L'Association pour la santé environnementale du Québec / Environmental Health Association of Québec

A New Trend for Gift-Giving for the Holidays!

The holiday season is here once again. This is a time where you gather with your loved ones, or – as we are in the middle of a pandemic – we can gather instead with those we live with. Despite who we celebrate with, we endeavour to show our love and gratitude of having them in our lives, and the main way we do that is through gift giving. 

The act of exchanging gifts is looked forward to all year long. Some people enjoy watching the reaction others have when opening a gift, and some people enjoy the act of opening gifts. As mentioned before, this holiday season may be slightly different in terms of who you will see and how gifts will be exchanged. With everyone avoiding public places as much as they can, it is no surprise that many people will be shopping online for their gifts. Yes, it’s great that by online shopping, one is following Covid-19 health measures, but, when you think of it, is online shopping truly favorable?

It is no secret that online-purchased items take a while to appear on your doorstep. And when they do, it isn’t only the purchased item that you receive, but also a multitude of packaging material that serves no use to you. In addition to that, the transportation required to bring your purchased good from the warehouse to your address is substantial, and as we are in the 21stcentury and care about our planet, we don’t want that.

So, if we want to avoid stores, and if we do not want to collect packaging material and avoid pollution, how should we acquire our gifts? Well, what if we decide to swap material gifts with giving experiences? Rather than spending money on an item, we create a memory?

If we are purchasing gifts just for the sake of handing them over to someone, they may not be meaningful. And as the holidays are all about being meaningful with people we are close to, don’t we want our gifts to mean something too? 

Think about your material possessions; some of which you bought for yourself because you “needed” it, and some given to you as gifts. I bet most of these items are not being used on a daily basis, if not a weekly basis. They may be placed in your home, somewhere where you notice them but not enough for you to stop and think about what it means to you. 

A memory has the potential to be so many things. It can be as easy as going on a long walk with them through their favorite forest trail, having a deep conversation with them where you converse about important things, driving them to a nice scenery where you can cherish the green space, dancing, cooking, singing, playing a sport, and doing whatever activity they truly enjoy doing. 

I know it sounds different, but memories are what we look back to at the end of the day. They are what we cherish the most. It may not seem like it, but we do. So, this holiday season, rather than give a physical item to your loved one, give the gift of a memory. 

At the end of the day, it isn’t about what you have materially accumulated throughout your life, but it is the memories you hold. 

On behalf of ASEQ-EHAQ, happy holidays everyone!