Literature to Life: Three Timeless Must-Know Gift-Giving Tips You Need

From my previous post “Literature to Life: We Eat Too Many Paper Plates,” I analyzed annie ross’ Pots and Other Living Beings (2019) to continue ongoing discussions pertaining to recent climate strikes. With the upcoming Black Friday sale and holidays next month, I want to suggest a few alternatives for everyone to think about when planning their purchases. Since many of us are students and want to ensure we are making a valuable investment in the items we find for our friends and family members, I have a few tips to help you make valuable purchases that are friendly to the environment and your bank account!

Note: I am using the example of a friend for these tips as an example, but these tips apply to any group setting, your family and extended relatives, friends, or significant other as well!

Buy your friend YOUR TIME!

Sometimes gifts do not last long after one use – like bath bombs or fast-fashion items that wear out after a couple of washes. An alternative to single-use items is to share an experience together. A few examples could be attending a holiday lights festival, going on that Christmas train tour at Stanley Park, exploring a Christmas market, splurging on that high tea experience you keep seeing on your Instagram feed, or locking yourselves together trying to find your way out an escape room! 

Make your own gifts: FOOD and TREATS!

Everyone eats. This gives you the opportunity to reveal your thoughtful and caring personality when you make your friend’s favourite meal or sweet treat for him or her! Taking the time to think, plan, and carry-out a cooking or baking recipe shows how thoughtful your gift is. Like the saying, “the way to a person’s heart is through his or her stomach!” You could ALSO make it a group experience by cooking or baking together as a fun and appetizing bonding activity!

If cooking if not your forte, fret not! There are endless lists of restaurants to experience with your friends in Vancouver. This option ties together tip number one – you will create lasting memories from visiting new places and tasting new cuisines! 

Check out Narcity’s “31 Bucket List Restaurants You Must Try in Vancouver Before You Die.

I have tried a few from Narcity’s list, such as restaurants number two, four, eleven, nineteen, and twenty-nine. The food at restaurant number two makes me drool just thinking about it! Like the other restaurants on this list, the food at restaurant number two is beyond “good” and ensure I return for another serving with its authentic flavours! 

Invest your money EFFECTIVELY and MINDFULLY

If you are planning to purchase an item to spread that holiday joy of gift-giving this year, you can still make mindful purchases by answering these questions: 

            “How useful will this item be for him or her?”

            “Will it bring him or her joy for more than one use?”

            “Is there a more sustainable item that is a friendly alternative?”

Nobody wants to buy an item that is not appreciated. None of us wants to see a gift they invested in tucked away to the corner of a shelf, dusty, and forgotten. Take the extra minute or two to think about the usefulness of the item. Not only will your purchase be useful and beneficial to him or her but you can feel reassured that your investment is valuable to them!


In addition to annie ross’ Pots and Other Living Beings, I drew inspiration from YouTube influencers Sorelle Amore, Ashley, also known as bestdressed, Sarah Therese, Sedona Christina, and Madeleine Olivia. Each influencer shares sustainable gift-giving ideas that are friendly to your pockets and the environment. 

SORELLE AMORE – @sorelleamore on Instagram

Sorelle Amore expands more on gift ideas that “save your wallet and the world” in her video “12 Affordable Christmas Minimalist Gift Ideas (Save Your Wallet and The World).” She explains and educates viewers about different love languages that are beyond materialistic items that everyone can learn and consider implementing in their own gifts.  

I am not saying everyone needs to be minimalist but planning and thinking about our purchases to ensure we buy a valuable object or experience makes the gift more meaningful and useful to whomever is utilizing the gift. 

ASHLEY A.K.A. BESTDRESSED – @best.dressed on Instagram

Ashley has a thrift flip series that showcases her crafty skills to “turn ugly clothes into cute clothes.” In her video, “THRIFT FLIP // turning ugly clothes into cute clothes,” Ashley shares her journey and findings from the thrift store before demonstrating ways to redesign the pieces of clothing to her preference.

