You’ll find a lot of inspiration here: the best eco-friendly gift ideas for all occasions and people. This eco-friendly gift guide is filled with unique presents and gift ideas. It will make it so much easier for you to find outstanding gifts for your sustainable friends, co-workers, relatives, or loved ones. And don’t forget to treat yourself now and then, right?!
Having an eco-friendly lifestyle makes many of us want to buy less, or even nothing at all if we don’t have to. That’s why I’ll also give you tons of inspiration for presents that don’t involve consuming more. But I know that this is not for everyone. So if you do decide to buy somebody a lovely gift, I’d love for you to choose something eco-friendly. Either way, you’ll be kind to the planet, while being kind to the receiver of your thoughtful present.
As a special bonus, I’ll give you tips and ideas about your presentation: how will you wrap your carefully selected gift? There are many sustainable, eco-friendly ways to make a present look pretty. At the bottom of this article, I’ll wrap things up with the wrapping.
Giving without buying more stuff
Memories are made when doing things together. It’s usually much more powerful to share experiences than exchanging gifts. Think about gift certificates for a night out, a vegan dinner you make yourself, bungee jumping, hiking, or any fun activity you can think of. You can make beautiful gift cards or certificates yourself, or you can buy ones for specific venues. You can experience the adventures together, or give experiences for them to share with others. You can really get creative, and there are loads of options that don’t break the bank.
DIY, upcycle or craft
If you’re into crafts or good at building things, why not make a gift from scratch. You can personalize your present to the max if it’s tailor-made. Knowing somebody went to all that trouble to create something, especially for you, is heartwarming. Even if you are not the best in making or building things, you might like to try upcycling. To upcycle something simply means repurpose: you take something old, think of a completely different way to use it, and make something even better. For example:
- take an old picture frame
- paint the frame a fun color
- replace the glass with a piece of board
- put some chalkboard paint on it
Voila: you’ve got a cute chalkboard for a home office or kitchen. And then, of course, there’s always cooking and baking. Make them something finger-licking good for the holidays to show your appreciation. Simply use your talents and skills.
Give gifts a second life
The presents under the tree don’t have to be completely new. There are loads of second-hand items that look new and are still working great. You can find them in thrift stores and even online. Or even better: buy something in charity shops and make it a win-win. The gift will be sustainable, because it’s been reused, and you fund an organization to help them do their charity work. You could also re-gift something you once received but never used. Just because the present wasn’t a good fit for you, doesn’t mean it can’t make somebody else happy.
Prolong the gift
The gift that keeps on giving is one of the better offerings. Why not surprise somebody with a subscription to their favorite online magazine or local theater, provide membership to their gym or sign them up for a fantastic course, like an art class? Or you could give them a subscription to an organic food box. They’ll receive fresh vegetables and fruit every week and some recipes to make a healthy, delicious meal. You will only give your present once, but your loved ones will enjoy it for many weeks or even months to come. Make your presents last.
When you don’t have children or children that are old enough, you might want to stop buying gifts for everybody. Switch to the game of Secret Santa instead. Simply write down everybody’s name on a piece of paper, take one each and buy only for the person you picked. Set a max budget for everyone to spend. This way, you’ll save money, and you don’t end up with loads of gifts that you don’t really need anyway. You could make it even more sustainable if you add a theme to Secret Santa. Like plastic-free gifts only, or used presents, or home-made ones, or upcycled only.
When you buy products using links on this website, I may get a small amount of money. It will cost you nothing extra! But you would help me keep this blog going and you would make me happy. Thank you!
THE ULTIMATE ECO-FRIENDLY GIFT GUIDE
Here it is, the excellent list you’ve been waiting for: the ultimate eco-friendly gift guide. I know many people love shopping, who have bright, creative minds and who always find the exact spot to buy one of a kind gifts. I also know many people need help to find the right present. Or maybe just a little inspiration to get started.
Well, I’ve got you covered. Take a moment to think about the person you’re searching for presents for. What kind of person do you have in mind? Interests? Hobbies? Personality? Now check the list below and see what category or even categories suit best. Click the links and find pages filled with fantastic gift ideas.
♥ Gifts for adventurers
To adventurers, owning stuff doesn’t matter all that much. Give them experiences instead. They need to feel alive and kicking. Provide them with the tools to go out on an adventure to explore. Inspire them.
♥ Gifts for artists
Do artists ever have enough supplies? The whole world is an inspiration to them, and everything’s a canvas to paint, a statue to be born, a picture to be taken, a song to be sung. Help them let the creative juices flow.
