• Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh

This year’s Christmas gifts will be more purpose-driven!

Last month I received a group email from a family member asking if we would be joining this year’s secret Santa. Despite our family not able to be physically together, we unanimously agreed that instead of buying presents for each other, we would donate the value of our gift to a good cause.

Purpose-driven or purpose-given holiday gifts aren’t a new idea — last year, due to Australia’s harrowing bushfires that lead to the tragic death of over 25,000 koalas, my partner and I opted to give donations to The Australia Koala Foundation and WWF-Australia for its Bushfire Recovery Work in place of physical presents.

This year, the holiday season is looking vastly different than the 'normal' Christmas period.

When it comes to Christmas shopping, consumers are searching for more practical gifts and turning to local businesses that may still be hurting from the pandemic.

Purpose-driven brands that focus on social purpose have made their way to the top of the Nice list too.

Online searches on Etsy and Pinterest also indicate that “holiday shoppers are seeking out meaningful Christmas gifts.”

2020 has been a year for companies to reevaluate their brand purpose and core values to fit with the changing of consumer preferences. Focusing on purpose-driven marketing and connecting with consumers (and employees) on a deeper level is now a baseline brand standard for smart businesses.

With this year’s Christmas gifts being more practical and purpose-driven, there are new rules when it comes to spending! Consumers will be looking to:

  • Spend money with brands that are willing to address society’s top issues.

  • Buy from brands they trust.

  • Choose practical gifts above luxury or nice-to-have presents.

  • Pick products, including cards and wrapping paper that are environmentally friendly.

  • Shop local or give gift cards that support local businesses.

  • Connect with purpose-driven brands that have values aligned with theirs.

Pre-COVID-19 the holiday season was traditionally associated with excess and overindulgence. This year is different. Consumers are questioning their purchase decisions on a more emotional level, asking themselves 'why' the purchase is required and 'what' impact their decision is making on the world.

2020 is more about consideration, meaningful giving and the impact of our personal choices.

Some retailers and brands have adapted their approach to reflect this mindset.

I've picked out a selection of brands that are filling the festive space with purpose-driven Christmas gift ideas:

Sustainable Personal Care

by HumanKind has been given gold stars by The New York Times, Rolling Stone and People for their eco-friendly personal care products.

The purpose-driven brand is dedicated to reducing global dependence on single-use plastic by creating personal care products that are healthier for your body and designed to 
reduce single-use plastic waste in your daily routine.

by HumanKind's beautifully designed bathroom essentials range from earth-friendly shampoo bars and natural deodorants to toothpaste, cotton swabs and travel sets.

purpose-driven christmas gift ideas 2020

Earth-first Lifestyle Apparel

Tentree is a purpose-driven brand that believes big change starts small. The earth-first lifestyle apparel brand provides eco-bags for shopping purchases, reusable water bottles and sustainably made clothing for men and women.

As part of their social promise and purpose-driven marketing, tentree has partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant many species of trees including mangroves in the coastal regions of Madagascar and Indonesia.

In addition to planting over 50 million trees to date, tentree actively sells purchasable Climate+ packages designed to help consumers minimise lifestyle choices by offsetting carbon emissions and rehabilitating ecosystems.

Purpose-giving - Every drop counts!

If you're planning to give a gift with meaning this Christmas, why not give the gift of life?

More than a billion people are living without clean drinking water on our planet. Some walk miles every day to get to the nearest source, which is likely to be a parasite-infested stream or pond that could cause diarrheal disease, worms and skin problems. About 30,000 people die each week from water-related diseases. Most are kids under five years old!

With 100% of every donation going directly to water projects, charity: water is a non-profit organisation focusing on sustainable projects. Their transparent approach means that when projects are finished, charity: water will provide details of the exact communities your funds have helped.

*If you’re looking for corporate gift ideas, you can set up a private campaign and make donations on behalf of your clients. Find out how here.

purpose-driven christmas gift ideas 2020

Eat Out - Anytime

With many cities back in lockdown and non-essential businesses closing their doors for a second time, supporting small and local businesses is more important than ever, especially as we approach what is normally a busy time of year.

On 4 October, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reported, “It’s going to continue to be bumpy through to Christmas”.

Restaurant gift vouchers are a great way to discover new brands while supporting local eateries through an extremely difficult time.

One eatery with a purpose-driven mission is SILO London. The UK’s first zero-waste restaurant moved from Brighton to Hackney Wick just over a year ago. Every inch of the London branch is designed using upcycled materials while the menu is local, seasonal and waste-conscious — If there’s anything that cannot be saved it will be turned into compost.

In addition to the zero-waste restaurant offering takeaway and gift voucher options, SILO's Owner Douglas McMaster has opened a new low-waste market store in East London.

purpose-driven christmas gift ideas 2020
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Zero-Waste dining at home

Not only is Douglas McMaster famous for SILO being London's first zero food-waste restaurant. He's also produced SILO - The Zero-Waste BluePrint.

Published in 2019, the book (referred to as 'not a cookbook') is instead a complete guide on how readers can achieve zero waste at home.

Described as, ‘trailblazing, exciting, relentless and uncompromising’ the book directs readers on how to find the purest, most natural and efficient way to cook and eat. The author is committed to de-industrializing our food system so that we eat fresh, waste less and make the most of what nature gives us.

Have yourself a purpose-driven Christmas!

With this year’s festive season expected to be a very different Christmas than previous years, practical and thoughtful gifts coupled with a positive social impact are appearing on more lists than Santa could imagine.

According to Etsy, “There’s been a 37% increase in searches on Etsy for eco-friendly gifts in the last three months. Searches on Etsy for eco-friendly gift wrap have risen 110% over the last three months compared with the same period a year ago.”

Whether you’re shopping for loved ones or searching for standout corporate gifts, purpose-driven giving is guaranteed to be well received this Christmas.

Thanks for dropping by our purpose-driven marketing blog. We appreciate your support and passion for purpose!

Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh

Founder & CMO at Outsourced imagination — a purpose-driven marketing agency making an impact.


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