do something yourself. It would have been better to start knitting that pullover from organically dyed yarn months ago, but there is still some time left for a quick outburst of creativity. Just make sure you use recycled paper and non-toxic crayons.

5. Be experiential. Create memories. Go for a walk around the block with your grandma or invite the whole fam to the theatre. It might be an interesting approach to just be more consciously present, productive and useful, and not just around this time of the year. I once got 4 hours of IT support for my birthday – shout-out to Jonid (and Benji!), who helped me build this website – and that was one of the best gifts ever. 

6. And now my favourite: Precious Plastic. It’s a genius combination of all of the above and so much more. It’s hard to call it a gift (although it for sure is a gift to the humanity), it would certainly be a surprise and you can be crafty all together, forever! 

That’s all. Let me know what you got / didn’t get and let’s share some pics of the cute recycled plastic bowls next year.

PS Books are always a good idea. And magazines. Newspapers? Anything to read basically. 

Links:

Berlin:
Stop the water while using me – A true classic.
Kaliko – Handcrafted textile accessories respecting people and the planet.
Folkdays – Handmade fair-trade accessories from original source.
Berliner Winter – Keeps you warm, makes you tipsy.
The Humble Co. – Bamboo toothbrushes available at DM.
Weducer – Coffee cup made in Berlin from used coffee grinds.

Warsaw:
Yope – Liquid soaps, 90% of ingredients are natural ingredients. 100% pretty.
Soyoosh – These cool scented candles I mentioned before. Vegan.
Skład Prosty – Online (I know, not perfect) shop with natural cosmetics.
Nago – Clothes made from certified organic cotton.
Elementy Wear – Pioneers of transparent fashion.
Córka Rybaka – Hand knitted beanies.
Łyko – Who wouldn’t want a linen kimono?
Trzask – Handmade ceramic objects.

Łódź:
Tartaruga – Contemporary sustainable kilims.
Liquid Memory – Collage artist from Łódź.
Pan Tu Nie Stał – Another classic. As they claim, everything is produced locally.

Zurich:
Qwstion – Bags from bananas?

World Wide Web:
Precious Plastic – Open Source solutions to recycling plastic. 

Workshops:
Organic Indigo Workshop in Berlin
Vegan Cheese Making in Berlin 

Thanks for reading!