Thanks to social media, many of us find ourselves in a position where we are hyper-aware of the issues affecting our world—arguably, more than ever before.
Many people have heard of movements like minimalism, or anti-consumerism. It would be difficult to find a person on social media who does not know about environmentalism. Increasingly, people understand that these movements can go hand-in-hand, since consumerism fuels a demand which extracts resources from the environment and contributes to global warming.
As such, there is a growing group of people who are waking up to the reality that shopping is not the harmless hobby they may have once viewed it as. But how can they reconcile this awakening with the most consumeristic—sorry, wonderful— time of year? That is, the holidays—during which love and happiness seem to become synonymous with gift-giving.
A few people have chosen to only purchase gifts which are clutter-free, or which have a clear utility in the life of the gift-receiver—things like chocolates, soap, or fuzzy socks (if the person happens to love fuzzy socks). In the mind of the environmentalist and/or anti-consumerist gift-giver, there is a lower chance of waste in choosing to give this way. Think about it: how many times have you graciously accepted a gift that you knew, with absolute certainty, you had no use for?
Along the lines of a clutter-free gift is the trend of gifting experiences rather than things. These gifts can include concert tickets, a voucher for a spa day, a restaurant gift card, or even funds for a trip. There’s definitely lots of room for creativity when it comes to gifting experiences, but the fundamental attraction of this idea is that good memories are often far more valuable than material possessions.
Still, others use their gift-giving obligations as an opportunity to support local businesses and causes. Purchasing from a local Etsy craftsperson, for instance, often means a gift that is one-of-a-kind and that will support a small business owner. For many, this is a way of reducing the mindless consumerist sentiment attached to the holidays while still giving something special and tangible.
Some gift-givers believe shopping local is a more personal and ethical way to give
Gift-givers might choose to donate to a charity which is close to the recipient’s heart, in their name. This is a sweet way of showing the person that you understand their values and the causes they care for—which is very much in the spirit of the holidays.
A number of people reject the culture of gift-giving altogether. After all, it may be the case that their loved ones already have everything they need. By previously agreeing to have a “gift-free” holiday season, families and friends can reduce a lot of the stress which is associated with the once-necessary holiday shopping; they can focus on the true spirit of the season, which is to be present with loved ones, and enjoy some much-needed time away from work or school.
Those who are able may donate the money they may have otherwise spent on last-minute presents—knowing that their money will be a present to those who truly need it.
Gifts or no gifts, the holidays are for happiness; the holidays are for smiling. Here at TorontoTooth, we aim to give the gift of maintaining a beautiful smile by donating basic oral hygiene supplies like toothbrushes and toothpaste to youth experiencing homelessness in Toronto. We believe that everybody deserves the dignity of being able to brush their teeth every day.
This holiday season, your donation—no matter how small—will help us achieve this goal. In fact, just $10 will allow us to donate four oral hygiene kits to these underprivileged youth. Help us make Toronto smile bright into the new year by donating below!