You indulge in delicious foods, you spend relaxing quality time with your loved ones, and you exchange meaningful gifts with your favorite people. There may be snow flurries or clear blue skies depending on where you live (both of which carry a magical feel for the winter months).
Let’s be real though. The holidays can be a tumultuous time for those of us that are used to living in our groove.
You may have your healthy eating habits, your exercise routine, your preferred bedtime and morning rituals, and even your eco-conscious values that keep you living a fulfilled life. Everyone’s groove looks a little different but it comes down to a similar feeling of wanting to do good and feel good.
We all know how much of this groove gets put to the side as we overeat, stay up late, and participate in a very consumer-based holiday season.
Often times, these indulgences lead to feelings of guilt. Gift giving, especially, is supposed to make you feel good, NOT guilty. It can be hard though when we purchase gifts wrapped in layers of single-use plastic that we toss in the garbage just to re-wrap the gift in single-use wrapping paper and ribbon. But hey, there is a really awesome gift giving approach that will make both you and your lucky recipient feel aligned and in the groove with mama Earth.
Zero waste gifts let you spread the magic of the holiday season with an aftermath of do good feel good rather than being left with that feeling of dreaded guilt.
The recipient does not have to be a die hard environmentalist to feel a calling towards a more minimalist and zero waste lifestyle. By giving gifts that will help them along this path, you are planting seeds of minimalist and zero waste living.
It makes sense that most people have traditionally put little thought into the sustainability of their gift giving practices or how to make a gift zero waste. Gifts are a special treat that we often pick based on our hearts and emotions rather than our logic.
With our planet’s injured state of being, however, your emotions, as well as your recipients emotions, are likely tied to the planet’s well being. Mindless consumerism makes most of us feel pretty crappy in the long-term. For your sake, and for the recipient’s sake, it is vitally important to purchase gifts from companies that are helping to mitigate the planet’s catastrophes. Look for transparency in their supply chain. Look for renewable resources. Look for companies that give back. Look for handcrafted and locally made. And don’t forget to look for companies that focus on zero waste. I know island living sounds nice, but you don’t really want your gifts to end up on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, do you?
So check it out...
Top zero-waste gift ideas for this holiday season:
Depending on the recipient of course, plants have the potential to be an awesome gift. Plant nerds can never get enough of these babies. From indoor plants in beautiful ceramic pots, to rare varietal fruit trees, to stunning flowering shrubs, your imagination can go wild as you browse the local nursery for this zero-waste (and potentially carbon eating) gift. Check out Pompelmo Floral for unique designs, or Botanic & Luxe for a well-curated selection of house plants and other gifts for plant lovers!
Overall, the skincare industry is quite toxic. From the harsh synthetic chemicals that often end up in our soils and water, to the exorbitant use of single-use plastic containers that cannot be recycled, finding a transparent skincare company that focuses solely on plant based ingredients and plastic free packaging is a huge step in your eco-conscious journey. Look for companies that support fair trade, zero waste, and regenerative agriculture. Anato is California made, checks all these boxes off and offers divine gifts for both him and her Specific gift ideas include shampoo bars, lotion bars, and serums and body oils packaged in glass. These types of gifts are for the minimalist lifestyle and they are indulgent. Check out Anato’s Black Cedar Soap, Regenerative Elixir, or the Mini Sample Kit to get a taste of Anato’s best multiuse skincare products!
A travel set for on-the-go eating
As a society, we have gotten much better at reducing single use plastic and styrofoam cups for on-the-go beverage consumption. What’s next? Reducing our use of plastic utensils and single-use take out containers. A really fun gift set can include bamboo fork, spoon and knife, a non-plastic tupperware, and reusable metal or glass straws. A practical gift that your recipient can keep in the car for times when they need convenient eating on the go. This gift is perfect for a zero waste friend or also for a friend that you are trying to inspire to live a more minimalistic life. Every time they use it they will think of their darling friend that picked out the perfect functional gift. Ethos in Capitola Village is a great place to shop for zero waste products.
Reusable produce bags
By now, most people are well stocked in reusable canvas grocery bags. Hopefully sooner than later, the habit of bringing reusable produce bags to the grocery store or farmers market becomes just as widespread! Every time you go to the grocery store to buy produce, you often use multiple plastic produce bags that may or may not ever get more than one use before being thrown away or recycled. Reusable produce bags generally come in mesh made out of different types of lightweight fabric - don’t forget to seek out natural fibers. This is a wonderful zero waste gift idea for your food loving friends.
A staple in a zero-waste household is beeswax wraps! Beeswax wraps have beautiful designs and are super useful for a variety of reasons. They generally replace a household’s use of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. You can purchase beeswax wraps, or better yet, learn to make them at home so you can customize your designs. If you happen to live in the Santa Cruz or Bay Area of California, you can join Anato’s founder, Céline, for a DIY Beeswax Foodwrap Workshop.
Local art - paintings, pottery & ceramics, jewelry
From ceramics, to paintings, to jewelry, there are loads of options for finding the perfect art gift for your friends and family. Shopping around for local art encourages you to visit your local artisan markets, which in turn help you to boost your local economy. Seek out art made from plant-based dyes and ingredients, upcycled materials, the earth itself (hello clay!) and other renewable resources. Check out the gorgeous botanical prints by Lili Arnold and the nature inspired and functional ceramics of Coco Chispa.
Who doesn’t love a nice french press? For coffee and tea drinkers alike, a nice french press helps to eliminate single use coffee filters and tea bags. You can purchase both tea and coffee in bulk, which also helps to reduce unnecessary packaging. Look for one made of glass and stainless steel.
Wool dryer balls
Wool dryer balls are an awesome stocking stuffer. They remove yet another source of toxic and disposable chemicals in your household by replacing dryer sheets. Wool dryer balls help to dry your clothes quicker, and they essentially last forever. Drop a few drops of an essential oil onto the dryer balls to add a heavenly (and completely natural) scent to your laundry load.
Many homes plow through paper products - whether paper towels for cleaning up messes or paper napkins to keep handy at the dinner table. A set of cloth napkins is a very useful gift and certainly helps reduce the amount of waste the average household generates. Shop around for natural fibers like linen or hemp that are sourced from ethical farms. If you want cotton napkins, make sure it is organic cotton. To make this a fun gift, seek ones out with an artistic design that matches the recipient’s style.
An online subscription service is a long lasting gift that helps to reduce the use of paper, packaging, and transit expenses, which ultimately leads to a lighter carbon footprint. Reading the newspaper online, listening to audio books, and subscribing to online educational platforms are increasingly popular. A subscription for your loved one is a really thoughtful gift that helps empower them with easy access to their favorite media.