Every year during the holiday season, I enjoy giving gifts to friends, family, and neighbors to show love and appreciation. Whether it was a tradition in your family growing up, or something you adopted later on in life, gift-giving adds joy to the holiday season. Unfortunately, between gift wrapping, single-use decorations, or unwanted gifts, the waste during these months increases hugely.
Another challenge with gift-giving is that it is hard to know what to buy for someone. As a realistic and practical person, I want to make sure that my gifts will be appreciated and used. Most people don’t really NEED more stuff in their houses, so here are my suggestions for practical, zero-waste gifts.
1. Christmas Cards and Letters
The first idea is to write a card and send it in the mail. The great thing about handwritten cards or letters is that they can go along with any gift, or they can be the gift itself! There are many options for either purchasing or creating your own stationery to send. The personalization options are endless! Plus, there is something special about receiving an old-fashioned letter in the mail. Especially when it is from a close friend or family member, the handwriting brings back nostalgic memories.
2. Do-It-Yourself Crafts
This is one of my personal specialties. I really love making gifts from various items. In the past, I have knitted coffee sleeves, made crowns for children, or sewn snowmen by hand. Pinterest is my favorite place to search for inspiration. This year, a friend of mine and I were discussing what to do with corks from wine bottles. A few searches on Pinterest gave me a few ideas to start off. You can read more about how to reuse corks for Christmas decorations.
However, not all DIY crafts need to be so involved. There are far simpler ideas that can be made in a short amount of time such as origami or sustainable decorations from nature.
3. Nuts, cookies, or cooked delicatesse.
This is another one of my favorite gifts to both give and receive. I enjoy taking the opportunity to share some of your traditions with another family. Knowing that someone put in the time to bake something for you really shows how much they care.
One of my absolute favorite recipes is a toasted nut recipe that you can easily make with groceries from a zero-waste shop. Once they’re made, pack them into jars and they make great gifts!
4. Zero-Waste Kits
Another great way to encourage your friends and family to join the zero-waste heroes is to give some supplies to get started! There are a variety of different items and gift boxes available to purchase. Buying a gift voucher from one of these zero waste shops is also a good way to let your beloved ones choose what they need to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
For the groceries
Get your friends on board with reusable bags for every type of shopping. You can order that kit on Reset Shop
For the bathroom
Encourage your friends to start off with a solid shampoo and a plastic-free deodorant. You can order that kit on Urban Earth Lovers
5. Experience Vouchers
Finally, this one is a great way to share the things that you love. It could be a restaurant, store, or something to do on vacation. Buy your family or friends a voucher or coupon for something that you think they’d enjoy. This works especially well for parents, who are notoriously hard to buy gifts for. My family purchased a hot-air balloon ride as a gift for my parents to enjoy while they were visiting Vilnius.
Bonus: How to wrap Christmas gifts?
A bonus option for any gift you give is to wrap it sustainably. Furoshiki is a Japanese style of wrapping things in a piece of fabric. Once the gift is offered, the piece of fabric can be reused for another gift.