blog shopping tips

waste-free holiday gifts that won’t break the bank

December 7, 2018

Christmas is around the corner and it’s easy to feel a lot of pressure to buy the perfect gift during the holiday season.

Let’s face it, Christmas can be suuupper stressful.

AND when you’re trying to be more mindful of your waste and plastic use, it can be even MORE stressful.

I’ve been doing some research (and trial and error!) recently and I’ve found some pretty cool, low-waste, inexpensive gifts for family and friends.

Some of these are more general ideas, others are more specific options. Here are a few questions to ask yourself while Christmas shopping this year:

  1. Why am I buying this person a gift? Is it out of obligation because they’re more of a distant relative that I’m not super close with, but I’ve gotta show up with SOMETHING for them to unwrap on Christmas? Or is it someone that means a whole lot to me?
  2. What’s important to that person? What do they value/talk about often?
  3. What are their hobbies? And what can I give that will be practical?
  4. Can I make them something?
  5. What will be something they will actually use?

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with…

ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS

dcb_1351I’m not saying to go out and buy a brand-new book (although, you could do that if that’s more up your alley, or better yet, buy one second-hand!). I’m talking about actually giving one of your parents or your best friend a book that’s been super influential to you.

I truly believe a used book is full of magic. Within the pages of that book, someone’s imagination and creative mind is seeped into the fibers of each page. Someone else was wrapped up in the same world you’re reading about… someone else was feeling the same overwhelming excitement you felt as you read those same words. There’s something raw and important about that. There’s some sort of deep connection between people who share a book — I don’t know how to explain it but I swear it’s gotta be true.

Share your favorite books with the people you love! You won’t regret it 🙂

{ A GOOD PRESENT FOR: PARENTS, FRIENDS, GRANDPARENTS, SIBLINGS…}

HANDMADE JEWELRY FROM A LOCAL ARTISAN/SMALL BUSINESS

dcb_1373These earrings are made by my dear friend Maggy and her husband Evens. They run a business called Haitian Shore Beauty and all of their jewelry is made from sea glass from the beaches of Haiti. You can find their Facebook page here.

Check out some small businesses near you that sell artisan-made jewelry. Or check out some fair trade stores like Ten Thousand Villages or Mata Traders for some super trendy, quality jewelry (and other goods!)

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: MOMS, GRANDMAS, SISTERS, FRIENDS, COWORKERS, RELATIVES….}

MASON JAR CONCOCTIONS

dcb_1357The options are pretty much endless when it comes to packing things into mason jars. The jars are glass, so they can be reused or recycled, and you can really customize these jars to fit whoever you’re shopping for. Remember to buy items in bulk when you can!

You can find lots of different sizes in mason jars, especially at second-hand stores!

Pinterest has more ideas that I could possible fit in one blog post, so check out Pinterest for some specific concoctions. But here are a few ideas….

Hot chocolate mix
Cookie or cake mix
Candy or chocolates (buy bulk!)
Recipes using dried ingredients

Hand soaps (buy a foaming pump and use Castile soap, avocado oil, essential oils and water and you’re all set!)
Homemade candles
Homemade face mask/beauty products

Homemade lotions
Snacks
Tea (buy loose-leaf and in bulk!)
Coffee
Popcorn (bulk)

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, SIBLINGS, COWORKERS, RELATIVES, BOSSES…..}

PRE-MADE, SUSTAINABLE BEAUTY PRODUCTS

dcb_1365Below are some of my favorite companies where you can find quality products with sustainable packaging…

Meow Meow Tweet
Fat and the Moon
Burts Bees (only some products…)*
Plaine Products
Mad Hippie (they’re pricey…)
Package Free Shop
OSEA (also pricey….)
Pacifica* and Shea Moisture * (not sustainable packaging…. but Pacifica products are top of the line and Shea Moisture is such a great company!)
*available at Target for easy shopping

If you’re looking to purchase some “treat-yo-self”-type gifts…. check out these guys! They offer plenty of face masks and lotions and lip balm! Lots of their items come in sustainable packaging, too!

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: MOMS, AUNTS, SIBLINGS, COUSINS, FRIENDS, COWORKERS, BOSSES….}

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES

f1057e8e-17c0-4e1a-b747-09412ec7ccc4One of the easiest steps in limiting your waste is using a reusable water bottle and coffee thermos. Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen are two top rated brands on the market. They’re meant to last for YEARS. They’re a bit pricey, but totally worth every penny. They come in different colors and sizes, too!

