Three Zero Shopping Gift-exchange Ideas

Each year, the first snowfall heralds the start of the classic holiday gift-exchange tradition. Is finding that perfect idea getting you in a tizzy? Are you worried your gift will simply end up in the back of a drawer? This year, why not try this new “zero shopping” gift concept—more enjoyable and kinder to both planet and wallet. Here are some ideas that might inspire you:

Swap services of homemade gifts.

Reinvent the way you exchange gifts by making room for individual talent and creativity—swap services or homemade gifts! We all have something to offer: a much-loved spaghetti sauce, a knack for repairing holey socks, an evening of babysitting, a secret tip for making the perfect pizza crust. The simplest ideas often make the best gifts!

Offer a second-hand gift: children’s toys.

As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Easy, sensible, yet different: offer a second‑hand gift. We all have items of value that we no longer use but could be enjoyed by someone else. This year, offer them as gifts!

For young and old alike!

Cascades realized this idea was a hit with kids too, when the Odyssée public elementary school in Ottawa held its own toy exchange activity. Children of different ages were invited to swap a toy with a friend. In addition to teaching children the value of sharing and of responsible consumerism, this activity demonstrated how a simple gesture can go a long way.

Look into a cause.

Last but not least, make a difference by offering a personalized gift to a social project or charity. What could be easier! Find out which issues are important to the person you have in mind. Say, for example, your mother’s a regular blood donor. Invite your family to a blood collection centre. Your colleague is an animal lover? Give to a local animal shelter in his or her name.

There are many ways to make a difference during the holiday season. These may include such “green” gestures as taking the time to choose one’s tree or rethinking one’s gift-wrapping options. The benefit is twofold. It will improve your impact on the environment and raise awareness among your family and friends!