♥ Gifts for athletes
No limits, only challenges. Athletes can be competitive, both with others and themselves. Dare them to go further, higher, deeper, faster. But most of all, dare them to be healthy and happy. Cheer them on.
♥ Gifts for bakers
The smell of fresh-baked bread in the morning helps all of us wake up with a smile. Bakers love to get their hands in the dough and start creating. Pies and cakes can be a form of art. The only limit is their imagination. And their tools. Bring the bakery home to them.
♥ Gifts for bikers
Feeling the wind in your hair, the sun on your face. Bikers love to get on the peddles. Maybe for fun and relaxation, for sports and racing, or for commuting to work. Either way, you want your bikers to feel good and to be safe. Help them jazz up their bicycles and outfits. Get them on the road.
♥ Gifts for builders
Tools. Timber. Stainless steel. Tools. Leather. Blocks. And tools. Did I mention tools? Builders love them. Builders love raw materials that are full of potential. The potential to become anything they want it to be, under their hands. Big builders or tiny builders, they want to create from scratch. Give them the tools they need.
♥ Gifts for cooks
A few ingredients and a creative mind are all cooks need to prepare the most delicious and nutritious meals or treats. Well, they might need some beautiful kitchenware and appliances too. Cooks love to share with you an experience of great smells and refined taste. Get them in the mood to get cooking.
♥ Gifts for crafters
Where you see a piece of cardboard and cloth, crafters notice a world of possibilities. Their hands need to be creating because their minds are filled with fun, colorful ideas. They glue, staple, bind, fold, hammer, paint, stamp, cut. Crafters are busy bees. Fill up their hives with inspiration.
♥ Gifts for designers
You see a kettle, a couch, a logo, a website, a skirt, or a car. Designers see lines, patterns, colors, shades, fonts, graphics. And when designers see those, their head fills up with ideas and they want to create their own designs. They should not be without a sketchbook and a pencil or drawing software. They love to sketch, and they love to develop their initial thought into a product. Design their designer’s dream.
♥ Gifts for drinkers
Picture a fine wine, a dark beer, an aromatic herbal tea, a luxury coffee. Drinkers love the ceremony of drinking nearly as much as they love the drinks. They don’t drink for thirst. They drink to socialize, spread joy, share precious moments, celebrate togetherness, and be in the moment. Raise a glass for them.
♥ Gifts for eaters
To eaters, wining and dining is an art form. They don’t just sit and eat. They love the anticipation of every new course. They enjoy the table setting, the smells coming from the kitchen, and the company they’re in. Eaters enjoy the way the food looks all pretty on the plate, the texture of every bite, and the surprising taste of every new recipe. Feed their appetite.
♥ Gifts for gamers
The real world disappears. Gamers love to submerge into another world, close down their brain for everyday worries or troubles and lose themselves in virtual reality. It’s not just about the escape, though. It’s about the challenge to beat the system, beat opponents, team up with friends or allies, get to know people worldwide, solve puzzles, learn tricks, master the moves, and train the coordination of eyes and hands. Up their game.
♥ Gifts for gardeners
Experience the smell of soil, dew on the grass, sunlight on the leaves. Gardeners feel a deep connection to nature, it grounds them. Working in the garden can be hard work and relaxing at the same time. They clear their heads while trimming roses or planting tomatoes. They turn dirt land into oases of flowers and crops. Help them grow.
♥ Gifts for hikers
Hikers have time to see the world around them. They feel the terrain, breathe the atmosphere, conquer the bumps in the road, and clear their heads. Hikers experience all the things other people rush by. They love the outdoors, want to keep moving, and need to walk to feel energized and healthy. Step up to help them.
♥ Gifts for meditators
Soul searching for precise focus and relaxation of body and mind. Meditators find themselves in stillness. They need to tune out the chatter of the world around them and the chatter in their own mind. They feel the need for balance, for a body and mind connection, for focus, for clarity. Meditators are on a journey to their best selves, to health, to joy. Guide them to inner peace.
♥ Gifts for readers
The power of words doesn’t go unnoticed to readers. Readers have a hunger for knowledge or a thirst for stories. Drama, excitement, adventure, enigma’s, self-improvement, learning, escaping, getting lost, and finding yourself. Readers live a hundred lives through other people’s words. They love the smell of ink on paper, the surprise that’s waiting on the turned page, the waves of emotions stories put them through. Bring them books.
