8 Sustainable Gifting Ideas for 2023 Holiday Shopping

As consumers, we have the opportunity to make better choices when shopping for holiday gifts. If we're going to be buying, let's buy better! The most sustainable gift giving options include non physical products like experiences, digital videos, gift cards, etc. We always recommend buying used and reclaiming what you already own whenever possible. But, if family and friends are in need of lifetime trendless staple basics like underwear, tees, tanks or even a classic vegan leather backpack, we're here for you! We hope you can always count on us as the maker of those go-to products that you're proud to own, wear and gift!

Did you know that shopping early in the season has quite a few perks for you, small businesses and the environment? We wanted to have this conversation - slowly and intentionally - before the rush of Black Friday weekend arrives, so we all actually have time and energy to digest!

Below is a curated list from our team of eight ways to gift sustainably this holiday season. If you have other ideas to share, please email or comment on our instagram posts this week!

1. Slow down, write down your gift list and think about the purpose of each gift

2. Curate your conscious gift giving to include only used, reclaimed or ethically made forever closet staple basics (as an alternative to fast consumerism trends)

Examples include:

- Shop from thrift stores in your local city, or seek out a few on your next trip out of town and plan your gifts months or even a year ahead

- Reclaim an old frame and print a special photo to include inside!

- Shop products made from renewable materials

- Shop energy-efficient products

- Seek good ole fashioned products made-to-last 

- Seek products that transparently show their supply chain. Truly impactful change goes beyond the customer journey and begins early on in the supply chains. By supporting brands who consciously source responsibly and ethically made materials, consumers can help significantly minimize their environmental footprint - especially those associated with their purchases.

Sustainable fashion brands who're conscious about transparently sharing more about paying living wages, sourcing eco-friendly fabrics and giving back all will shout this from the rooftops. For example, we have two whole pages dedicated to our ethical process and our impact because we're so proud to share about our mission.

You'll see the red flags, if you look more closely into the product details or the "about" section, and you either see information (like polyester fabrics) or about the sewing team left out, it's likely for a reason.

Want to find more impact driven businesses to shop with and support this holiday? One of our partners, Imagine5, helps financially support our underwear donation empowerment events in addition to funding our seamstress training and continuing education initiatives. We're not the only impact business they support. Head to imagine5.com to read stories about a greener and more sustainable future featuring the businesses on the front lines.


3. Gift an Experience

The great Simon Sinek makes a great point...Time and energy are non-redeemable commodities. They're worth a lot more than money to the recipient. The definition of love is someone who gives without desire for return, and they give time and energy. 

Ideas for gifting experiences might include:

- Support your local ballet, neighborhood theatre or concert venue and buy tickets to a show for you and your loved one

- Love to get crafty? Check our airbnb experiences and look for a jewelry making class, walking tour or cooking class in your local city

- Here at MADI Apparel, we love hosting natural dye workshops, painting classes and even concerts. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming event here in our Kansas City flagship store, Slow Motion Goods


4. Gift something hand made or reclaimed... by you!

Continuing the point made by Simon Sinek above, it's proven that even a hand made card sent via snail mail can go a lot farther than the sender even imagines. Receiving a hand made card and letter in the mail feels so rare these days, and it's really the thought that counts. 

Ideas for hand made and re-claimed gifts:

- Paint and frame your own watercolor print with a special note on the back

- Find paper scraps and leather scraps and make your own notebook

- Pass a book you cherish on to a friend who might find interest and value in it. Giving away a personal book might seem small, but to readers this is a big deal and very special. Write a note on the inside flap with the date explaining why this book is perfect for. 

Book recommendation for conscious consumers interested in sustainable living: The Art of Ethical Fashion

Did you hear? Our founder Hayley wrote and designed a beautiful coffee table book on the topic of Ethical Fashion Manufacturing. Idea : buy it for yourself to read and then gift to a friend when you're done around the holidays!

4. Gift a Gift Card

We've all been the on the receiving end of a gift that either isn't up your alley, isn't your size, or is something you already own. Returns and exchanges can be a pain especially around the holiday, so sometimes it's better to give a gift card so your friend or family member can pick out exactly what they want from their favorite brand!

MADI Apparel gift cards are currently 25% off with our Bigger Than Black Friday Sale discount code

Gift cards are also great sustainable stocking stuffer gift ideas for minimalist recipients to replace candy or dysfunctional tchotchkes.

Want to go even further on your sustainable gift giving mission? Look to buy either digital (non physical) gift cards and ask recipient NOT to print it. Or, look for non plastic gift cards like the reloadable paper ones we have at MADI Apparel. 


5. Reduce Packaging Waste 

Minimize packaging waste by using recycled or compostable materials or reusable bags. We use biodegradable cotton bags in our Kansas City shop. Customers can request "no bag", or take home our reusable one and use for jewelry or packing dirty underwear during travel!

It could also be fun to consider a "BYO Bag" policy like Aldi or Buffalo Exchange.

6. Eco-friendly Shipping Options

We buy our compostable shipping mailers and compostable tape from Better Packaging. If you're planning to ship gifts to friends and family in the next few weeks, they're even currently having a huge sale on expiring envelopes that must be mailed soon before they start breaking down into the environment (cool huh?!)


7. Shop Early Sales

Like our Bigger Than Black Friday sale, for example!

We're offering a bigger discount than black friday to encourage that you shop early so we can reduce the rush of customers on a single day. This will help decrease congestion and emissions associated with transport. Thanks to Better Packaging for this tip, we're always growing and learned a lesson here!

Order ground shipping: Resist the temptation to choose free express shipping as it has a much higher carbon footprint than a regular courier service!

8. How about the ole "my presence is your present" trick?

Okay, we know this isn't really a gift, but what if instead of gifting something physical, you gifted your loved one a day of volunteering alongside them at a cause that means a lot to them?
Last year, at one of our in-person underwear donation drop-off empowerment events, a mother and daughter volunteered together, taking initiative to put together a gratitude wall for residents attending the event. We traveled to Lotus House - the largest women's shelter in the country, and it was so fun to see staff, residents and volunteers come together for a special day. Nothing warms the heart more than spending quality time volunteering for a cause together with your loved one!



October 26, 2023 — Team MADI

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.