Zero Waste Gift Guide

why a zero waste gift guide

It’s almost time to start thinking about Christmas. I have to say I love Christmas but I’m also conscious that it can be over commercialised and create a huge amount of waste. I love giving and receiving presents and being on a Zero Waste journey has made me a much more conscious consumer, so I thought I’d put together my Zero Waste Gift Guide.

I know some people who are trying to reduce waste and following the Zero Waste ethos may not want to buy Christmas presents at all which is their choice. But, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this Zero Waste Gift Guide Blog then you’re probably looking for ways to reduce waste whilst still giving out presents at Christmas.

Christmas for me is all about spending time with my family. And, I love taking the time to choose family Christmas presents. The highlight of my Christmas is watching our grandchildren open their presents on Christmas Day, hopefully with a beaming smile as I’ve chosen just the right present for them.

Even before I consciously started thinking about Zero Waste I had already cut down on the number of people I bought presents for at Christmas. I realised I was buying presents without any real thought just because I felt I should be.

I’m sure you know the scenario. Great Aunt B gives you yet another bottle of bubble bath that goes straight into a cupboard only to be given away to the village fete in the Summer. You then feel obliged to buy Great Aunt B something in return that she probably stashes away in a cupboard. And, that is just unnecessary waste.
So now we now only buy presents for our daughter, son in law, grandchildren and each other.

Christmas should be fun and for us that still means giving and receiving presents so here’s my Zero Waste Gift Guide.

10 Zero Waste Gift Guide ideas

Christmas should be fun and for us that still means giving and receiving presents so here’s my Zero Waste Gift Guide.

Quality over Quantity

The second R in the Zero Waste 5 Rs is “Reduce”.  This means that we should all be trying to buy less.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to buy anything it just means we have to be more thoughtful about what we do buy.

If you buy well in the first place you can buy products that will virtually last a lifetime. That means buying good quality products which are built to last. They may cost a little bit extra, but they won’t need to be replaced and therefore you are reducing what you buy.

My husband really enjoys cooking so last year I bought him a set of professional Chef knives. They were fairly expensive, but they have a lifetime guarantee and he loves them.

If you need some inspiration have a look on Buy Me Once who have done all the hard work for you already by sourcing the best items.  One of my favourite presents was a Le Creuset pot.

Theatre or Concert Tickets

Everyone in our family enjoys music but especially our middle Grandson. I know if I bought him tickets to see one of his favourite Bands he would be bouncing around with joy on Christmas morning.

I’d have to buy two tickets, so someone could take him as he’s only 9 but that’s not a problem. And, I know he’s got The Wombats and Circa Waves on this year’s Christmas List, so that’s one present sorted for this year.

If you don’t want to buy tickets to a specific event you could always buy a Theatre Tokens so that the person you’re giving the gift to can choose their own tickets.

Experience Gifts

There are so many experience days that you can buy now and they’re a great way to give someone a great present that they will enjoy without any waste.
I love wildlife and I love photography so I’d love to go on the Photography Days at Port Lympne

There are lots of companies organising experience days from Baking to Rock Climbing and they’re available to suit any age, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. It’s just a case of choosing the right one for the person you’re giving the gift to.

Homemade Gifts

There’s an endless list of homemade gifts that you can make and it’s so nice to receive something that you know has taken someone time and effort to make.

You could try making jam, pickles, chilli or herb infused oil. If you’re good a sewing, you could make reusable kitchen cloths to replace paper towels or reusable makeup wipes.

A jar of homemade biscuits or fudge would always be welcome in our house.  And, you can package your homemade items in a reusable tin or jar.

Gift Promise Note

If you’ve got friends that you want to give a present to think about what you could offer them that they would appreciate. Maybe they have young children and you could offer to Baby Sit one night so they could go out. Or maybe you love cleaning and you could offer to clean their house one day.

You just need to use your imagination for this one and the list is endless. Once you’ve decided what your “Promise Gift” is you can write it on a note or be a bit more creative on the computer and pop it in an envelope to give to them.

Vintage / Antique or Second Hand

You don’t always have to buy new when looking for presents. And, these days you can buy virtually anything second hand from books to bikes. etsy is a great place to look for vintage or upcycled gifts.

Our grandsons love their wooden Brio train set and we’re always adding to it but as it’s built to last we usually buy the trains and track second hand.

Digital Download or Online Magazine Subscription

You could buy a voucher for a digital download or an online magazine subscription. You can give gift subscription for audiobooks

Readly has over 3,000 online magazines to choose from including some great ones for kids such as “National Geographic Kids”

Zero Waste Starter Kit

If you would like to give someone a gift that’s just starting out on their Zero Waste journey you could give them a Zero Waste Starter Kit to help them eliminate single use plastics.

I’ve got some that I’ve put together in my TMG Zero Waste Shop and you can choose from Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials, Zero Waste On The Go or Zero Waste Bathroom Essential Boxes.

Zero Waste Subscription Boxes

There are lots of great Zero Waste subscription options now. A couple of my favourites are Who Gives A Crap toilet paper who will send you a monthly supply of eco-friendly recycled or bamboo loo roll wrapped in paper and who donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

And, Authentic House monthly subscription box.  They will send out a monthly eco-friendly subscription box with a handpicked selection of items to help you use less, reduce waste and be mindful.

Buy Unpackaged Gifts or Zero Waste Friendly Packaging

And, remember this Zero Waste Gift Guide is just that, it’s a guide. When you’re looking for gifts be a mindful consumer and think about what you’re buying.

Is it something that will be useful? Think about what it’s made from, is the packaging it’s sold in easy to dispose of.

You should be looking for gifts that are unpackaged or if they do have packaging then it should be minimal and preferably compostable like cardboard.

Handmade soaps, books, a nice woollen throw or wooden toys for children all make lovely presents.

I still love holding a real book to read and I love browsing in book shops. If you want to buy a book as a gift but don’t have time to go to a book shop you can still support independent book stores by buying online from Hive. This is what Hive has to say:

We give independent bookshops a chance to be seen online. We hope it will help them to reach new and different customers. We help them benefit from the sale of all kinds of stuff.

I hope this Zero Waste Gift Guide has given you some inspiration. And, remember giving and receiving presents should be fun. It should also be fun choosing the gifts so just take some time and enjoy it.

Next time I’ll give you some tips on wrapping all those lovely presents you’ve bought without creating a mountain of waste.

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11 thoughts on “Zero Waste Gift Guide for Christmas”

  1. I love this! I am a big one for tickets or experiences such as national trust membership for my parents. One thing that makes me so sad is all that wrapping wasted in bags waiting for the bin after the unwrapping fun. There is a lot 🙁

  2. These are all great ideas for older children or adults. I don’t get my there has to be so much packaging for toys though! There is so much plastic which saddens me considering where a lot of plastic ends up.

  3. This was such an interesting read. I do my best to reduce our plastic waste as a family. I’ve also recently bought a compost bin and am making my own with our fruits/veggies peals/skins.
    Much love, Caitylis. X x

  4. I love these ideas, I for one am a big advocate for zero waste also. I love the gift vouchers and concerts and shows as an option, it gives the receiver an option of having a wonderful experience for their birthday treat!

  5. Love all these ideas, but my favorite is making memories instead of giving gifts! One of our best gifts was spent in Disneyland; memories worth more than gold!

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