♥ Gifts for relaxers
Some people are born to be calm. Some people need to schedule desperately required downtime. Both kinds of relaxers love some time off. Time off from having to do anything. No work, no chores, no obligations, no talk, no deadlines, no schedules, and no alarm clocks. Relaxers know how to simply let it be. And they need to relax, maybe even more than most people, to recharge and to go on in everyday life. Sooth them.
♥ Gifts for thinkers
Thinkers love to be mentally challenged. Some thinkers are philosophical, trying to unravel the way the world works and what makes people tick. Others are problem solvers, or engineers, trying to improve the world and fix what’s wrong. Thinkers see and hear things that others miss. They love connecting the dots, finding new pathways, and creating new worlds. Think about them.
♥ Gifts for travelers
They have too much earth and too little time to visit every inch. Travelers have restless legs. They love to explore, see new places, meet people, try local foods, listen to every city’s soundscape, and every forest creek. Travelers can’t help but wonder where the next road will lead them, what’s around the corner, what’s behind this fence. This planet is beautiful, and travelers can’t get enough of it. Lead the way.
BONUS: HOW TO WRAP IT UP
Fabric or cloth wraps
Wrap your presents in beautiful pieces of cloth or fabric instead of paper. Use kitchen towels or scarfs to make your gifts look amazing. You can ask for the receivers to give it back to you so that you don’t run out of towels or so that you can reuse them. Or you can let them keep the beautiful wrapping and double your present: they get the gift and a kitchen towel or scarf. There are fantastic ways to use this kind of wrapping. On Lou Longworth’s blog, you’ll find simple instructions on wrapping with cloth in Japanese style.
You prefer a more visual instruction? Here’s a great video’s on Furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping with scarfs or beautiful pieces of fabric. This video teaches you how to fold and tie them into different kind of bags. The instructions about gift wrapping start at around six minutes into the video.
If you need things to be slow and easy, have a look at this instruction video. It covers the basics of gift wrapping with fabric.
Reusable gift bags
Sew cute little gift bags. You can custom make them for the gifts you have this year, but they’ll be reusable for years to come. If you lack the sewing skills, like me, you can buy reusable gift bags in cute patterns as a good alternative.
If cloth wraps are not your thing and prefer paper, you could try reusing old materials. Think of old road maps for wrapping, sheet music, or calendars, maybe some of your children’s artworks. Cut up that leftover wallpaper and use it as a wrap. If you’re not using big shoppers yet, you could reuse your paper grocery bags and wrap presents in them. If you still prefer buying rolls of wrapping paper, choose the eco-friendly brands. Those rolls are made of recycled paper or don’t use toxic coatings. Paper with coating can’t be recycled. The fun, happy patterns of Wrappily are among my favorites.
Pots, containers and baskets
You could use flowerpots as packaging, especially if your gift has something to do with gardening. If you pick a clay flower pot, you could personalize it with paint or markers before putting the present in. Some flower pots have a plate or dish for retrieving water. You can easily use that dish as a lid for your gift wrap.
You could go out to find beautiful cookie jars, containers, lunchboxes, toolboxes, makeup bags. Those old-fashioned cookie tins with roses, for instance. Either new or second hand. Or a sturdy stainless steel lunchbox that can stand the test of time.
A well woven basket is another great accessory to put gifts in and doubles as beautiful home decor. All of these things make pretty gift wraps that you can keep using over and over. Have a look at the awesome MadeTrade collection for inspiration.
Dump the tape
All that tape we use to keep our gift wraps together isn’t good for the environment. The most adhesive tape is made of plastic and contains a lot of chemicals and glue. Just go back to the old ways instead: bind things together, or tie it up. You can use natural string or fancy ribbons or anything in between. Always better than plastic glued tape.
If there’s no way on earth, you see yourself tie and bind your presents and need adhesive tape… You guessed it: use the eco-friendly paper tape. Paper tape doesn’t have to be bland and brown. Sustainable adhesive tapes come in all widths, colors, and patterns. You’ll see, many are just too cute.
Instead of bells and bows, you can decorate the presents with leaves, small pine cones, dried fruit, or feathers. It will look so cute and pretty.
Ask online shops for less packaging
If you’d like to go the extra mile, be sure to tell online shops you want to receive your orders in as little packaging as possible. You can email them about it, asking them to send you the least amount of packaging possible. If you shop at Amazon, you could check the box that says ‘frustration-free packaging.’
Sit back and enjoy their reaction
Aaaand, you’re done! All those thoughtful, eco-friendly presents are bought and paid for, all wrapped up in creative ways, and ready to be given to your loved ones.