Interesting to Note:Going thrift shop shopping is a great start to making sustainable purchases because you can find a variety of clothing for an affordable price without supporting the fast-fashion industry production of new clothing! 

SARAH THERESE – @sarahtherese on Instagram

Another influencer who continuously implements thrift shopping in her lifestyle is Sarah Therese. Sarah is a young mother of three who works from home to share her tips and tricks for beauty, hair, and a minimalist lifestyle. She discusses her thrift shop haul for her home in her video “THRIFT with Me & HUGE HAUL! Home Décor, Clothing Try On & More!” Sarah talks about the process she undergoes to find goodies for her home and closet when sifting through the wide variety items at her local thrift shop. 

SEDONA CHRISTINA – @sedonachristina on Instagram

In the video “sustainable gift guide & last minute zero waste experience gifts 2018,” Christina shares ten material and ten non-material gift ideas that are sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives such as replacing the idea of makeup from Sephora with makeup from elate cosmetics. Christina also extends her tips beyond makeup toward zero-waste swaps for daily cleaning supplies, shampoo and conditioner products, and sustainable shopping sprees from thrift shops. 

Interesting to Note: ELATE COSMETICS – @elatecosmetics on Instagram

elate cosmetics is based in Vancouver! (Yay local!) Each component used to create a powdered compact and mascara tube can be easily separated for compost or to be recycled. They also took an extra step to make the packaging their “Pressed Eye Colour” replacements with “plantable seed paper.” 

MADELEINE OLIVIA – @madeleineolivia on Instagram

Madeleine’s channel focuses on living sustainably from the kitchen, closet, to the restroom! In her most recent video “Come Sustainable + Vintage Shopping with Me! + Try on Haul,” Madeleine shares her ways to shop sustainably by planning and taking the time to research the clothing companies she invests in. She shares more about Shoptagr who supports her sustainable shopping for clothes in her video that is friendly to the environment and her wallet by purchasing items that will last for a long time in replacement to fast-fashion pieces.  

For more details about each influencers’ channel, check out their YouTube videos in the above links to learn more about other ways to live sustainably to reduce excess consumption and make mindful decisions to maximize our money and resources efficiently.

With those tips and notes in mind, I wish everyone a rewarding shopping spree filled with sustainable and valuable purchases this Black Friday and holiday season!

Works Cited:

Ashley. “THRIFT FLIP // turning ugly clothes into cute clothes.” YouTube. Published on July 18, 2019. Accessed on 15 November 2019.

Amore, Sorelle “12 Affordable Christmas Minimalist Gift Ideas (Save Your Wallet and The World).” YouTube. Published on December 23, 2018.                                                       Accessed on 14 November 2019.

Christina. “sustainable gift guide & last minute zero waste experience gifts 2018.” YouTube. Published on December 18, 2018. Accessed on 16 November 2019.

ELATE COSMETICS. Accessed on 13   November 2019.

Leung, Dora.“31 Bucket List Restaurants You Must Try in Vancouver Before You Die.” Narcity. Published on June 21, 2016.  drink/ca/bc/vancouver/31-restaurants-eat-vancouver-die. Accessed on 14 November 2019.

Olivia, Madeleine. “Come Sustainable + Vintage Shopping with Me! + Try on Haul.” YouTube. Published on November 13, 2019. Accessed on 14 November 2019.

Therese, Sarah. “THRIFT with Me & HUGE HAUL! Home Décor, Clothing Try On & More!”   YouTube. Published on October 22, 2019.       Accessed on 14 November 2019. 


1. “Christmas gift giving – pile of wrapped in red and white paper Christmas gift boxes with open one on wooden background, flat lay frame with copy space” via Bigstock;        pile-of-wrapped-in-red-and-white-paper-christmas-gift-boxes-with-open-one-on-wooden-         background%2C-flat-lay-frame-with-copy-space. License: neirfy; 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *