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12 Days of Sustainable Giving

Suggestions to make your holiday season a little easier on the wallet and on the planet

December 3, 2018 — 

December is a time for gathering, relaxing and reflecting on the past year’s events. This holiday season, the Office of Sustainability challenges you to think outside the gift box when planning events and giving gifts. Follow along with our twelve days of suggestions to make your holiday season a little easier on the wallet and on the planet:

Day 1: Experiences vs. Material Items

Instead of purchasing material goods as a gift, opt to purchase experiences like going bowling, to the museum or engage in an art class with a loved one. For the kids in your family, parents will thank you when you give an experiential gift rather than another battery-operated toy to put away – family memberships to local museums, passes to a kids center or movie theatre, or tickets to live theatre are all great choices.

Day 2: Second Hand Creations

Take a friend and go on an adventure to find second hand gifts from your local thrift shop. While you’re there, why not look for a new outfit for that holiday party you have coming up? Often enough you will find brand new or close to new items which give character to your giving!

Day 3: Fair Trade Food

Plan a holiday gathering that includes local, fair trade, direct trade or sustainably raised food, beverages and treats. Green Action Centre has a great list of resources on eating local in the winter. Food Matters Manitoba has a handout on where to find Traditional Indigenous Foods in Winnipeg and Fair Trade Manitoba’s search feature can help you find fair trade sugar, cocoa and more for your holiday baking and edible gifts.

Day 4: Reusable & Practical Wrapping

If you do wrap up a gift, use recycled paper, reusable containers or bags, or practical items like dishtowels to add a sustainable flare to any present.

Day 5: Outdoor Adventures

Winnipeg and Manitoba have a lot to offer! Give the gift of adventure by taking a friend ice-skating, sledding or for a nature walk. There are plenty of unique places to do so like Fort Whyte Alive, The Forks or even right here on the U of M campus.

Day 6: Handmade Gifts

Out of gift ideas? Try searching “easy handmade gifts” for an endless list of items you can add your personal artistic touch. Go one-step further by making those items out of reused and repurposed materials. You can also create your own plant or herb growing kits. This gift will continue to grow and add flavour in the kitchen all year round!

Day 7: Travel with a Buddy

Travelling out of town? Try finding other friends to carpool with on GoManitoba, try out the bus or train to your final destination. Time spent together is sure to be a blast or at least a great story to tell!

Day 8: Clothing Swap

Host a clothing swap during your holidays to swap out some old pieces and refresh with new items for the second semester. Donate all remaining clothes to a local shelter in need.

Day 9: Board Games

Board games are a great way to spend time with friends and family over the holidays. Visit a Winnipeg board game cafe or play some of the classics you already have at home. Depending on the crowd, you may want to avoid Monopoly…

Day 10: Donate

Make a donation in someone’s name this holiday. Donate to a local charity in a friend or family’s name and let them know what their donation is going towards. Have U of M alumni in the family or friend group? Consider donating to the U of M’s Front and Centre campaign. A guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Day 11: Volunteer Your Time

Gather up a group of friends and family to volunteer at a local non-profit. The more hands on deck, the better. Check out the list of volunteer opportunities in Winnipeg on the Volunteer Manitoba website.

Day 12: Quality Time

In the end, quality time with loved ones is the greatest gift you can give. Shut down your electronics and dive into a conversation and quality time.



Let us know what sustainable choices you are making this holiday season! Post your ideas or creations on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #umsustainability. Do not forget to follow us at @SustainableUofM.


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