Low waste gift guide

Go green this holiday season with zero waste inspired gifts that are sure to please everyone on your nice (or naughty) list!

It is indeed that time of year again; peace on Earth, good will toward men, tacky blow up lawn ornaments (that you know you secretly love). I adore the holiday season, but it can also be a time of great excess, and great excess is something I’m on a personal mission to remove from my life. I thoroughly believe in the power of gift giving, but I get stressed when I think of all the wasted paper, plastic, and resources involved in making the holidays special. If you’re on a journey to reduce waste in your home and community, I’ve put together this gift guide to help you maintain the magic and give some great gifts, all while helping you relieve some of that eco-stress and helping our beautiful planet — a win win. So put on your Christmas jammies, and let’s do this.

Here’s the breakdown:
for the foodie
for the self care guru
for the adventurer
for the techie
for the athlete
for the gardener
for the fashionista
for the artist
for the manly man
for the bookworm

** I will not be providing specific links to shop, but if you love an idea and want more specifics, please reach out and I’d love to share more details on personal recommendations!

For the foodie:

– French press coffee maker + local coffee beans
– Nothing cuter than a mason jar full of roasted coffee beans, and when paired with a new french press, it’s swoon worthy. Add a hand written note with your favorite latte recipes for that extra personal touch.

– Wax wraps + stainless steel straws
– These items are both practical and stylish! Wax wraps come in so many cute patterns and prints, and a good set of stainless steel straws will last a lifetime.

– Bamboo cutting board
– Bamboo is an amazing sustainable option, and your chef friends will be chopping and dicing with a smile on their face thanks to this foodie inspired gift.

– Reusable silicone zip bags
– I detest zip-lock baggies, but there is a handy alternative! Gift this sustainable option for all those snacky on-the-go needs. I know I need more, but it’s not something I’d think to buy for myself (though I’m saving up for a gallon size to replace my freezer bags).

– Homemade jams or baked goods
– Who doesn’t love a yummy treat, especially one made from scratch and with love. Present in a mason jar with festive repurposed ribbons for added adorableness. I highly recommend doubling your favorite recipe; tis the season!

– Thrifted bottles, jars, and glassware
– A unique set of cocktail glasses makes a great gift, especially when paired with your favorite cocktail recipe and a (recyclable) bottle of spirits. A retro storage container filled with goodies is a good idea, too!

– Gift certificate to local refill store
– This is a perfect way to support a local business, help the earth, and share an experience if your friends may be new to the process. Consider pairing with a few “starter kit” items. Learn more about bulk shopping here.

– Local tea blends + honey
– Another way to shop local, and put together a thoughtful gift for a tea-lover in your life. Find some unique blends and pair them with a glass bottle of local honey (great for boosting that winter immunity, too)!

For the self care guru:

– Shampoo + conditioner bars
– There are some seriously luxurious and organic hair care products out there that are zero waste! Shampoo and conditioner bars make a wonderful replacement to the plastic bottles. You could even shop local for these goodies!

– Locally made bath bombs + soaps
– I’m a big fan of bath bombs, and they truly do make excellent gifts. Nothing says relaxation like a long, hot bath, and you can help your friends level up by introducing them to some new bombs. Another great opportunity to support local artisans as well!

– Organic loofa and body brush
– An organic and/or locally grown loofa is a perfect gift to pair with a new soap. Body brushing is picking up in popularity, and is an awesome addition to any self care beauty routine. Look into some soft bamboo options!

– Homemade facial masks
– These are fun to make, fun to use, and even more fun to gift! Masks can be extremely beneficial in promoting healthy skin, and a cute tin or jar of a homemade beauty mask shows you’ve gone the extra mile. Make double and plan a girl’s night in!

– Essential oil perfume blends
– There are so many wonderful combinations of essential oils that make lovely, non-toxic perfumes. Create your favorite blend and gift it in a roll on, or find an apothecary that makes wonderful (and clean) scents. (I love twinkle apothecary)!

– Handmade or up-cycled candles
– You could experiment with DIY candle making, or shop the many Etsy shops that offer up-cycled and zero waste candles in a variety of unique and intoxicating scents!

– Reusable makeup wipes or ear swabs
– Finding greener alternatives to our environmentally harmful everyday products can feel like a chore, and not every eco swap is glamorous. But sometimes the greatest gifts are the useful ones that we didn’t know we needed!

– Yoga class gift certificate
– The gift of mindful meditation and gentle stretching is a gift that keeps on giving. Gleefully present your friends with a voucher for a restorative yoga class and win Christmas!

For the adventurer:

– National Park Pass
– Find out what parks are near you and get a pass for your friend to enjoy! Maybe even plan a hike together, or go bigger and cover the cost of a campsite.

– Bamboo utensil set
– These are so handy when it’s time to chow down by the fireside on a starry night in the woods. There are lots of options for portable and lightweight utensil sets, so pick your favorite and share some cheer with your outdoorsy buddies.

