November 28, 2022

A Guide to Conscious Holiday Shopping

Tips for creating a positive impact with your spending during the holiday season or all year long.

Black Friday is behind us. The frantic deals and overwhelming marketing emails have subsided. As your turkey hangover fades and the sound of Mariah Carey fills the air, our sights settle in on our naughty and nice lists. Free shipping, Amazon convenience, and chain store prices are enticing, but this holiday season, consider buying gifts more consciously, to support communities and causes that matter to you, and make a lasting impact with your gifts.

Check out our tips to conscious holiday shopping to add a little extra cheer to your holiday gifts.

1. Shop Local

Supporting and celebrating small businesses in your community has a huge impact beyond just the satisfaction of a dollar well spent. Small businesses increase the number of local jobs available, generate revenue that converts to local taxes feeding the local economy and organizations like school districts and police forces, and contribute to the community’s character and culture.

Did you know that as many as 20% of small businesses rely on holiday sales to offset slower times during the year. Holiday sales can mean the difference between staying open and closing for many small businesses.

Don’t know where to start? Find artisan markets in your area! Here in Denver there are over 20 and even more if you venture outside Denver into the surrounding towns and mountain communities.

Can’t think of the perfect gift? Grab a gift card to a local business! Retail shops, spas, and restaurants are great places to give certificates to encourage local spending all year round.

2. Support Marginalized Communities

For those willing to spend a little extra time planning your purchases, consider seeking out local small businesses that are owned by women, minorities, or members of the LGBTQIA community.

At the state level, many states have government organizations that help to catalog businesses owned by minorities. For instance, in Colorado, the Office of Economic Development & International Trade has a Minority Business Directory, the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce has a business directory of businesses owned by members of the LGBTQIA community, and Colorado’s Women’s Chamber of Commerce has its own directory of female-owned businesses.

At the national level, there are a number of business directories that can help you connect with the community you’re interested in supporting. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gathered a list of 15 Black-Owned Small Business Directories to help and connect conscious consumers with black-owned businesses around the country. Websites like QueerCos exist to help make the search for LGBTQIA-owned businesses more accessible. And Google has added a new feature where merchants in the US with a verified Google business profile can add labels like “Identifies as LGBTQ+ owned” or “Identifies as Women-owned” on their profile.

If you have a specific category or gift in mind, search “_____ -owned ____ stores in _____.” For instance, looking to grab the newest Stephen King novel for your grandmother? The search “black-owned bookstores in Denver” returns Denver’s only black, female owned bookstore, Matter.

3. Gifts that Give Back

We all know the “buy one, give one” concept, made famous by Toms in 2006. Their one-for-one model inspired other businesses to do the same. Companies like Bombas, SoapBox, and Madi Apparel give their products back to communities in need. Others like Yoobi, Pottery Awesomeness, and Adventurist Backpack Co. donate a percentage of sales to causes and organizations that align with their mission. So when you’re grabbing socks and soap for those stockings, find an option that fills the stockings of others too.

Want to find a specific cause to support with your purchases this season? Use Charity Navigator! Their mission, to make impactful giving easier for all, comes to life through a directory of nearly 200,000 charities rated so you can give with confidence.

4. If you MUST use Amazon, use Smile.Amazon instead!

We all fall prey to the last-minute gift grab. When deploying the convenience of Amazon, use the AmazonSmile program. At no cost to you, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. When you sign up, you can choose from over one million organizations to support, and then all you have to do is shop through the URL in your web browser or activate the program on your Amazon Shopping app.

In her book “Proposals for the Feminine Economy", Jennifer Armbrust wrote, “Visualize money as water — consider how it flows.” This holiday season employ conscious spending practices and watch your money flow into communities in need.

Need help integrating conscious giving into your brand’s ecosystem? Partner with R&Co. Branding to develop your giving strategy.