I recently read an Instagram post by Kat Steck of the @thejunkyardjournals where she posted a picture with this phrase:
"Normalize secondhand gifts, normalize regifts, normalize experience gifts, normalize consumable gifts, normalize cards as gifts, normalize no gifts. Normalize a holiday that’s about more than just buying new junk."
I’ve been reflecting on this sentiment lately and finally found, in her post, the words to express my feelings about how consumerism-focused the holidays have become.
If you’re feeling inclined to give (and ask for) more eco-friendly and, arguably more thoughtful gifts, check out these 10 eco-friendly gift ideas that are more than just new junk.
- 1. Give a homemade food gift
- 2. Make a DIY beauty product
- 3. Give the gift of an experience
- 4. A subscription
- 5. Give something that grows
- 6. Make a donation in someones’ name
- 7. Teach your skills
- 8. Cook someone a special meal
- 9. Make a single-use plastic swap
- 10. Hunt for second-hand treasures
- Use sustainable gift wrapping
1. Give a homemade food gift
Use reusable containers like jars to give consumable gifts like hot chocolate mix, spice blends, or homemade granola.
Put together a dried soup mix or scone mix and include a handwritten note with instructions on how to make it.
Give a jar of candied orange or lemon peels.
If you enjoy canning, perhaps make a holiday-flavored jam or pickled vegetables.
2. Make a DIY beauty product
Use reusable containers like jars to give a gift for a DIY spa day like homemade lotion, body scrub, facial ingredients or even a set of home spa items.
3. Give the gift of an experience
Perhaps concert tickets (if we can ever go to concerts again…), massages or movie tickets.
You could also give online courses or master-classes.
Alternatively, gift cards are also great even for necessities like groceries and can help small businesses as they receive support when the gift cards are purchased and also when it’s used as many people end up spending more than what’s on the gift card.
4. A subscription
Especially for things that people are already using, you can cover a year of their subscription.
Music subscriptions for Spotify or Pandora are great or you could do TV subscriptions like for Netflix or Hulu.
You can also give a subscription for monthly boxes or activities.
5. Give something that grows
Give seeds to be planted or even a potted plant for that person with a green thumb.
Or if you have a green thumb (and plants of your own at home), propagate a few cuttings for your friend to help start their home windowsill garden.
6. Make a donation in someones’ name
Does your friend connect with a specific cause? Make a monetary contribution to an organization that aligns with their concerns and values.
7. Teach your skills
Do you have a skill that a loved one wants to learn? Make your loved one a gift certificate for one lesson with you, and teach them your ways.
8. Cook someone a special meal
The gift of your time and culinary skills could be just the thing they’d love. You can create the menu around foods they love or pick recipes that help you show them how to reduce food waste or use less, but better meat.
If leaving the house is tricky for them, either cook at their place and clean up afterwards or prepare the meal and bring it over to them.
9. Make a single-use plastic swap
Help your loved ones go plastic-free by gifting them items to swap in for single-use plastics, such as
10. Hunt for second-hand treasures
Giving vintage items a second life requires more time than going to a conventional retail store, but it can be well worth the effort.
If you’re able, support local small businesses and businesses that give back to the community and/or produce their product in a sustainable way and treat their employees well.
Use sustainable gift wrapping
Wrapping paper generally isn’t recyclable so use wrapping paper from last year to help reduce waste.
Or consider wrapping your gift in a scarf or other scrap fabric, use recyclable and recycled paper or even cut brown paper bags or use newspaper instead of traditional wrapping paper.
You can tie some twine around the package and add some greenery or a pretty name tag to spruce things up.