Procrastinated buying gifts? The solution is ‘Buy Less, Give More.’

Uh oh, the holidays are right around the corner! Luckily, there is a way to secure meaningful gifts, avoid supply chain hold-ups, and protect the environment: Buy Less, Give More.

Green living

Sander Kushen

Former Consumer Advocate, CALPIRG

Uh oh, December is almost over!

Yes, you read that right. If you are like me, you have procrastinated (again) this year on shopping for holiday gifts. Maybe it’s the pressure of finding something perfect, or that a big work assignment kept you busy, or that you just don’t enjoy shopping. No matter what your excuse is, time is running out. No matter who it’s for—your significant other, your mother-in-law, or your best friend who always gets you something great—it’s time to get serious about holiday shopping. 

But wait! Adding to the pressure is a conundrum unique to 2021: supply-chain backlogs. Not only do you still need gifts, but there is a good chance that what you thought would be a perfect present will be stuck on a cargo ship until mid-January. What was an already stressful situation now seems like an unsolvable dilemma. What do you do? 

Luckily, there is a way to secure meaningful gifts, avoid the supply chain hold-ups, and (as a bonus) protect the environment and produce less waste. The solution: Buy Less, Give More.

Let’s take a step back. Our culture of holiday giving leans heavily on buying more stuff, whether or not we actually need it. As you might be familiar, the connection between more stuff and happiness is… tenuous at best. At least personally speaking, I know that receiving a new espresso machine, TV, or nice watch is nice in the moment, but generally doesn’t lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

On top of that, more ‘stuff’ often means more waste. Not only does it lead to more clutter around the house, but ultimately more garbage in our landfills and litter in our oceans.

So what kind of gifts can reduce waste, show our loved ones we care, and (let us not forget the urgency) can be prepared quickly and without relying on the overburdened supply chain? That’s exactly what our Buy Less, Give More guide lays out.

The idea here is that sometimes a meal cooked with care, the opportunity to experience something new, or a long-forgotten refurbished gift can be the most meaningful present someone receives this year. These gifts are ways of showing you care and creating memories that aren’t dependent on physical gifts.

That’s why my ‘shopping’ list includes gifts like:

  • Three tickets to see a stand-up comedian, so my parents and I can all have an evening of laughter together

  • A homemade heath bar ice cream cake for my brother (one of his favorites)

  • One of my recently finished books, with a personal note written inside for my grandma.

So in the end, last-minute holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a mad dash for gifts after all. Please, be like me and use our guide as a way to reduce waste, alleviate stress, and give even more this holiday season!


Sander Kushen

Former Consumer Advocate, CALPIRG

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