The choices we make about holiday gift shopping make an impact on the planet and the people we love. We can choose gifts that benefit the earth, support small businesses, or craft an experience. Let’s make small steps towards conscious consumerism, or gift-buying, this holiday season. 
I have brainstormed up some present ideas for all those special people in your life that need a gift this year. And remember, even if you are unable to give a gift in person this year, a thoughtful message and a reminder that you care is just as meaningful. If I've learned anything this year, it's that what truly matters is love and support for each other, gift or no gift.

Gift #1: A houseplant
We’re all around the house a lot more these days, so we have even more time to remember to water the plants. Plants liven up indoor spaces and Zoom backgrounds. They even reduce indoor air pollution. 
A vegetable plant that grows well indoor such as a tomato plant or arugula plant
Support a small business! Many small businesses sell succulent plants in artisan pots and vases. 
If buying a plant requires too much time or money, a simple bouquet of flowers is always a good idea. Bonus: it supports local florist shops that have taken a big hit this year.
To customize a gift, you can paint your own pot or vase.​​​​​​​
Gift #2: Shop-small for jewelry, customized ornaments, wall art, clothing items, and whatever else you can find!
If you’re unable to find what you're looking for from a sustainable or second-hand retailer, make sure to shop small this year. Small businesses need our help more than ever, and they are easy to reach online through platforms like Etsy. The bonus of shopping from independent businesses is that you make the seller's day as well as the person you are gifting it to. 
Jewelry:
Check out the small jewelry business Thirteen by Lyndsey (thirteenbylyndsey.com). She sells great customized name necklaces that go with everything. 
Another incredible independent jewelry business called Runeandlight (runeandlight.com) sells a variety of tasteful pieces all the way from Hawaii.
Art: There are so many small art businesses that sell styles ranging from eclectic posters to vivid photographs, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. 
The small artist Rosa Kussabi (rosa kusabbi.co.uk) creates multicolored magic. Her art, which ranges from posters to tote bags, is so much fun that you may have trouble passing it up for yourself. 
A custom pet portrait makes the perfect gift for parents and grandparents who are best friends with their animals. Etsy features a number of pet-painting artists. Some of my favorites are WowPawtraits (Wowpawtraits.wixsite.com) which creates quirky pet portraits featuring their name. The other shop is DrawYourPortrait (etsy.com/shop/DrawYourPortrait). This artist offers products such as pillows, mugs, or canvases all featuring artistic black-and-white portraits of a special pet. ​​​​​​​
Gift #3: A small musicians’ merch
You can support small artists through merch sales, which also happen to make great gifts for music-lovers. Small artists have lost out on revenue from ticket and merch sales due to the pandemic. If your friends and roommates have a favorite independent artist, a great gift idea is some of those artists' very own merch! Many artists have online websites where they sell T-shirts, bags, hats, and even records. This is such a meaningful and thoughtful gift that shows just how much you care.

Gift #4: A book
If anybody you love is sick of spending time on Zoom meetings and Tik Tok binges, consider giving them a book this year! Books offer an escape from our quarantine-lifestyles, and they also give our eyes a break from long hours staring at screens. You can customize a novel to fit the passions and curiosities of the receiver. Bonus points if you can support a local bookstore through the process. 
Some book suggestions...
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
The Vanishing Half  by Brit Bennet
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
Nights When Nothing Happened by Simon Han
Gift #5: Support BIPOC business
We have the power to support a movement through thoughtful consumerism. This holiday season, make an effort to shop from BIPOC businesses. Help a gift mean more. 
Here are some sustainable and small BIPOC businesses to check-out for this holiday season...
Freshman vintage (www.shopfreshmanvintage.com) is a 2nd-hand clothing store. They sell unique staple pieces at all different price points to match with any budget. 
Doe & Deer (www.doeanddeercrochet.com) sells gorgeous crochet tops, hair bandanas, and other custom products. Their style is perfect for anybody seeking the cottage-core aesthetic this winter.
Ancient blends (shopancientblends.com) offers body care and home products that are locally sourced and carefully made. 
The jewelry store, Abcrete & Co. (shopancientblends.com), sells eye-catching jewelry that is made to last. Abrecete & Co. is on a mission to decrease the maternal mortality crisis that has systematically affected Black womxn across the nation, so a percentage of each purchase goes to Mama Magic, DC.
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