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: LITERALLY ANYBODY}

COMPOSTABLE PHONE CASE

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Pela case is a compostable phone case company. I’ve been using my case for months and it’s holding up great! Obviously it’s not going to give the same level of protection as an Otterbox… but I’ve dropped my phone a few times with this case on and my phone doesn’t have a scratch (knock on wood!).

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: AGAIN, LITERALLY ANYONE. BUT ESPECIALLY SIBLINGS AND YOUR NIECES AND NEPHEWS}

USEFUL KITCHEN SUPPLIES

dcb_1396You obviously don’t have to get someone in your family oven mitts…. but there are some kitchen items that I really believe people could always use more of. For me, I could use more hand towels to wipe up messes in the kitchen. Since I try not to use paper towels, I rely on kitchen towels A LOT. You can always pick up some super cheap ones at a second-hand store and wash them before giving them out as presents.

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, RELATIVES….}

ESSENTIAL OILS/BLENDS + DIY CHAPSTICK

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Essential oils can be used in lots of things — cooking, DIY beauty products, health remedies, aromatherapy…..

Young Living has lots of starter kits. If you’re interested, check out why I choose Young Living here.

I’m making everyone in my family an essential oil blend this year… each will will be customized to fit each family member. My dad has a lot of aches and pains — so I’m making him an “aches” blend that contains peppermint, panaway and lavender. I use it all the time when I have a head ache.

I’m also making chapstick for everybody this year. It’s ridiculously easy to make and I swear this stuff works better than Chapstick brand chapstick — no kidding. Check out my post about the recipe here.

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: AGAIN, LITERALLY ANYBODY}

TOTES + REUSABLE BAGS

dcb_1370Reusable cotton produce bags make awesome gifts. They can be used for, obviously, produce, but they can also store other things too! Or, they’re even cute as a wrapping paper alternative. My friend Agnes from Andinda Design makes all kinds of cool products using second hand cotton! She makes cotton rounds, bento bags, produce bags, pouches and lots more. Check out her Etsy shop here.

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: ANYONE, BUT ESPECIALLY MOMS, AUNTS, GRANDPARENTS, SIBLINGS, FRIENDS….}

HEATING PAD/WARMING PILLOW

dcb_1386My local health food store, the Health Hut, sells these flax seed heating and cooling pads. You either warm them up in the microwave or cool them down in the freezer. They’re made with sustainable cloth and come pre-wrapped.  An item like this will last a while and it could be good for your family or friends who often get aches and pains. A standard heating pad is always a good option too!

{A GOOD PRESENT FOR: LITERALLY ANYBODY}

ADDITIONAL GIFT IDEAS….

dcb_1356Chocolates: You can find bulk chocolates at most grocery stores or you can also find lots of organic chocolate bars that come wrapped in just paper!

Sustainable beauty supplies: Etsy has loads of sustainable beauty supplies… and so does the Package Free Shop. Items like wooden hair brushes, bamboo tooth brushes, organic cotton hair ties, etc….can make great stocking stuffers.

Bamboo or wool socks: Two sustainable options for socks that you can find online, particularly on Etsy.

Wool scarf: Package Free Shop just added alpaca wool scarfs to their site and they look amazing!

Quality blanket: Everybody could use a good blanket! Look for some that are made sustainably or with recycled or eco-friendly materials.

BANGS Shoes: This company sells awesome shoes. 20% of the proceeds go to Kiva, a company that invests in entrepreneurs around the world. Instead of giving people free shoes, this company supports the thought that if you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day, but if you teach a person to fish, you feed them for a lifetime. And it’s supporting entrepreneurship and creativity! I’ve got a discount code — leave a comment below if you’re interested!

Loose-leaf tea + strainer: This is definitely a gift I’d LOVE to have. You can find some really great loose-leaf tea at the grocery store — or a local tea shop — and pair it with a strainer. Loose-leaf tea tastes better and it’s much better for the environment!

French press; coffee bean grinder; bamboo or stainless steel straws; to-go cutlery (check out Plastic Free Shop!); quality cloth + glasses case for those who wear glasses (anyone else struggle to keep your eye glasses clean!?)….etc.

Check out second-hand stores! This might sound like I’m just trying to be cheap, but I’m really not. Second-hand stores can have incredible stuff! I’ve gotten lots of friends and family members gently-used books that look like new! You can find toys and clothes with the tags still o0. You can even find some pretty quirky items, too. Stop by your local thrift store and see what you can find 🙂

WHAT GIFTS ARE YOU GIVING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?

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