12 Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Feel even better about your gift giving this holiday season with some fun, creative and eco-friendly gift ideas! The best part about all of these options is that your gift recipient doesn’t have to be an environmentalist to appreciate the thoughtfulness and awesomeness of the low-impact present you’ve put under their tree.

An Outing

Experiences can end up being the most treasured gifts. The Bandsintown app is a great place to browse listings of all upcoming events, concerts and shows in your local town. Or skip the tickets and plan a day being touring local attractions: you can check out the local Farmer’s Market, do a Craft Brewery crawl, go for a hike, or make a contest out of finding the best score at a thrift shop. You’d be surprised how many people treasure memories as their most favourite gift.

Homemade Baking

Whip up some of your favourite holiday treats and package them in reusable containers or mason jars (you can easily decorate these with some holiday-themed stickers, paint or ribbon so they are nice and festive) to give away. These are an awesome gift option for coworkers, teachers, dog walkers, your hair stylist, etc.

Cookie Exchange

Another fun option is to host a baking night or cookie exchange at your house: get everyone to bring their own recipe and ingredients, and you can all make your own baked goods together. Once they’re all ready, mix them up so you get to keep some of of everything and enjoy other recipes you may not have otherwise tried. And while you sit around and enjoy each other’s goodies over a glass of wine, soak your baking pans and trays with an environmentally friendly cleaner so everyone can take their treats home without the need for any additional packaging.

Ethical Hierarchy of Gift Giving | Natura Solutions

Recycled Jewelry

The MyPaperTale shop on Etsy offers gifts that any bookworm or environmentalist would LOVE. They create beautiful jewellery using recycled, used books and colored paper. These pieces are unique and so interesting, and would be the perfect gift for that one person who has everything.

Reusable Straw

Most restaurants and fast food chains are now (finally!) making the switch to straw-less. But this can be a challenge for our friends with sensitive teeth or other dental issues. Luckily, you can now find reusable straw options everywhere: check out this set on Amazon which even comes with a carrying kit and cleaning brushes.

Thrift Store Steals

One person’s donated goods is another’s treasure, right? There’s nothing quite as satisfying as finding a great deal or one-of-a-kind antique for just a few bucks at your local thrift shop. A quick rinse with some eco-friendly dish soap or laundry detergent, and your newfound treasure will be ready to be wrapped up and gifted to its new owner.

Collapsible Cup

Did you know that Americans toss out 58 million disposable cups annually? To help combat that, there may or may not already be a few of these under my Christmas tree…the Stojo is an on-the-go collapsible cup that comes in both 12oz and 16oz and is a great alternative option to disposable cups or bulky travel mugs. It’s leak-proof and collapsible, so you can drink your daily fuel and then squish it into a compact little disc to stow in your backpack or purse for later use.

Share Your Skills

There’s no shame in using your skills or talent for a gift idea. Are you handy around the home? Give a ‘gift certificate’ of your time and handyman skills. Are you a great seamstress or good with the ol’ knitting needles? Knit your friends a hat or scarf, or sew a piece of clothing you know they’ve been wanting. A very design-oriented friend offered to help style a new house we moved to as a birthday gift, and it was one of the most thoughtful and useful gifts I’ve ever received.

The Gift of Cleanliness

This idea isn’t just relevant for the holidays, but for any opportunity to help a friend or family member out during challenging times. Whether someone has just had a new baby, has been ill or recently had surgery, or just needs a helping hand, the gift of cleanliness is always appreciated. Roll up your sleeves, come bearing a bucket of cleaning products and get to work: it will likely take only a few hours of your time, but will reap endless gratitude from the lucky recipient.

While you clean you could also be extra handy and pop in a load of laundry or two; an aroma-free and natural-based laundry detergent is a great option, especially for new moms and babies with sensitive skin.

Recycled Yoga Mat

This yoga mat is made from recycled neoprene wetsuits. Neoprene is a closed cell foam, so it won’t accumulate dust and bacteria from yoga studio floors. Production of these mats keeps wetsuit waste out of landfills, and the mat itself may be recycled when its yoga days are done.

Create a gift bundle and also wrap up a tube of biodegradable bamboo wipes that your yoga-friend can use to clean their mat after each use. There’s a non-toxic, no-rinse cleaning solution on each wipe that tackles oils and sweat, without damaging the surface. Wiping the mat regularly restores its grip and prevents the build up of bacteria, all in an environmentally-friendly way.

Green Toys

For the little ones in your life, GreenToys.com is a great resource for 100% recycled, safely made toys for babies and kids. Plastic milk jugs are the primary ingredient in these toys, but they also use other items like yogurt cups, which are cleaned, shredded into flakes, reprocessed and mixed with food-safe, mineral-based colouring. They’ve even partnered with Sesame Street to create activity and craft sets for the most Elmo-obsessed on your shopping list.

Meal Kit Subscription

Spud.ca has made “Canada’s most sustainable meal kit” by using local and organic ingredients to prepare their weekly recipes, and packaging it all in a sustainable way. They have options for every diet (gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian) and all kits are customizable so that you receive only what you want and need — so no waste. They partner with local farmers and producers so you can enjoy seasonal ingredients right when they taste the best, and their “banned ingredients” list means you can trust you’ll only receive safe, healthy, real food. This is a gift idea so awesome you may just want to give it to yourself 🙂

We hope this list has given you some great, eco-friendly ideas to help with your (endless!) shopping list this holiday season. Check out our recent post on hosting a sustainable dinner and learn even more ways to have your most environmentally friendly holidays yet. Happy shopping!

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