Christmas gifts are part of the festive feel for many. And while aiming for a lifestyle of less waste, it can be hard to find gifts that promote sustainability and are eco-friendly.
When I shop for gifts, I have a LONG list – made up of parents, siblings of different ages, friends, and at time colleagues. Every person on the list has different interests and I try to buy to match their personality and/or needs and wants (I try too much to be like Santa at times).
So I went in search of some gifting ideas that would steer me away from the usual trinket ‘trash’ and towards thoughtful, sustainable gifts for all ages. Here’s what I found.
If you’ve been gifted with the ability to create anything, Christmas is the best time to flex that skill. Handmade soaps, body scrubs, knitted items, and pottery all make for lovely gifts – and they’re usually better for the earth.
Actually these kinds of gifts work for other occasions too. I once made all 20 guests at my mom’s bridal shower a tub of homemade coffee body scrub – and there was plenty left over for me to use as well. We all went home happy that day.
Gifts that help the earth can be stunning, and there are more and more companies starting to think about sustainability. Think reusable coffee mugs, Tshirts made from recycled plastic, and notebooks made from recycled paper.
Sustainable gifts come in all shapes and sizes, and are especially great for kids and teenagers. Simply swop out a Tshirt from a brand store with one from Tshirts for Change. Or grab a cute recycled backpack from Save a Fishie for the little ones.
If you’re not sure what to buy, a voucher can save you lots of stress. Gift cards and vouchers allow recipients to buy something they want and will use. Which ultimately means fewer gifts ending up in a storage cupboard.
Find their favourite store and load the money you would have spent on a gift onto a gift card. Many people shy away from this, worried that the amount will be judged, but I find it a great option for siblings especially.
One of my favourite options – and something I prefer to do. An experience just can’t ever replace a material gift. And the options are endless.
You simply book and pay for an adventure, making sure that dates and names are flexible, and hand it over in a pretty card. Examples would be a tour of some sort, a cooking class, maybe even a game of mini-golf or paintball.
And if this is for someone you love, you may be able to book the experience WITH them – giving them your time as well. Mother-daughter spa days, a couple’s safari drive, or a movie with the girls’ are all great gifts to put under the tree.
What do you get someone who has everything they need? A charitable donation in their name. You can get tree certificates from Greenpop or adopt a penguin from Sanccob on the recipient’s behalf.
Alternatively, make a cash donation to their favourite organisation. These are fantastic for friends and family members who really don’t need any more shirts or ashtrays. And it helps so many more people and/or animals in the process.
I will never be of the opinion that books are not a good gift for any occasion. Whether it’s the latest bestseller, an original copy of a classic, or a recipe booklet, books are the best gifts (and easy to wrap!).
If the recipient is short on space, you could get them an ebook – or just a voucher to buy ebooks or paper books. If you’re looking to make a bigger purchase for a book lover, a kindle may just be the ideal option.
Have a Merry Eco-Christmas
One of the most important aspects of an eco-friendly Christmas is making sure you give gifts that are going to be used. You can still find thoughtful, useful presents for everyone, without taking part in creating any more waste.
Take a look at my suggestions to making the rest of you festivities less wasteful and more eco-conscious here.