It’s time to change the way we think about the holidays.
We’re heading towards a more connected and sustainable economy. Communities are choosing to work together to solve common problems, rather than going it alone. Companies, cooperatives, and individuals are working together for a common purpose. This can be seen in the growth of the sharing economy, the renewed interest in cooperatives, and the increased amount of new companies that dedicate themselves to a social mission. We’re calling it New Mutualism.
With all of this going on, it’s a perfect time to start thinking about holiday gift-giving in a new way. Let’s celebrate the holidays in the New Mutualist spirit!
Here are a few ideas for changing the way you buy gifts this year:
1. B Corps Holiday Gifts
When a company is awarded B Corps certification, it means that they’ve met high standards of social and environmental performance. In other words, they’re a sustainable business that is looking to redefine what it means to be a success in the business world. At this point there are over 850 certified B Corp companies from around the world. Lucky for us, they’ve set up a Pinterest board that is full of wonderful (sustainable) gifts. You’ll have no problem finding a New Mutualist gift for your friend or loved one here!
2. Newman's Own Gift Basket
You’ve heard of Newman’s Own, but did you know that all of their after-tax profits are given to the Newman's Own Foundation and then dispensed to charities throughout the U.S.? It’s true! In fact, they’ve donated over $370 million to thousands of charities since 1982. Not bad, huh? If you buy Newman’s Own, your money goes to charity. It’s that simple. So why not grab some of your favorite Newman’s Own products, put them in a nice basket, and gift it?
3. REI Membership / Sports Goodies
A lot of cooperative organizations are hiding in plain sight. Not only is REI one of them, it’s actually the nation’s largest consumer cooperative! They also donate millions to conservation efforts each year. Is there an outdoorsy-type in your life that needs some new gear? Why not buy them a lifetime membership to REI ($20) and some gloves or a scarf to keep them warm this Winter? Check out REI’s membership page to see all of the beenfits that come with being a member.
4. Give the Gift of Credit, the Gift That Keeps on Giving
Did you have a grandparent open up a bank account for you when you were little and maybe leave $20 or $100 in there? I did. Unfortunately, there have been plenty of reasons to not use big banks in the past couple of years. But everyone needs to keep their money somewhere, so why not open an account for the little one in your life at a local credit union? Credit unions are cooperatively-owned and prioritize the needs of their members over profit margins. We heart credit unions and your nephew probably will too. Not sure where a credit union is in your area? Check out this handy credit union finder.
A laptop case made from recycled firefighter uniforms? Yep, that exists. Oh, and did we mention that a portion of each item sold goes towards providing art supplies for children in the developing world? Gathering resources from the local community in order to create new products that benefit those in need? Sounds like New Mutualism to me!
Gifts are always better when they have a story behind them, right? SERRV partners with low-income artisans and farmers from around the world and works to eradicate poverty by marketing their products and foods. You aren’t going to find these items in stores, and anything that you will won’t be half as cool. They even have a holiday section!
Who says you even need money for gifts? OurGoods is a community of artists, designers, and other creatives that want to encourage the act of bartering for objects, skills, and space. That’s right, no money is necessary! Sounds like Burning Man without the camping and “cool down” tent, I know. The reality is that if you’re a creative person (and I know you are), you can most likely find someone with some truly unique objects that would make for wonderful holiday gifts.
8. Do it Yourself
You’re a creative bunch, freelancers, and just as you should know what your clients want for your projects, it’s good to go into the holidays with an idea of what makes your friends and loved ones smile.
Have you heard about this guy? The circumstances are unfortunate, yes, but there’s a lesson there: He knew how to make his wife smile, and by doing so he touched the entire world. And all he did was take a picture of himself in a pink tutu! It could be a picture, a song, maybe just some homemade cookies! As cliched as it is, gifts with meaning and thought behind them are always the best.