Low-Waste Holiday Gift Guide

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I absolutely love giving gifts and bringing joy to others!

However, I do not love buying things that don’t follow my philosophy. Like the golden rule says, treat others the way you want to be treated. You should still give a gift they will enjoy, but you can still share your love of the environment at the same time.

Here are some ideas to give a gift they will love while loving our environment!

1. Give an experience

Memories last longer than most tangible items. Although during COVID times there are fewer options in the immediate future but there are still some options! I would rather have a nice dinner, go on a mini road trip, go to the beach, an online class for something fun, at home spa night, or even skydive maybe? There are endless options, just be creative!


2. Buy small and local

Okay, this is not necessarily low-waste depending on what you buy. However, I believe that buying something crafted from your neighbor and supporting your local, small business economy is the next best thing. Typically, these items will also last longer, are higher quality, made with love, and can be low-waste! It also has to travel less distance and decreases carbon impact.

Love Etsy? You can search for items by shop location. Search for your item and in the left hand column, there will be an option to filter results by location. Just choose how close “local” is for you.

My favorite local gift to give is bar soap!

3. Donate to a charity

Nothing means more than giving to an organization or charity that someone cares about deeply. Giving in their honor is a great gift.


4. Make something

I LOVE homemade gifts. The amount of care and love that go into them make me cherish them even more. I like to make cards that can be used as decoration as well. It’s great to also to upcycle! I enjoy painting old wine bottles. You can make something small or large. Even food! Make them a recipe in a jar.

5. Get them reusable and low impact essentials

There are many websites, such as Life Without Plastic, where you can get essentials like bamboo toothbrushes, razors, metal straws, travel bamboo cutlery, reusable tea bags, bowl covers, and bees wax wrap. These are great gifts because they support everyday life!

6. Thrift!

You can find some of the coolest things at the thrift store. Whether they love a nice flannel or antique lamps. There are so many previously loved and perfectly great items that will bring your friend joy.

Can’t go into the store? Goodwill has some online auctions!

7. Ask them what they might like

Although some love the element of surprise, you can find that in other ways. We used to make lists as kids for Santa…why not do it again? If someone wants something, then they will most likely keep it for awhile or use it a lot. This makes for a great gift that is not likely to get donated the next day.

8. Ask them what they don’t need

This year my mom and I told each other what we knew we did not need more of in our life. For example, she has a lot of lotion…because she often received it as a gift. Now, we would still absolutely love anything we got for each other and by no means is this a judgement of whether someone likes something or not. However, if you want to give a tangible gift that will not go to waste and will be useful for someone, I do not see anything wrong in asking what they already have in excess!

What other ideas do you have for gift giving this season?