Updated: Dec 10, 2020
The term “zero waste ” came about in 2008 as a way to describe manufacturing and municipal waste management practices. It’s only in 2009 that the “zero waste movement” started to emerge here in North America.
When I was growing up back in the 70s and 80s, we had a real Christmas tree in our living room, covered in lights, ornaments and lots of silver tinsel. I loved spending my time sitting or laying on the floor by the tree where I could look up at the beautiful lights and smell that calming pine smell.
Sadly, when it was time to put away all of the decorations, we also had to get rid of the poor tree. We would painstakingly take our time to remove as many strands of tinsel as we can so we could reuse them the next year… and no matter how much we had watered the Christmas tree over the holidays, we were still left with a trail of dry pine needles from the living to the end of the driveway. And next to that tree at the end of the driveway sat 2 or 3 bags filled with (still non-recyclable) pretty and torn Christmas wrapping paper.
Times change. We grow, we learn, we know better and we do better. Which is probably why you’re reading this post. You are looking for ideas on zero-waste gift giving. As many of us are. Let’s create new traditions and new ways of gift giving. There are many options out there. I know you can find beautiful, fun and simple ways of creating new zero waste traditions and new zero gift giving ideas. Let’s start with these below…
Zero waste Christmas gift giving ideas.
The gift of simplicity
Purchase / make your own version of pretty cloth napkins and/or paper towels. (Easy cloth napkin tutorial here)
Give shampoo bars and/or conditioner bars. They can be found on-line or places like Sequoia where I get mine.
Make something yummy to eat. Cookies? Jam? I make my jam with frozen raspberries, maple syrup and chia seed. (Recipe here) I have mason jars that I use. that can easily be decorated into a pretty gift. (Jar decorating idea here)
note: links included above are non-sponsored.
A gift card is never a waste when thought has been put into it. What does he/she enjoy doing? A nice cup of coffee or tea at their favorite coffee spot? A night out learning to play pool or bowling? Is there something he/she has always wanted to try but never got around to yet? For example, guitar lessons, voice lessons, or painting? My teenage daughter loves to receive gift cards for Chapters and Cineplex.
Gently loved gifts.
We have so many second-hand stores in our area. I’m sure you do too. Many second-hand stores carry stylish clothing, purses, and accessories. Many have gently used kids’ clothing and toys too. Maybe your friend collects plates. A great gift for such a person would be a vintage plate. Do you know someone with a DVD collection? Is their a specific movie/show DVD they haven’t added to the collection yet? I have a friend who collects old Nintendo games as well as vintage toy cars.
My new favorite thing is finding pretty fabric to wrap my gifts in. I also have a few “Christmas gift” boxes that I use and re-use. The receiver of the gift can choose to keep the pretty fabric or box to re-use. If not, I politely ask them to return the fabric and boxes back to me so they do not end up in the trash. No more garbage bags full of used and torn wrapping paper. Not to mention the fun I have in creating beautiful gifts.
What about the Christmas tree?
I can’t begin to imagine the number of trees that are grown, cut down, and thrown away all in the name of Christmas. How about starting a new tradition of making your own original tree. Pinterest is full of ideas on how to make Christmas tress using up-cycled wooden pallets, fallen branches and more. I found a Pinterest link for you… click here
Yours in health ~ Nancy Shimmy