Sustainable Gift Giving this Holiday Season

zero waste gift giving

The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of year. I love listening to Christmas songs on the radio and enjoying all of the best holiday baked goodies. It’s an exciting and fun time of year to spend with family but is also notorious for being a wasteful consumerist holiday. There are some things we can do to ensure a less wasteful, more eco conscious season, specifically sustainable gift-giving. I’ve come to find out that the holidays are a lot more enjoyable when we aren’t so focused on the things and more focused on the experiences with our loved ones. Here are a few tips for a more mindful and zero waste Christmas:

Homemade Sustainable Gifts

I think some of the most thoughtful gifts are handmade gifts. Baked goods, homemade body scrubs, or other consumable gifts are always nice.  If you have a certain hobby/craft, make something in your field i.e. sew a bag, paint a portrait, create a piece of practical pottery, etc. Some of my favorite gifts have been those made by my family.

My sister has knit me hats and scarves, created beautiful pieces of pottery, and designed interesting terrariums for me. My brother built my sister a nativity scene one year, and he made a really fun backyard game for my partner last year. You can find lots of really nice DIY gift ideas on Pinterest! I especially love this gingerbread cookie sugar scrub recipe from the Pistachio Project blog! You could fill some mason jars with this scrub and dress them up with ribbons to pass out to friends. Simple and thoughtful!

Gifting Experiences Instead of Stuff

Another great zero waste gift giving option is to give friends and family an experience. You don’t have to gift material things this holiday season. Hunt through Groupon and Living Social websites to find something you think they’d really enjoy like a painting class, sky diving, or laser tag. You could give gift cards to their favorite restaurant or movie passes. Also, museum passes are a great idea and the perfect gift for your eco minded friend. For the music lover in your life, consider gifting concert tickets.

My partner gifted me a prenatal massage last year when I was pregnant with baby Vasco. My sister bought me and my mom a cooking class for Christmas last year that was super fun! You can get creative with this one, think of something your friend/family members wouldn’t probably buy for themselves but would really enjoy. Gift certificates are also a great way to support local small businesses.

You could even create a little coupon book for your loved one with ideas like cook dinner for you, watch your fave tv show with you, etc. Honestly,  what’s better than gifting quality time, am I right?

For the eco parent in your life, how about gifting them an online magazine subscription. We absolutely love Eco Parent magazine. Their magazine is full of sustainable living tips and articles for parents as well as healthy recipe ideas. You can get 20% off your subscription with our coupon code “tinyyellowbungalow.”

Eco Friendly Gifts

Our preferred gift giving option is of course eco friendly and zero waste gift giving by supporting the Tiny Yellow Bungalow online zero waste shop!! (I know, shameless plug, but honestly it is super easy to find practical zero waste gifts for the fam in my shop!) There are so many cute eco shops these days, but TYB is a great place to start hunting for the best eco-friendly gifts.

Give an eco conscious, fair trade gift to your friends this year. A lot of people don’t know about sustainable practices, and their first bamboo toothbrush, reusable shopping bags, or stainless steel straw might be the encouragement to spur their interest in doing kind things for the planet! Sustainable gifting can be super cute and fun. Here are just a few items we think are perfect for the holiday season:

A Super Cute Tea Towel 

Cute Screen Printed Flour Sack Tea Towel

A Bar of Handmade Soap + Vintage Soap Dish

dragon fruit green tea

USB Rechargeable Lighter – Pair it with a locally made candle 

USB Rechargeable Lighter

Bamboo Toothbrush + Bamboo Toothbrush Travel Case = Best Stocking Stuffer! (More Zero Waste Stocking Stuffer Ideas HERE!)

bamboo toothbrush travel case

Bamboo Kitchen Utensil Set– You can’t go wrong with a simple set of cooking utensils 🙂 

Bamboo Kitchen Basics Utensil Set

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Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Take a peak at The Mindful Mom Blographer’s list of 70 Zero Waste Gift ideas!! She has some really great ideas on this list.

Secondhand Gifts

Another great gift option would be to give secondhand. You don’t have to buy new gifts this holiday season. When it comes to waste conscious living, regifting is no longer taboo 🙂 So if you have unwanted gifts or an item you aren’t using, and it’s in great condition, give it to someone who will love it. Shop local thrift stores, used bookstores, and other second hand shops for Christmas gifts as well. I know some friends that would absolutely adore a vintage handbag or cool retro dress! I find a lot of great vintage goodies at estate sales and antique shops around my town.

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Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

Zero waste gift wrapping can be super cute and fun! No need to buy holiday wrapping paper. It’s wasteful and unnecessary and can be super pricey. Choose sustainable materials instead!

  • Paper. You can use brown paper bags to wrap gifts and tie with string. This is a good idea, because the packaging is recyclable. Paper could even been thrown in the compost bin. Newsprint from the recycling bin is also a good option. You can make really beautiful gifts by dressing up these simple paper packages with holly or dried orange slices.
  • Gift Bags. Collect the gift bags friends have given you over the years and reuse them for this year’s gifts. I even save tissue paper from previous holidays to reuse.
  • Cloth Bags. Also, you could use draw string cloth reusable bags to package your holiday gifts this season. They’re endlessly reusable! You could sew some of your own or I’ve seen some really cute ones on Amazon. You might even check Etsy to support a small handmade maker!

zero waste gift wrap

  • Glass Jars. When creating homemade gifts, such as baked goods, consider a reusable mason jar and tie a hemp ribbon around the neck of the jar.
  • Paper Tape. Also, the secret to the perfectly secured wrapped zero waste gift? Paper tape. Conventional tape is typically made from… you guessed it – plastic. Consider using a paper tape alternative instead. You can order a pretty large roll on Amazon that will last for ages.

zero waste tape

You can find some more great zero waste gift wrap ideas here!

Let’s all curb consumption this year with less holiday waste and focus on family time!

What’re are some of your best tips for a zero waste holiday season, please share them with me in the comments section! 

Other Zero Waste Blog Posts You Might Find Useful:

How to Use Shampoo Bars

My Zero Waste On the Go Kit

Making the Switch to Zero Waste Toothpaste 

zero waste gift giving

4 thoughts on “Sustainable Gift Giving this Holiday Season

  1. Great job, we are on the same page 🙂

    1. Yay! I just saw your holiday zero waste blog post and agreed, we’ve both got the right idea! 😉 I hope others will be encouraged to avoid the crazy wastefulness of the holidays and focus on what really matters

  2. I love the bit about used item giving no longer being taboo.
    We’ve never had large Christmases in our family, and I’m glad of it now. My poor Mum always had an answer for our comparisons with what our friends got, and it was “youre my daughter and I love you, spending more money on you doesn’t mean more love” and often she would add on the tag line of mothers everywhere…..” you’ll understand when you’re older”
    Mums are always right

  3. Very interesting post! Many of us are extremely recycle oriented and would like to know about Eco-friendly even during the holidays. Your ideas are amazing and very creative!!

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