The best eco-friendly festive gift ideas for Christmas

The weather is getting colder, young and old are looking forward to enjoying the festive days, the food and the holidays. Over-consumption now is at it’s peak but with the environment in mind you can still indulge in the tradition and celebration of giving gifts, whilst helping to tackle our global plastic waste problem. Check out my eco-friendly and zero-waste gift list below before you hit the shops or join the online shopping frenzy.

Pre-loved items with the tags on & gift cards

Did you know that most charity shops have a variety of items with the tags still on? Alternatively, you can purchase a charity shop gift card. By choosing a charity gift card to give to your friends or family you know that you are helping and improving the lives of people living in difficult situations.

Gift your time – acts of service

One of the most valuable things these days is our time. Ever wish someone would help with cleaning, decorating or with those pending jobs that you never get around to finish? Why not treat a friend or a relative with your time and help them sort out one thing in their life? This gift would be especially useful for elderly people or a busy family.
You can also consider offering your time to:

  • Cook a meal or help with their gardening.
  • Dog-sitting, house-sitting or babysitting.
  • Go shopping with them.
  • Have a meal or join them for an outing, spend some quality time with them.

Reusable alternatives that replace single-use plastic items

The process of reducing waste takes time because it is all about adopting a different lifestyle. By gifting a reusable item you can help friends and family to start their zero-waste journey. A few ideas include:

  • Reusable water bottle.
  • A coffee cup / travel mug.
  • A set of metal straws.
  • A set of portable cutlery.
  • A reusable shopping bag.

Gifts for foodies

What better gift for the foodies in your life than a hamper full of treats? And best of all, this gift is the most affordable! Choose delicacies in glass jars or other recyclable packaging, select the basket, box or other container of your choice and some festive decorations. Homemade pickles, jams, cookies or cakes will be even more appreciated!

Packaged free bath, beauty & personal hygiene gifts

If you know what the recipient likes to use for his personal hygiene, the packaged free options are a perfect replacement for the usual gift sets found in most cosmetic stores – all packaged in plastic bottles. Check out

Another gift idea is a plastic free, reusable razor set such as the Naked Shave Kit which is 100% plastic free by Naked Necessities .

Experiences and treatments

Experiences are very popular these days and my list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this option. Depending on your budget and what the recipient’s interests are, there is something for everyone.

A few ideas:

  • Cinema, theatre or sports events tickets.
  • Passes to exhibitions, annual memberships, workshops and courses.
  • Beauty treatments, massage, manicure, pedicure, reflexology, aromatherapy and more.
  • Adventure experiences, Go Ape, driving experiences.


Give the gift of plants and help your loved ones bring the garden indoors. There are plenty of hard-wearing and affordable plants available to purchase. If possible check before you buy that the pots are not plastic.


There’s something wonderful about gifting someone with a book you read and loved. Although you’re likely to find that many friends are reading their books on an e-reader, gifting someone with an e-book is a lot easier than it seems.

You can purchase a gift card and attach a note that includes the suggested title. Alternatively, you can buy the E-book and email them the link to the downloadable content.

Less-waste gift wrapping ideas

With so many different eco-friendly and zero-waste gift wrapping ideas, it is relatively easy to stay away from the conventional gift wrapping.

Use a cloth carrier bag and decorate with bright coloured string.

Use a recycled & reusable wrap. Check out my featured brand post about Wrag Wrap, a Devon based company which produces wrap made from 100% recycled (traceable) plastic bottle waste.

Another option is to wrap your gifts in scarves/table cloths or fabric pieces. You can purchase them from a charity shop or use your own if you are happy to pass them on to the gift receiver.

Do you have any other low-waste gift ideas? What are you gifting this year, (if you are gifting at all)? Share in the comments below or get in touch with me on Social Media

Elena Daniilidou

Elena is an ethical vegan and minimalist advocating for sustainable and slow living.

View all posts by Elena Daniilidou →
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