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Sustainable Christmas Gift Ideas for Literally Anyone

It’s Christmas time, which means the same question is back for another year: does Santa exist?

Um, I mean — what the heck do you buy for your friends and family? And what should you get your colleague you hardly know but whom you drew in a Secret Santa?

And how do you stay sustainable all at the same time?!

Gosh, and people think Santa has it hard at this time of the year.

Before we get into the joys of giving at Christmas, let’s have a quick reflection on how much waste the festive season creates: American citizens throw away 25% more trash during the holidays than at any other time of the year.

Does this mean we should stop buying gifts for a few years? Absolutely not! It just means we need to be a bit smarter and more sustainable with what we buy. 😉

And, look, I’m certainly not a Scrooge. Like you, I love Christmas. So join me as I take a look at the best sustainable gift ideas for 2019.

A handmade, recycled rug

A lovingly hand-made and recycled rug is a gorgeous gift for moms everywhere. Colorful rugs found on Etsy will make a warm addition to your mom’s home this Christmas.

All-natural bath bombs

Bath bombs made from natural ingredients are great for the mom who wants to pamper herself without feeling bad about any chemicals.

Reusable coffee mug

Okay, I’ll admit it. I almost went with socks (organic ones, of course). Because, well, you can’t go wrong with socks for your dad, am I right?!

Anyhow, if your dad is as obsessed with coffee as many dads are, chances are he might appreciate a stainless steel coffee mug that’s perfect for the office, the sports game, and of course, the home.

Other suggestions?

Organic socks

Just tell me these are not a great idea!

A board game

Not seen a sibling for a while? Nothing brings people together better than a board game! Especially when it’s raining/snowing during Christmas, and you just want to stay warm indoors.

The great news is that there now exist sustainable board games that are fun ways to learn sustainability lessons. Games like Earthopoly and Gaia’s Garden are made from recycled materials that can themselves be recycled when you’re all done. These are Christmas gifts that keep on giving.

And, yes, Earthopoly is kinda like Monopoly except it’s more environmentally focused and you get to buy carbon credits. This also means I will probably lose at Earthopoly, too.

A paraffin-free candle

Who doesn’t like candles at Christmas time? They’re literally the perfect gift for people who you’re otherwise unsure about. I mean, you know them, you’re kinda ‘friends,’ but you don’t know-them-know-them.

If you’re looking to go for something more sustainable this year as well, just make sure to buy candles that are biodegradable, non toxic and natural.

Gift certificate to a zero waste store

If you made friends with people from all around the world (I know you did!), you might be wondering what to get them for Christmas.

If they dig sustainability as much as you do and they love online shopping, how about a gift certificate to an online zero waste store? All you need to do is look for sustainable stores that ship to your friend's location.

Dirty Vegan (eBook)

Dirty Vegan eBook or any other eBook, really, is a smart choice: you don’t have to create waste buy shipping a package across the other side of the world.

Reusable water bottle

Got a friend who is dying to be healthier and more environmentally-friendly, but who is also finding it hard to give up soda, caffeine, chocolate, and literally everything else?

How about giving them a bit of encouragement with a reusable water bottle? A reusable water bottle will help them drink more water and stay better hydrated, and it will also help them reduce plastic waste.

Minimal — How to Simplify Your Life and Live Sustainably (eBook)

Minimal How to Simplify Your Life and Live Sustainably is a book written by Madeleine Olivia, a sustainable lifestyle blogger and YouTuber. And while the book isn’t technically out in shops until January 2020, you can pre-order it for someone and have the email sent to them on Christmas Day. 🤩

Other book recommendations

  • The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
  • No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

🎁 A note on packaging

Pretty much most things you buy this Christmas will need to be wrapped. Some of your gifts will need to be shipped, too.

The problem here is that packaging has a HUGE impact on our planet. If you want to really do your bit for the environment during the festive season, it’s important that you shop sustainably, as well as package and ship sustainably.

Here are some quick tips:

Be creative

Do you enjoy potato chips? They’re tasty. But while their packaging isn’t recyclable, the inside is silver and ideal for a bit of creative gift wrapping. This is just one example of many. For example, you could wrap a gift up in newspaper before adding a ribbon to bring it to life.

Use reusable wrapping bags

Yep, they exist, and they’re easy to use. All you’ve gotta do is dump your gifts inside them!

Get your old tote bag out

If you’ve got a closet in your house, you’ve probably got a tote bag inside it. Now is the time to get it out and put it to (re)use.

Send smaller packages

Considering treating someone abroad to more than one gift? It might help if you keep your packages as light and as small as possible this year if you really want to do your bit.

What's next?

With just a few days left until Christmas, now’s the time to stop reading and start doing. Use the tips in this article, but don’t treat them as set in stone. Instead, let them inspire you to come up with some ideas of your own.

And wherever you are, and whoever you are — just make sure to keep it real this Christmas!

What are you getting your loved ones this Christmas? Let us know in the comments below!


Join the budding community of conscious consumers right now and help save the planet! The NatureHub Conscious Community app is now available on both Google Play Store and iOS App Store.

Download it here: Apple iOS   •  Android

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About Will Titterington

Will is a writer who's always looking for ways to live more sustainably. He’d probably like to build his own house one day but one step at a time — he’s only just learned how to change a lightbulb.