It’s that time of year where holidays abound and we have so many opportunities to give gifts to our loved ones. In a world of so much disposable stuff, we’re sharing a sustainable gift guide to spark some eco-friendly gift ideas. From traditional gifts to some DIY treasures, we hope you find some gifting inspiration for this year in our sustainable gift guide.
Sustainable Gift Guide – Physical Gifts
Tried and tested, this eco-friendly gift list is some of our favourite things.
1. Scoria World Cork Yoga Mat and Accessories
Whether it is for someone who regularly does yoga or has just started working out at home like me, these yoga mats are extra special. Not only are they non-toxic and made with sustainable materials, but they also have beautiful and fun designs on them.
If you’re shopping for a parent, there are super cute matching adult and child yoga mats that could make an adorable family gift. In addition to yoga mats, Scoria World has a number of yoga accessories and clothing items.
We have a full review up on our blog about Scoria World cork yoga mats if you’d like to learn more about them. Read the full yoga mat review here: How Good Are Cork Yoga Mats? A Scoria World Review
Shop Scoria World Products here: Scoria World
Save 10% off your purchase with coupon code: SIMPLELIFE10
Love this “Stay Weird & Be Kind” sweatshirt as much as we do? Find it here: Shop Sweatshirts
2. Abeego Food Wraps
Possibly a perfect stocking stuffer or even the perfect way to deliver some home baked goods as a gift, Abeego Food Wraps are a natural and compostable alternative to plastic food wraps. Krista and I have both been using Abeego Wraps for ages and love them!
Shop Abeego products here: Abeego Beeswax Food Storage Wraps
3. Beach Eclectic Reusable Straws
Reusable items are always the best for an eco-friendly choice. Our friend Jami makes reusable straws with the cutest charms. She has so many to choose from, so you’re guaranteed to find something unique for your loved one. She also has reusable chop sticks and glass charms too.
Shop these cute reusable straws here: Beach Eclectic Etsy Store
4. Castile Soap
This might seem a bit random, but castile soap is a super versatile item for eco-friendly DIYs, such as homemade dishwasher tabs! So if you are shopping for someone that loves practical items, castile soap might be right up their alley!
Shop for this item here: Castile Soap
5. Reusable Cotton Pads
Sustainable swaps can be an investment that costs more up front than disposable items. The holidays are a great time to gift a reusable item to your loved one and jump start their journey with sustainable swaps! One of my favourite swaps from the last couple of years is reusable cotton pads. Some people get socks and underwear as presents, so why not pads?!
Read about my experience with this here: Bluebird Pads – A Plastic Free Period
Shop Bluebird Pads here: Bluebird Pads
Sustainable Gift Guide – DIY Gifts
Homemade gifts can feel extra special because you’re taking the time and energy to craft something for your loved one. Homemade items can be more eco-friendly too if you’re conscious of the items you are using.
1. Homemade Spa Day Gifts
Who doesn’t love a little pampering? Treat your loved one to their own spa day by making them some spa treatments. We have some great, easy recipes for DIY home spa day gifts on our blog!
Check out our post: Three Simple DIY Home Spa Day Gifts
2. At-Home Film Festival
Create a fun movie night in by having an at-home movie festival. Choose a movie theme, genre, or a specific actor and binge watch films in that vein. Have festival snacks or meals on hand and a movie guide if you’ve pre-planned the movies you’ll watch.
Print out or hand create a festival ticket and present this as your gift.
3. Salt Dough Ornaments
An easy, non-toxic activity turned gift is salt dough ornaments. Fun for anyone to make, but especially cute for kids to make creations to give to loved ones.
Find a recipe here: Unsophisticook Salt Dough Recipe
4. Homemade Dryer Sheets
Not all people passionate about sustainable living love practical gifts, but if you know someone who does, some homemade dryer sheets might be just the right idea! These are made with upcycled t-shirts and can be gifted in a reused jar.
Find the details here: Dryer Sheets from Upcycled T-Shirts
5. Activity Coupon Book
Create the opportunity for multiple memories together by making an activity coupon book that your loved one can redeem. Include anything from mini adventures, treats, days off from chores, or anything else you can dream up.
Get some activity ideas from our post: 12 Fun, Frugal, and Eco-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Mom
6. Hiking Bingo Card
Create a Bingo card with the names of different local hikes to do throughout the year. Cross of each hike when you complete it and have a fun reward ready for when you fill up the full card.
Sustainable Gift Guide – Experiences & Gifts with Impact
We all have a lot of “stuff” so sometimes it’s worth exploring other types of gifts. Here are some ideas that can help create memories and create lasting impact. The most sustainable things are ones we don’t buy, so skipping the stuff is a perfect idea to explore for a sustainable gift guide.
Tree Planting and Carbon Offsetting
If you’re looking to skip physical gifts, planting trees on someone’s behalf is a thoughtful way to show you care and make a difference for the planet at the same time.
Our friend Fran runs Plant:Grove which focuses on planting mangrove trees and protecting coastlines.
Learn more here: Plant:Grove Website
Donations to Charity
Donate money to a charity in your loved one’s name. Print out some information on the charity and/or write a nice note explaining why you chose to give to the charity. Make it meaningful and personal by donating to causes your loved one is passionate about.
Need some help figuring out what charities are good ones to donate to? Check out our post about making a difference for some tips: How Your Actions Help the Planet: Multiply Your Impact
Experiences are a great alternative to giving stuff. They also have the extra benefit of being something that can be opened on the day and something to look forward to at another date.
Experience Gift Ideas for the Vancouver and Lower Mainland, BC areas
Here are some gift ideas to create memories together. While these links are for places in our area of British Columbia, perhaps they’ll inspire ideas for you if you’re elsewhere.
- Tickets to a live dance performance, such as with Ballet BC
- An arts and culture experience like Vancouver Art Gallery tickets or membership
- Glass blowing or bead making lessons at Terminal City Glass Co-Op
- Take in beautiful nature views at Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Learn about Coast Salish history and enjoy ocean views with a Takaya Cultural Tour
- Rent a kayak or book a full kayaking tour
- Learn new things with a museum visit to the Beaty Biodiversity (or other) Museum
- Plan a day trip to an out of the way gem, like the Chilliwack Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve
- Relax in a Finnish Sauna
- Participate together in a dance or art class. Place des Artes has many group and private class options.
Need more ideas? Our friend Michelle from Boomer Eco Crusader has 12 more ideas and some thoughts on why experiences are great gifts to give.
Support Small Businesses
A great way to shop sustainably is to support small businesses. We love small businesses for so many reasons, not the least of which their environmental footprint can be smaller due to their smaller scale. Read more about why small businesses are fantastic in our post 6 Reasons Why to Support Small and Local Businesses.
Find some great small businesses to support in these posts:
1. Sustainable Small Businesses to Know About in South Fraser and the Fraser Valley
2. Sustainable Small Businesses to Know About in the Tri-Cities (Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam)
3. Sustainable Small Business to Know About in Canada and Beyond (including Australia, USA, and UK)
4. Small Business Feature: Epicure with Christy Eldred
5. Zero-Waste Small Business Profile: Fulfill Shoppe
Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping
Now that you’ve got your gifts all sorted out with our sustainable gift guide, you still have to think of wrapping them! We’ve got a list of sustainable gift wrapping ideas as well as some DIY bows and gift bags from upcycled materials.
Check out our post here: Plastic Free Gift Wrap
What would you add to the sustainable gift guide list?
No sustainable gift guide is going to have everything, so we’d love to hear your ideas too! What sustainable gift ideas would you add to the list?