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Sparx’s Reimagined Secret Santa

Secret Santa is coming to town. In order to ensure our efforts to make the world better never take a holiday, Sparx has put a circular twist on this workplace tradition.

/ 3 mins / SparxTeam

It’s not a holiday get together at this time of year without a time-honoured tradition: the Secret Santa Gift Exchange. While we enjoy the act of giving, we had to come to terms with an inconvenient truth about these kinds of exchanges: many of us seldom keep our Secret Santa gifts. We believe that something as wonderful as the act of giving a gift shouldn’t come at the expense of the planet, so we started thinking about how we could iterate and improve upon this classic activity so that it aligns with our mission to make the world better, and came up with a solution.

For this year’s Secret Santa, Sparx is going sustainable all the way! All the gifts we’re giving are good not just for bringing a smile to our co-workers faces, but better for the environment too. 

Here’s how we reimagined Secret Santa to be more sustainable. We hope our experience will inspire you to jingle bell rock the boat for your own exchange!

How We Made Secret Santa Better

This year, Sparx has been laser-focused on waste-reduction efforts, from publishing the Circular Economy edition of Make The World Better Magazine to attending the Zero Waste Conference 2022 and celebrating Waste Reduction week. Sustainability is a vital part of making the world better, so we wanted to ensure our gift exchange would align with zero waste goals.

We kicked off our process by setting some ground rules. First off,  participants must only choose gifts that will either produce minimal to zero waste or will enable recipients to live more sustainably. Secondly, the gifts must fall within a budget of $20.

To ensure everyone could be involved, we selected a date and provided ways for gifters to mail their gifts, if unable to attend in-person. Then we set up our exchange on Elfster, a platform that allowed us to randomly and anonymously select our gift recipients in a totally paperless way. The platform also has a feature for making wishlists – a great way to ensure we pick gifts that are not only good for the environment, but will bring real personal value to our recipients.

Finding Mission-Aligned Gifts

While it might sound difficult to track down sustainable gifts for $20 or less, our research revealed a whole workshop’s worth of options. 

Compiling a few categories of eco-friendly items, such as items that replace single-use products, gifts made from recycled materials, items using recycled or recyclable packaging, and non-perishable goods, we launched our search.

We checked what was available at Vancouver-based eco-friendly shops, as well as products from Canadian vendors operating in both online and offline formats, and came up with a plethora of great ideas.

Leveraging this research, wishlists took shape and gift planning gained focus.

Green Gifts for $20 or Less

Here are some of the sustainable gifts we found for under $20.

  • Imperial Earl Grey Tea: All-natural and packaged in fully compostable bags and a recyclable box. Price: $14.85
  • Stojo – Jr. Bottle: Collapsible and made from safe silicone, this reusable bottle can be carried anywhere for sustainable hydration on the go. Price: $17
  • Bamboo Bottle Brush: This zero-waste brush is a great companion for reusable cups and bottles. Price: $9 

Package it all up in a sustainable way – using a recyclable box or tin, recycled wrapping paper, or a wooden trinket box – and you have a perfect, low-waste, eco-friendly gift.

Sparx Can Help You Get on Santa’s “Eco-friendly” List

Donning a green santa hat this year? If your organization is working to make a positive difference throughout and beyond this holiday season, the experts at Sparx can help amplify your impact and share your purpose-driven initiatives. Contact us for a free consultation. 

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