From You, with Love (for the Planet!)

Holiday season is here, and it’s time to celebrate those you love with gifts they’ll appreciate. What better way to show them you care for both them and the planet than with a gift free of excess packaging and with a personal touch? Check out our full guide on how you can practice sustainable gifting this December, and year-round! 

Key Tips 
–> Shop locally and small
–> Avoid single-use packaging (especially if it can’t be recycled or composted)
–> Try non-physical gifts 

Homemade with Love
Get crafty and creative this year with a homemade gift. The time and effort you put in to making your gift will show the recipient how much you care! 

  • From Your Kitchen to Theirs
    • Bake a dish with their favorite flavors
    • Make homemade jam, jelly, soup, salsa, or granola
    • For an easy homemade cookie mix, put all the ingredients in a jar for them to bake on their own time
    • For fellow bakers, reusable baking accessories like silicone baking mats can be a great addition to the gift
  • Handmade Pottery or Ceramics 
    • Visit a local studio to create a personal and long-lasting gift 
    • Got an aspiring artist in your life? Send them a gift card to the studio so they can enjoy the freedom of creating whatever their heart desires! 
  • Handmade Jewelry, Clothing, or Art 
    • Art, clothing, and jewelry-making supplies are a one-time (or infrequent) purchase that can make many personalized gifts for family and friends. Try your hand at crocheting a scarf or fashioning a beaded necklace

Gifting in the Digital Age
Eliminate the need for packaging and physical gifts altogether with a completely digital gift – perfect for family and friends that spend time online. 

  • Subscriptions: Streaming services offer subscription services for music, movies, TV shows, and more
  • E-books: Digital books offer readers the ability to carry limitless books in their pocket! For those readers in your life that enjoy a physical book, shop at a secondhand bookstore
  • Classes: There are many hobby classes offered online (or in-person) from arts and crafts to language learning and more
  • Donations: Donate online to a charity or local organization that is close to their heart 

Experiences to Remember
Gifting experiences rather than physical gifts is another way to avoid single-use packaging and to create memories instead! 

  • Restaurant Gift Cards: Or take them out to a delicious meal 
  • Tickets: Tickets to local museums, sporting events, concerts, theme parks, zoos, theatre shows, and movies
  • National/State/Regional Parks Pass or Botanical Garden Membership: Purchase yearly free entry passes to local parks and gardens for the outdoors-enthusiast in your life! San Mateo County offers an annual pass that allows free entry into 22 local parks
  • Classes: Music, dance, cooking, language, workout, and rock-climbing classes 
  • Outdoor Adventures: Plan a camping trip, hike, boat trip, or ziplining excursion

Low-Waste Gifts
Choose long-lasting and low-waste gifts with little packaging that the recipient can use over and over again. 

  • Gift Reusables: Water bottles, lunch/bento boxes, to-go cups, mugs, baking trays/molds, metal or silicone straws, dishes, glasses, and utensils
  • Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Kits: DIY kits are available for many hobbies from knitting to candle making  
  • Zero Waste Health and Beauty Products: Toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, and more are available online and at local refill stores
  • Seeds and Plants: A perfect gift for the people in your life with a green thumb! Houseplants are a source of air-purifying home décor. Herb, fruit, and vegetable plants are a gift that keeps on giving! Repurpose old jars and containers into pots for an extra zero waste touch
  • Repair Kits: Gift your loved one the option to repair their broken items for years to come! 

Packaging Tips 

  • Recyclable packaging (bonus points for no tape and origami type folding!): Use wrapping paper without glitter, glue, or plastic decals (these aren’t recyclable!). Newspaper, tissue paper, old maps, artwork, or scratch paper are all recyclable options 
  • Reusable packaging: For a reusable packaging option, try wrapping your gift in a hand or tea towel or using dedicated reusable packaging. You can also wrap your gift in socks, a scarf, or a reusable tote bag for two gifts in one! 

We hope you take some inspiration from these tips and gift a little greener this year. Remember to limit packaging and try reusable, secondhand, homemade, or non-physical gifts. Happy Holidays from RethinkWaste!  

Share how you’re celebrating sustainably by tagging us on social media – #RethinkHolidays onFacebook,Twitter, orInstagram!