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How to responsibly buy your Christmas gifts in 2020?

Each year, Republik tries to bring awareness to its community's impact on holiday shopping. Despite challenges from last year, it has also given exposure to messages that many have been trying to put forward for a long time. With these 5 commandments, learn to apply what 2020 has taught us for holiday shopping.

1. Online Shopping

Whether to limit contact or for its convenience, online shopping has increased in recent months. This purchasing method is undoubtedly more practical, but what about its ecological impact? Here are the three golden rules to get the most out of this service that is not running out of steam any time soon, especially with the holidays coming up.

Say no to express delivery.
These are partially-filled trucks travelling great distances to deliver your parcels in the shortest possible time. Instead, choose for regular delivery that will optimize the delivery route planning.

Avoid returns.
Many are accustomed to ordering extra sizes to try at home, but this habit doubles transportation, thus increasing GHG emissions.

Find certified FFP (Frustration Free Packaging).
While buying through platforms such as Amazon is not encouraged, there are ways to identify minimalist packaging or recycled materials. If you are buying from a small business, contact them directly and ask to reduce the amount of bubble wrap or unnecessary cardboard from your order.

List of companies that make their practices greener creatively.

Minuit Moins Cinq uses pages of old books and magazines to create shipping envelopes.
Lush offers different gift packaging choices, including recycled cotton rags from t-shirts!
Odeyalo uses a bike delivery service for Montreal residents.
BKIND has pledged to plant trees to compensate for its Black Friday emails.

2. Get started early

It's no secret that the postal services are swamped in the weeks before the holidays. Knowing that a good majority of Quebecers will favour virtual shopping, plan your purchases earlier than usual to avoid delays.

Besides point #1 about fast delivery and its impact on the environment, we must also consider small businesses. They deal with reduced staff, arduous supply management, and overwhelming demand anticipation during these busy times. The best act of kindness you can offer is to plan your purchases, to give them a moment's rest before New Year's Eve.

3. Awareness

If the year 2020 has shaken us with a global pandemic, it is no less of a significant societal issue. We've addressed racism with Black Lives Matter issues, consent with the wave of denunciations, grossophobia, inclusiveness, diversity, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to take concrete action to encourage these movements and the communities associated with them, we offer you some gift ideas.

Take some time to reflect on your present. Think about the message you are sending through it, and feel free to write it on the card to whom you are giving it. After all, it's the ideal occasion to discuss these topics.

4. Buy local

What if we use our famous Panier Bleu for all our holiday finds? After a year of stressing the importance of supporting local businesses, we take this opportunity to share with you once again the benefits of choosing gifts made in Quebec:

  • Reducing shipping transportation and consequently, the GHGs emitted.
  • Saving local jobs and businesses.
  • Connecting with local producers and artisans.
  • Encouraging a more ethical industry that provides a healthy work environment.
  • Adding flavour to your table with fresh produce and unique ingredients.
  • Spreading the many talents of the people from here.

To make informed decisions or to learn more about the concept of buying local, we invite you to take a look at our article on the subject. Don't know where to start? Check out these websites: Signé local, Le Panier Bleu, and Aliments Québec.

5. Think about the planet

Is your gift really useful? Is it necessary? How long will it last?
Before buying your gift, make sure to ask yourself these questions to avoid making purchases that cause more harm to our planet. The good news is that there's no lack of imagination when it comes to sustainable gift ideas.

With this in mind, here are our gift options that will benefit the planet and the people who receive them.

  • A plantable greeting card from Flowerink.
  • An experience such as a trip to the spa, a restaurant date, or nature activities.
  • Stay at a luxurious and eco-friendly loft, like Zoobox at Le Vertendre, or a cabin on stilts at Kabania.
  • Organize a family contest where the winners choose an organization and donate the amount usually spent on the gift exchange.
  • Add some greenery: a plant, herbs, or seedlings.
  • A yoga, spinning class or gym subscription.
  • Tools and accessories to ease a transition to a zero-waste lifestyle (the reusable container La tasse, bamboo utensils and toothbrushes, or reusable bags from Demain Demain).
  • An authentic design made by you: if a newfound hobby or a hidden talent has emerged in recent months, why not offer it? For instance, a knit, a homemade exfoliator or your last wintergreen harvest.

Curious to learn more about the little things that make for a more eco-responsible holiday season? Our ultimate guide can answer all your questions from the table to choosing a Christmas tree, decorations, and outfits. Overall, take the time to select your gifts. You'll be rewarded with a smile, but also knowing that you made a small – but meaningful impact.


As a content editor, Jenève she helps everyone, colleagues and clients alike, to review their consumption habits in order to make them more responsible.