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Week 38: #Waves4Change 2020 Sustainability Challenge: Give a Gift that’s an Experience, Not a Thing

Source – Jake Schwarber

Why Take this Challenge?

The holidays are a wonderful time for connection with family and friends. Showing your affection for others is a powerful expression but must it be in the form of a physical gift? Let’s face it – trying to read the tea leaves to guess what a friend or family member might want for Christmas is stressful, challenging, and often leads to cluttered closets. How often did you bury the sweater your grandma knitted you in the bottom of your dresser as a kid? Extrapolate the waste created by unwanted gifts on a global scale. The current world population is approximately 7.6 billion people. If ten percent of the world’s population received an unwanted gift that weighed just one pound, that leads to 760 million pounds of unwanted stuff . Unless you’re extremely nostalgic, eventually, the fish magnets your Uncle Doug bought while vacationing in Muncie, Indiana are probably going to end up in the trash. Filling our landfills with unwanted junk from the holidays only stresses our waste disposal system and pollutes the environment. Rather than rolling the dice on a physical gift, try gifting an experience instead. Take a friend to a concert. Book a brewery tour for your siblings. Even donating to a meaningful cause (if I may, I suggest this organization) could provide a better, more meaningful connection with whomever you are giving a gift.

How Does this Challenge Benefit Me?

Participating in this challenge enables you to hold more environmentally friendly holiday celebrations. It also provides a way to spend more quality time with the people you care about and shows that you really know what those people’s interests are. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life – the gift of time with people you love is precious.

What if I Already Do This?

Terrific! Keep giving the gift of experiences and encourage your family members to do the same. If someone asks what you want for the holidays, rather than responding with “I don’t know”, ask for an experience instead of a physical gift.


Prep this Weekend for a More Sustainable Week

  • Brainstorm different experiences that would be meaningful for your family and friends
  • Encourage others to gift experiences
  • Be kind and patient to yourself and others. Shifting paradigms is not an easy process