Looking for gifts that are not destructive for our planet? Here are a couple of ideas for you!
1. Curate your own zero waste starter kit
What did you wish you had when you first started your low waste journey? This type of kit can be a good fit for the already convinced, but also for that member of your family who’s a bit sceptical or hesitant. Convince her•him that there are some super user-and-eco-friendly alternatives that can make life much, much easier. Even when trying to reduce waste at the same time!
You could create a themed kit, such as:
- ZW Beauty Starter kit;
- ZW Kitchen Starter kit;
- ZW Cleaning Starter kit;
- ZW Bathroom/Hygiene Starter kit (keep this one for close ones or it’ll get awkward);
- ZW Makeup Kit;
- ZW Hair Kit, etc.
Here are a couple of items that could make nice gifts on their own or as parts of a set:
Kits by Eco Roots in the United States.
Kits by Tabitha Eve, in the United Kingdom.
Kit by The Slow Living Company, United Kingdom.
2. Recipe jars
This one will please any foodie at heart. Not only is a good way to share a recipe you love, but it will also enable your loved one to have a tasty and easy dinner, without too much fussing!
- Get a jar (a glass one will make the whole thing pretty and everything, but it’s your pick);
- Pour all the dry ingredients necessary for your recipe, layer by layer (because mixing the while thing won’t exactly be eye-pleasing). Risottos, pasta and rice based dishes, as well as cookies are typically a good fit for this;
- Write a little note with the instructions regarding the cooking and any wet ingredients that should be added. Keep it simple! Something like: put it in a pot and add XZY of water would be ideal.
Last tip: try one before, to ensure you have the right quantities and your loved one still loves you back after eating it.
3. Handmade handkerchiefs
Cute, handmade handkerchiefs make for the perfect gift at this time of the year! Either make them yourself (that’ll add a MASSIVE load of emotion attachment to it) or get them from someone who makes them with as much love as you would!
4. Vintage clothes
Getting a piece of clothing or jewellery that you spend time looking for until you find the perfect piece is a priceless gift! Head over to your local vintage or charity store, to find just the right piece for your loved one (tip: knitwear is ALWAYS a good idea). Etsy also has loads of boutiques with vintage clothing. Here’s a selection I’d recommend (I’ve found at least 3 pieces I’d love to have in each of those boutiques 🥰):
- Shop Future – California, United States;
- Downhouse – Oregon, United States;
- Red Luck – Oregon, United States;
- Passport Vintage – Texas, United States;
- Persephone Vintage – California, United States;
- Dautrefois – Coventry, United Kingdom.
5. Make the gift of Time
One of our most underestimated resource nowadays can quite often simply be… Time. How about gifting moments with your loved ones this year?
- Think of what she•he would love to do with you;
- Get an envelope, or create one with some paper that was about to get recycled;
- Write a note with your “moment” in it. (going to the cinema, helping her•him with that thing that’s been bothering her•him for so long, getting her•him for a night out,…);
- You’re done! Close the envelope and place it under the Christmas tree (or anywhere with the other gifts).
Wrap it all plastic-free!
An option could simply be to use newspaper or paper in general that’s stacking up in your home.
Another one would be Furoshiki. Have you ever heard of it? It’s a traditional Japanese art to wrap things with a piece of square cloth. Whether you go for a proper Furoshiki or simply get inspired by it, the point is: you can reuse over and over, without having to throw away (or recycle) anything. You can either use pieces of cloth you have at home already, and old dress that you cut nicely,… Or go for the fancier option, a Furoshiki that was designed for the job!
For tinier or looser goods, why not wrap them in small produce bags? That way, you’re making two gifts out of one. The small produce bag can then be reused in bulk stores, or to carry snacks around!
If you wrap all your presents in these, you might want to have some name tags on it. Why not go for seeded paper tags? 😏
Whether in real life or online, make sure to know where the pieces you’re buying are from. It would be quite pointless to get the nicest upcycled-eco-chemical-free bamboo cutting board for your great aunt Arnie if it has travelled around the whole world twice before reaching you.
If shopping on Etsy, you can start by selecting boutiques located near you by selecting your area in “Shop location” on the left hand side of the page. Then of course, make sure to read the description so you can make sure the piece is handmade in that location, too!
This post was kindly sponsored by Etsy. All opinions are my own.
Cover photo credit: Annie Pratt—thank you!
Morgane is a London-based writer and the founder of Zero Waste Nest. She’s passionate about sustainable living, ethical fashion and social justice. She also founded the Ethical Fashion Guide, with the firm intention to make ethical fashion the norm. Her retirement plans are to adopt as many stray cats as she’s able to.