(almost) zero waste holiday gift guide 2017

I love the holiday season.  I love this time of year to get together with family and friends and to relax before gearing up for the new year. What I don’t necessarily love is the task of gift giving. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving people something they love. Unfortunately, I usually find myself getting something they don’t actually want or need. Or I often feel conflicted getting something that will eventually end up in a landfill.

As the holiday season ramps up, I want to share some gift ideas that keeps wastefulness at a minimum.

Consumables

Who doesn’t love food?! And the best part is, it doesn’t clutter a person’s house after they are done with it! Win-win!

Alcohol

The LCBO has really neat holiday gifts this time of year. My favourite is the sampler packs you normally wouldn’t be able to get any other time of the year.  I especially love the Erdinger and Chimay packs (both amazing beers!). They also have some amazing wine and spirit gift sets as well. Sure to please any alcohol-loving adult!

Fresh produce gift cardI have been dying to try out one of these services, such as Fresh City Farms or Mama Earth Organic, both of which give you the option to send a gift card. Basically, for a set price every week, you will get fresh fruits, veggies, or  meal prep kits delivered to your door. An amazing way to give someone the gift of time and health! Fresh City Farms offer delivery or pickup at a local hub while Mama Earth Organics only offer delivery. Check to make sure the recipient lives within their delivery boundaries! You can also consider supporting your local farmers to see if they have a CSA (community supported agriculture) box. Check out this link here for farms in Ontario!

DIY Gift Basket
Gift baskets are everywhere this time of year and more often than not they are wrapped in absurd amounts of plastic. I couldn’t find any vegan-friendly gift baskets so I decided to take it upon myself to make it this year. Fill a reusable bag (see below!), basket or storage box filled with your favourite goodies, tea, cookies, chocolate, you name it! The possibilities are truly endless!

Homemade Goodies (or goodies from a place you know they like!)
I’ve been on the receiving end of a few baked goods over the years from one of my talented baker friends and I have always loved it! If you aren’t an avid baker, getting them something from their local bakery is always a welcome gift! For those who are looking for a vegan-friendly option, I absolutely LOVE the Vegan Danish Bakery in Thornhill, Ontario. Their apple tart and pecan tarts are wonderful, even for those who don’t follow a vegan diet!

Experiences


Experiences with loved ones create lasting memories that insurmountably surpasses the momentary feeling of joy that comes with unwrapping a gift. Here are some gift ideas that not only don’t come with any extra ribbons but are gifts that continue to give long after the holidays are over:

Movie tickets
An easy gift for anyone. And who does like movies? I am sure this will be an especially welcome gift, especially with the new Star Wars movie coming out in a few weeks! 🙂

Restaurant Gift Cards
Gift cards have gotten a bad reputation in the past but I think it is time to bring them back. Gift cards to a restaurant ensures that 1) they will get out of the house and 2) will enjoy a meal at a restaurant that they love, or better yet, have them try a restaurant that they have never been to!

Memberships
For my nephew’s past birthday, I gave him the gift of a Science Centre membership. While his reaction to the piece of paper wasn’t what I had hoped for (kids aren’t fans of delayed gratification after all!), he has been obsessed with everything Science Centre since his first visit! Other great memberships would be to the AGO, ROM, and Ripley’s Aquarium. Or even something fun like tickets to Legoland or Canada’s Wonderland would be a great idea (chaperoning is optional, but I am sure most welcome by the parents!)

Classes
Classes existing for anything and everything these days, everything from cooking classes, baking classes to pottery classes. Check your local municipality for classes. Some supermarkets such as Loblaws and Longo’s have cooking classes and some small bakeries also offer baking classes as well. I have also seen my local municipality offer everything from pottery classes to knitting classes, so check out your local community center for more information.

Magazine Subscription
A great gift idea for kids that keeps on giving long after the holidays is a magazine subscription. I used to read Chirp (age 3 to 6), Chickadee (age 6 to 9) and Owl (age 9 to 13) and magazines as a kid and loved it! (Anyone remember selling magazines for fundraisers as a kid?!) National Geographic Kids is also a good option for the older kids (age 9 to 12) and while there is a digital version, the good old-fashioned paper copy is always available (and frankly, also a good way to give kids a break from all the screen time!)

Environmentally-Friendly Ideas


These are basically things that I have covered in my previous zero-waste blog posts but I thought these gifts would be a great way to introduce someone to the world of zero-waste

Beeswax Food Wraps
I’ve raved about the abeego beeswax wraps in a previous blog post here. They are still going strong and I love using them as an alternative to plastic wrap!

Reusable Bags
My favourite baggu has never left my purse. Another great brand I recently discovered is flip and tumble – love how their bags fold back on themselves so there is no slip cover to lose!

Dryer Balls
Another oldie that I have talked about previously here. The Nellie’s Lamby Dryer Balls are definitely one of my best purchases that has completely eliminated our need for dryer sheets! A good gift to accompany this would be some essential oils, which can be added to the dryer balls to give your clothes a nice scent!

Plants
Succulents and cacti are great plants for those who like the look of greenery in their home, but don’t have the time or patience to deal with the maintenance. (Personally, I have also had great experiences with Peace Lilies as well. They also help purify the air!) HOWEVER, if the recipient of this gift has any animals at home, check to see if they may potentially be poisonous to pets. Seasonal flowers like Poinsettias are poisonous to cats and dogs!

Donations

This one doesn’t fall into any of the above categories but a donation to a charity would be a great gift idea as well.  One of the charities I recently supported was Wild at Heart Foundation, an organization that helps with animal welfare projects around the world. Plus, they are currently selling their adorable organic cotton sweatshirts with all proceeds go towards the Foundation and towards their mission of helping dogs all around the world. Check it out here!

And there you have it! I hope that this has helped inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to holiday gift giving.

What are some of the gift you plan on giving this year?

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