– REI class pass
– REI offers all kinds of workshops and classes from rock climbing basics, to how to pack for a backpacking trip, to backcountry navigation. They even do excursions and day trips, so feel confident in gifting your friend an awesome experience!

– Mini stainless steel alcohol stove
– This is one of the handiest little tools in all camping history. It’s ultra-lightweight, doesn’t require chemical or propane fuel, and can be used again and again. If you’ve got a camper who loves to cook or enjoy hot coffee on a trip, this is a must have!

– Locally made wool socks
РSocks fro Christmas? A clich̩, but YES! A good pair of warm socks in essential for winter hiking fun, and your adventure bud will appreciate the cute pair you give them!

– Filtering water bottle
– There are all kinds of products out there that have portable filters, and they make great gifts for your friend who always seems to be chasing waterfalls. Keep an eye out for sustainable materials, and there are a few companies that donate a portion of their proceeds to clean water efforts.

– AllTrails Pro membership
– This is my favorite hiking app, and if you’ve got a friend who is an avid hiker and explorer, I highly recommend upgrading them to the Pro version! A thoughtful gift that is completely zero waste.

– Scrubba wash bag
– This is a super cool little wash bag for those grimy sweaty camping clothes. It’s easy to use, and paired with a bar of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, it makes for the perfect present for any serious camper!

For the techie:

– Jackbox Party Pack subscription
– Online gaming can be such a blast, and this is one of my favorite party games. It’s got fun mini games, and is even 2020 friendly (meaning you can play long distance and virtually). Game night on Christmas, anyone?

– Spotify Premium subscription
– Give the gift of ad free music to a friend you love. I suggest covering their subscription, and making a few personalized playlists just for them! Happy listening, and happy holidays!

– Bamboo Airpods case
– Everyone is always losing their earbuds it seems, so help solve a problem with this stylish gift. Vamp up that zero waste aesthetic and encourage companies to use sustainable materials while you’re at it.

– Pela Phone case or watch band
– This brand has a phenomenal mission and even more phenomenal products. Check them out and plan your stocking stuffers with no eco-anxiety!

– Portable solar powered changer
– Such a handy tool, especially for that friend whose phone is always dying. Ensure the gift of life (okay, thats a bit dramatic) for your your tech addicted friends.

– Online coding workshop/class
– Nothing cooler than learning a new skill, or brushing up on an existing one. Experience gifts are always a win in my opinion, so find something that interests your techie friend and get them involved in learning more about it!

– Online streaming subscription
– We all need the occasional escape from reality, and no better way to achieve it than with a great movie or a binge-worthy show. Gift a few months of a streaming subscription and encourage your friends to Netflix and chill.

For the athlete:

– Gym membership
– A few class passes or a few months of a gym membership is a thoughtful way to say “get your sweat on” to the friend who loves to be sweaty.

– Reusable water bottle
– The perfect accessory to any gym session is a cute reusable water bottle! Find one that channels your buddy’s personality and slip it under the tree for them.

– Sustainable cork yoga mat
– There are a few sustainably made yoga mat companies out there, and they make some awesome products! Sure to put a smile on your yogi friend’s zen face!

– Epsom salt bath soak
– Encourage your friend to enjoy their recovery time just as much as their workout with some epsom salt bath soaks, designed to relax sore muscles and aid in healing.

– Girlfriend Collective sustainable activewear
– This isn’t the only company out there using sustainable up-cycling practices, but it is one of my favorites. Get a cute set of active wear for your friend to flaunt while strutting on that treadmill!

– Online workout subscription
– 2020 has been the year of home workouts, so encourage your exercise loving friend to keep it up with an online subscription to classes he or she enjoys.

– Cork yoga blocks
– Another more sustainable choice for yogis, and a thoughtful gift to show you support your friend’s practice (literally)! Maybe even join them for a class.

For the gardener:

– Organic fruit and veggie seeds
– Seeds are always appreciated when you have a friend who is a total plant queen. Encourage sustainable gardening practices with organic seeds in compostable packaging!

– Pollinator seed blends
– The promise of lovely flowers that will also help plants grow and produce food? Yes! Find some blends that attract pollinators and do well in their gardening zone.

– Local nursery gift card
– Shop small and shop local! Support a nursery in your area with gift cards for your plant savvy friend. Let them pick out a new plant baby to thrive!

– Kitchen compost bin
– This present helps reduce food waste and benefits the garden! A great gift to encourage zero waste practices and healthy plants!

– Amber spray bottle of homemade insecticide
– There are all kinds of tips and tricks for non-toxic gardening, and one of my favorites is all natural insecticide. Mix some up and put it in a cute amber spray bottle for your friend who loves to garden.

– Locally made ceramic pots
– Cute pots are just so fun, and can bring so much life to an already thriving plant baby. Search for local and handmade options to gift to friends!

