Like it or not, the holidays are soon to be upon us, and like it or not, people are going to give gifts. I know there are some who have successfully removed themselves from decorating their homes with frivolous festive trimmings and giving “things” to their loved ones, but I’m guessing that there are many many others who want to give something; it’s just that they’re tired of the same old crap that gets used for a few months and then tossed.
Our regional government is actually running a campaign this year encouraging people to “Make Memories, Not Garbage”, meaning giving gifts of experiences or material goods that are good quality and meaningful (if you go to their site and scroll down, there are some great gift ideas and ecards). So, in that spirit of giving, here’s my two cents on low impact gift options.
- reusable fabric gift bags
- table cloths, dish towels, napkins or towels
- reused wrapping paper, newspaper, or kraft paper
- reusable mesh produce bags
- boxes from shoes, oranges, scotch, etc
- lunch containers or travel mugs (works well for gift certificates and jewelery)
- rafia and twine or quality, reusable cloth ribbon
- gift tags made from reused Christmas cards
- tickets: theatre, music performance, movie, theater sports, comedy club
- passes: rec centre, gym, museum, aquarium, science centre, yoga studio
- classes: art, dance, craft, cooking, language, theatre
- outdoor experiences (this might be an organized tour or a promise to do something together): snowshoeing, horseback riding, cycle trip, camping
- health and wellness experiences: massage, haircut, housecleaning
- consumables: preserves, crackers and fancy cheese, coffee in a tin, cookies, gift in a jar, etc. Or even better, a share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or a few months of deliveries from a local food company (thanks for the idea Anna)
- secondhand items (almost anything can be found lightly used – it’s just cheaper and has less packaging): books, housewares, clothing
- homemade items: calendar, consumables, ornaments, etc
- zero waste helpers (yes, they are things, but they’re really good things): compost bin, travel cutlery and containers, mesh produce bags, plastic free shaving set, package-free toiletries
- Services! (thanks to Beth for the addition via twitter): Clean their bathroom, organize their digital photos; plant bulbs in their garden
Yes, if you’re wondering, we have actually given a compost bin as a Christmas gift before.
As an additional note, we’ve found that if you’re giving experiences, it’s best to actually sign them up to lock in a date rather than just give a gift card that could well be forgotten. What are some other low impact gifts you’ve given or received?