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10 Gifts Everyone Will Love, Including Mother Earth

Tis the season for gingerbread cookies, piney christmas trees and shopping struggles.

Like everything in my life, I either incessantly obsess over something to unhealthy extremes are strongly dislike if not loathe entirely. Well, Christmas and the holiday season in general is one of those that I’m a lunatic about. What’s not to love? Michael Buble’s Christmas album, obnoxiously repetitive questions about what you’re doing with your life around the dinner table, your drunk aunt spilling family secrets and of course, eating your weight in apple pies. That’s what Christmas is all about isn’t it?

Yet, despite the true meaning of Christmas, gifts still hold precedence.

Well, The Grinch may have had a good point. On average, one out of three people will return at least one holiday item. In monetary scale, holiday merchandise returns sit at $63.5 billion, a 2% increase than normal returns (8%). Clothing remains the top of the purchase, and subsequently, the top of the return list. Wanna know where it all ends up?

In landfills and incinerators.

As high as 84% of returned apparel ends up in landfills. You might be thinking, can’t retailers just re-sell it or donate it. Well, it’s not that easy. First, the supply chain is an extremely complex ecosystem, with a lot of levels and players and very little transparency. The fashion industry is one of the slowest to adopt technology and only until recently, when poised with serious threats of failure, did that change. In short, when consumers purchase clothes (with or without the intention of returning the item), the distribution centers inform the factories in order to replenish stock. By the time the distribution centers and stores receive the items to replenish stock, consumers have already returned it resulting in a surplus. Like everything that’s unwanted in abundance, it’s sent to waste.

When it comes to apparel specifically, the dye of the fabric makes the textile incapable of being repurposed. When it comes to donation, there’s plenty of it, too much actually, hence the landfills. When America ships unwanted clothing to India and Africa for instance, they are filled with their heads of our clothing. They don’t need any more. The problem isn’t so much donation, it’s distribution. But regardless, that detail is so minute compared to our drastic increase in overconsumption.

This time next year, we’ll have an easy solution for apparel gift shopping but in the meantime, we want to highlight some of our favorites that doesn’t require knowing the size of the individual. Plus they’ll absolutely love it, they couldn’t even fathom returning it.

10. An Eco-Friendly Getaway

Give a gift of experience. Every year, people set out a goal to travel more but rarely go through with it, much less their other goals of losing weight, getting a promotion, etc. Whether it’s an epic hike to Mount Kilimanjaro, a romantic trip to Italy, or a cultural taste of Cuba, the memories of an experience will last a lifetime.

Embrace Self Care

9. Nevermind my spiel of environmental degradation and over consumption, 2017 was a tough year for many reasons. Between the natural disasters affecting millions to violence and terror attacks worldwide, taking care of yourself is too often not prioritized. I’m a huge advocate of reflection and mindfulness - it’s the best way to get to know yourself, improve yourself and love yourself. MNDFL and Operation Muse in New York are both on a mission to make people feel good about themselves through mind hacking, spirituality hunting, meditation classes.

8. A Life-Changing Book

We live in an information-overload society but nothing is more important to your health, success and mind than knowledge. Learning is growing. Knowledge is power. Some of my personal favorites are Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss, a compilation of life hacks. How to Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil because he’s just a lunatic and I’m awed by his erudition. Unscripted by MJ DeMarco because no one should be conformed to mediocrity. It’s the ultimate book to transform the wantrepreneurs to entrepreneurs. 1984 by George Orwell because it’s all too real.

7. Nomatic backpack - aka the Mary Poppins Backpack

‍I used to collect boots but now apparently I collect backpacks. Although I’m constantly made fun of for my backup, I don’t care. I pre-ordered this bad boy 6 months in advance and it was the best investment of the year. I can literally fit my entire life in it. It’s perfect for the busy bee who’s constantly on the go. Buy it here.

6. Workshops or Classes

Remember that hobby you said you would try in 2017? What about the hobby in 2016? 2015? The first step to actually committing to something, is to just start. Make it easy for someone else and buy some cool workshops or classes. Learn how to be a mixologist with Apotheke Academy or Bar Academy 101 or channel your inner Mozart with piano classes. There’s an assortment of online classes as well that fuels our mind: Udemy, Lynda, edX, etc.

5. Gift of Sound

I’ve said before how music has the power to change the world - whether you’re producing it or experiencing it, nothing is as primitive and rooted in emotions as music is. Whether it’s an aggressive 3 day festival or a Friday night show, give a gift that comforts the heart, soothes the soul and doesn’t hurt the environment.

4. Wine Clubs

I used to HATE Gary Vaynerchuk. Could not bear listening to him. I thought he was a pompous, egotistical ass who loved the sound of his own voice. But now, I fucking love him (again, back to the extremes noted above). Whether it’s his Monthly Wine Club or another club like Tomasello Winery, gifting someone with a guarantee of a fully stocked wine supply is a gift handed from the heavens.

3. Goodies That Give Back

We all like to think we’re charitable and giving in nature but in reality, it’s often very difficult for us to be. Companies that give back with every purchase is an easy way to make an impact and still look stylish. Some of our favorites include this Faith, Gold Bar Necklace from Starfish Project which is equivalent to 2 weeks of shelter for exploited women. MY SISTER produces ethical and sustainable apparel while donating to nonprofits that are helping fight trafficking. They also employ survivors as part of their aftercare support.

2. Save a Life, Fix a Foot, Deworm a Population

One of the main reasons it’s so difficult for us to donate to charity is due to a lacking of transparent information. Not only is it challenging to actually find a charity to donate to, how would you even know if it’s legit. When I was in high school, I started donating monthly to UNICEF and figured because it’s the UN - it’s gotta be legit. Well, long story short, I’ve learned how crucial it is to do research before giving to a charity.

And, I’ve done a boatload of research already, so figured I’d share it with you to give something meaningful this season. You can give a llama to an impoverished family, cure clubfoot (a condition in which one or both feet are twisted or deformed), or deworm a child for as little as 50 cents.

1. This is Why I'm Broke

Seriously, anything from this site. This will most likely be the reason you almost get fired for lack of production and never have any money.

About the Author

Stacy Zolnikov

Stacy is the CEO and Co-Founder of this crazy little mission aimed at solving the fashion industry's “fit problem” and saving the environment at the same time. She reads a lot and when her mind can’t handle any more information, she often spits it out in a sarcastically driven, but research based article.

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