– Thrifted watering can
– Nothing is cuter than a vintage watering can, and I love when a gift id both functional and adorable. Shop around for that perfect piece!

For the fashionista:

– Gift cards for ethical brands
– Some of my personal favorites are Everlane, Patagonia, PrAna, United by Blue, and Proclaim. Learn more about the ethical closet here.

– Reusable tote bag
– A fashionable way to make a statement while shopping! A reusable tote can be so versatile, and makes a thoughtful gift for your fashionista friend.

– Locally made jewelry
– Shop around for local and handmade jewelry that tells a story in a stylish way. Hand crafted beads or woven bands add an extra personal touch to accessorizing, and finding a great piece your friend will love with a great story, while also supporting local artisans is awesome.

– Handmade accessories
– Bust out those knitting or crochet skills and make something totally unique and special. Try your hand at jewelry making, embroidery, or sewing. If you’ve got the skills to make a cute cozy scarf or beanie, use them!

For the artist:

– Decomposition Notebook
– These notebooks are made with 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper, and have the most beautifully designed covers. They have notebooks, sketch books, and sweet deals on bundles. Highly recommend!

– Refillable fountain pen
– Fountain pens are elegant, functional, and eco-friendly! You can gift a beautiful pen with a few refills, and you can even get it personalized for that extra something special.

– Ceramic water color pallette
– Not only is this gift absolutely gorgeous, but it’s useful and can be purchased hand made. If you’ve got a friend who loves painting, make his or her holiday special with a ceramic water color pallette that inspires creativity.

– Charcoal
– Charcoal is perfect for a low waste gift because its a natural product. Encourage beautiful sketches from your artistic friend with this new medium to work and play with!

– Bamboo craft caddy
– Avoid plastic storage containers by gifting a beautiful bamboo storage caddy to help organize your friend’s favorite craft supplies. Fill it with some co-friendly supplies, too!

For the manly man:
**While I try to avoid over-generalized stereotypes, sometimes it can be challenging to shop for our hyper-masculine friends, especially since being environmentally responsible is still considered a more feminine trait and that can make some people uncomfortable (don’t get me started, y’all). So I mean no offense in how I titled this category, and I hope you still find it helpful.

– Brewery tour
– A fun experience gift that you’ll feel good about giving to any beer-loving friend! Find out if you have any local breweries he or she loves, and look into their tours and gift cards.

– Safety razor shave kit
– A safety razor is arguably one of the most eco-friendly swaps when it comes to our shaving needs, and luckily for us, there are some great products on the market. Find a safety razor and some blades you like, and add in a locally made soapy shave bar for extra luxury! Check out the Leaf razor; very easy to use and they even have kits available. (This is what I want for Christmas, in case anyone was wondering).

– Sustainable Watch
– While the most sustainable watch is the one they already own, the second best option is vintage! Thrifting for a classic and cool watch that’s sure to please is my recommendation. If you aren’t finding something you know they’ll love, try shopping sustainable anti-fast-fashion brands like Solios for classic looks or TRIWA for modern designs.

– Groupon coupon
– Whether your friend is into going to the batting cages, indoor sky diving, or arcade games, there is a Groupon for that! Search around for an experience that’s sure to please.(Also, how fun is it to say “Groupon coupon,” right?)

– A dazzling meal
– Everyone loves a phenomenal meal, prepared with care just for them. A special night with all your friend’s favorite foods might be just the gift you’re looking to give this holiday! Homemade goodness is always appreciated.

For the bookworm:

– Audio book subscription
– A few months of audio books is a perfect gift for your friend who loves getting lost in compelling stories! This zero waste option is sure to be a hit, especially if your book loving friend is always saying how hard it is to find the time to actually sit down and read.

– Kindle Paperweight or other e-reader
– This little gadget is one of my favorite possessions, and makes for an exceptionally thoughtful gift. I love that it is easy on the eyes, is wonderfully portable, and can hold so many stories! If you’re looking to wow a book lover, and save on precious resources, this might be a great option for you. You can pre-load it with a few favorite stories, as well!

– Soy “Bookstore” candle
– Encourage a cozy night of curling up with a book, complete with that old bookstore/library smell. This is especially wonderful when you do switch to an e-reader.

– Hand crafted book mark
– Get your crafting pants on and spend the time to make a beautiful, personalized book mark that your book buddy will love. I love a DIY and it can be such a thoughtful way to show you care.

– Secret compartment book
– This is a fun one, and I love the idea of keeping special treasures safe. Check out some local thrift stores for a copy of your friend’s favorite hardcover novel, or a few classic titles, and create a secret keepsake box from it! Place your handmade book mark inside with a personal note, and a few small treats for additional gifty goodness.

There you have it!

I hope you’ve come away from this post with some new ideas, and excitement about the holidays! As always, thank you for reading, engaging, and supporting!


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