Low Waste Holiday Gift Ideas

December 9, 2020
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Here’s a list of what I’m gifting this holiday season plus some other creative, low waste holiday gift ideas that you can give to your loved ones!

These can encourage someone curious about low waste living or help someone already on their journey of trying to be more conscious about their impact on the planet! 

Share Experiences

Over the years, I’ve come to find that my favorite type of gift is the gift of an experience. 

Instead of buying something, wrapping it, and just handing it over, I love the thought of giving an experience as the gift. Some of my favorite gifts I’ve given and received have been an experience! 

Dinner for two at your favorite local restaurant? Plan a weekend getaway? A gift certificate to get a massage or acupuncture? A cooking class for two? Skydiving? A day trip on a sailboat?

These are often the gifts that leave the biggest impression and offer joy beyond the moment of opening! I’ve always thought giving the gift of a memory is more special than just an item we want in the moment. 

The Gift of Experience from Low Waste Holiday Gift Ideas via elanaloo.com

Buy Secondhand Gifts

Whether you want to gift home goods, a gorgeous sweater, art or photographs for their gallery wall – you can likely find some of the pieces you’re looking for in an antique or secondhand shop.

Also, I’ve received some of the best reactions ever when I’ve gifted some of my clothing or home goods to friends or family. Although I might not wear it or use it a ton – it might be perfect for them. 

Obviously, secondhand gifts don’t just have to be hand-me-downs, I also mean shopping secondhand or creating something from a secondhand find.

Recently, I tried painting old vases with a unique mix of paint to give them new life (inspired by #trashtoterracotta) & think this could make a beautiful gift!

Buy Secondhand from Low Waste Holiday Gift Ideas via elanaloo.com

Shop Sustainable & Ethical Brands

If none of the above caught your eye, consider shopping only from brands that employ sustainable and ethical business practices or gifting quality tools that help reduce our waste.

Here are some ideas for sustainable gifts:

Almond Cow Plant-Based Milk Maker

Coffee Sock & Chemex 

A gift certificate to Helen Milan or Package Free Shop
(both of these shops have amazing low waste home and personal goods to choose from)

Pottery – Here are a couple of the brands that we have in our homes: 
Hansellman Pottery, Campfire Pottery, Altar Ceramics, Baker Potter 

Flour Sack Cloths (to replace paper towels for good!)

Artifact Uprising Book

Leaf Shave Razor 

Our Place Always Pan and/or Dinnerware 

Ceramic To-Go Mug 

Six Seasons Cookbook

Ceramic Water Filter

Raw elements SPF  (reef safe & plastic free)

All We Can Save, Braiding Sweetgrass or How To Give Up Plastic (three awesome books)

It’s also worth mentioning that these gift ideas are all from online sources. If you want to truly embrace the low waste ethos, shopping locally is the best way to go.

Not only will you avoid the environmental impact of packaging materials, but you’ll also support a local business and they need us now more than ever!

I recently shared ways to reduce waste during the holidays & hope you’ll give that a read.

Give Homemade

A gift that requires your time and energy can carry more weight than a gift that only requires your money. I used to LOVE making gifts for others – candles, jewelry, art, baked goods. 

For a long time though, I strayed away and am just now finding myself enamored with these type of gift ideas. I love to make gifts that light people up and that they can use.

I’ve gifted homemade ornaments, infused olive oil, homemade cookies, yummy granola and creamer or milk made in my Almond Cow.

Other zero waste ideas could be homemade body scrub, deodorant or toothpaste. 

Although this is not entirely zero waste, I have loved making photo books for family members because it’s a rarity that people print photographs anymore and this can make for a very special keepsake.

Outside of the though & time that goes into making a gift, you’re also able to control the ingredients and process of creating your gift, meaning you can omit toxic ingredients and excessive plastic waste!

Give homemade gifts via Low Waste Holiday Gift Ideas via elanaloo.com

Once you have figured out what you want to give to your loved ones this holiday season, you likely have to wrap it: 

Wrap Thoughtfully

If you are giving the gift of an experience, you don’t have to worry about this part! If you are giving a physical gift, try wrapping your presents for the holidays in these ways:

1) Wrap your holiday gifts in reusable materials like a beautiful linen napkin or a reusable tote bag. This essentially is two gifts in one & looks gorgeous!

2) Another option is to upcycle brown paper that comes in packages, old newspaper, or other wrapping material I’ve saved. To be fully zero waste, use biodegradable twine, cotton string, or anything else that is biodegradable instead of plastic tape. 

Sustainable Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas from Low Waste Holiday Gift Ideas via elanaloo.com

Meet the writer


Thanks for reading! I'm a photographer, writer & environmental advocate excited to be sharing regenerative solutions, ideas & concepts for our lives & businesses with you. 


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