Low Waste Holiday Gift Ideas For a More Sustainable Future

Kelsey Rumburg
4 min readDec 18, 2021

The holiday season is upon us. Everyone is out shopping for their friends and family. Some of these people, we don’t see or spend a lot of time with so we don’t know what they really want or need. Unfortunately, many people are going to get presents this Christmas that they won’t like or use. A lot of gifts may find themselves in our landfills.

This Christmas, let’s focus on low waste gift ideas that can contribute to a more sustainable future. Are you ready to explore greener options that will make even “hard to buy for” people happy?

Upcycling: Look around your house. I’m sure there are plenty of things that have served their purpose with you and you’d like to get rid of them. With the art of upcycling, you can revamp and revive all sorts of things to give as gifts this year. Old clothes can be cut up and made into handbags or quilts. Picture frames that you don’t use anymore can be painted and personalized to fit a specific individual on your shopping list. By taking all of your used candles you can separate them into similar colors, melt them, decorate the jar, tin can, or another heatproof container, pour in the melted wax, and make new candles to give. No matter the items, you can take the products that you have no more use for and tailor them to fit a specific person on your list! You’ve just saved money and given something vintage, thoughtful, and unique that someone else can get some enjoyment out of.

Arts & Crafts: There are many arts and crafts that can be created to fit any style and personality. Let’s say you have a cousin that love’s going on vacation to a specific destination because she enjoys it so much. Try painting a picture of that location. If you don’t like to paint you can buy a picture and put it in a homemade picture frame using materials from around the house. What if you have an uncle who loves to work in his workshop? But, his work area is messy and he needs a little organization. You can take tin cans, glass pickle jars, clear plastic mayonnaise or peanut butter containers, etc., and turn it into a craft project. Personalize it to reflect items that can go in each container, like nuts, bolts, nails, screws, and washers! You can make it easy for him to get organized and reduce the outgoing trash in your home! Everyone on your list has something that they need. It doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there is more value to your friends and family members if you put effort into creating a one-of-a-kind gift for them rather than buying them one.

Regifting: We have all received gifts that we did not use or did not like. Gather these items up this year. Carefully determine who on your shopping list could benefit from a gift you couldn’t benefit from. This is the perfect time to implement a no-waste policy into your gift-giving methods this year. There’s no need for more products to go to our landfills when we can find someone else to use them. You will be cleaning up your house and making more room while also making someone else very happy.

Other Gift Ideas:

  • “On-the-go” individuals can be hard to shop for sometimes. However, here are a couple of ideas to help them reduce waste. No more styrofoam coffee cups and plastics! Instead, give them reusable travel mugs, water bottles and environmentally conscious cutlery, bags, and containers. Make it easy and painless for them to start reducing waste in their everyday lives.
  • “Home & Garden Enthusiasts- Let’s face it, we all know these people that are constantly trying to upgrade their home and garden. But what if they are having a hard time committing to a more environmentally friendly way of doing it? There are online businesses that are committed to manufacturing zero-waste kitchen and home supplies. A voucher to one of these stores is an awesome gift. Or, you can give them the gift of a compost bin or worm farm.

Just think, this year you could be giving gifts that reflect your personal goals on a greener lifestyle. If your friends and family can see how easy and beneficial reducing daily waste can be, they may be willing to join the global cause!

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Kelsey Rumburg

As an adventurous farm girl, I am a creator on a mission to build a better economy. I question our idea of trash and look for new ways to use our resources!