The holiday season has arrived! For many people that means sharing gifts with loved ones. We’ve made a list of our top 10 plastic-free gift ideas, either for your own wish list or to give away.
#1 Mason jars
Mason or Weck jars are still a universal hit amongst all plastic-free people it seems. And, what’s not to love? 🙂 They’re super multifunctional. They’re pretty… And they beat plastic any time when it comes to looks, feel and durability. You can use a nice jar to store your food, weck food, shop bulk, or as favorite to-go coffee mug or lunch container.
Personal tip: either give (a set of nice) jars by themselves or fill the jar(s) with something you like, such as (bulk) sweets and chocolate, loose leaf tea (plus tea egg), a nice herbs/spices mix, nut mix, coffee (beans), even socks or a nice tea towel.. Jars make for a very original and cute packaging when tied with a nice bow:
#2 items to make your (friend or family’s) plastic-free life easier
Pretty bamboo tooth brushes, a good set of reusable bulk shopping bags (e.g. Re-Sacks), a sturdy old-fashioned safety razor, a cool fabric tote, a stainless steel lunch box, set of nice food containers, reusable watter bottle, or a menstrual cup for ladies, there are many options to go all out on this! I recently came across this great window display on the right at Koko Toko in Groningen. Love it!
For lots of inspiration: see our Pinterest page too!
Books are a great plastic-free alternative in my opinion! They’re made of paper and the knowledge and stories contained in them will be around to go from hand to hand for ages. You can give a book you personally loved to read, or reminds you of a person (put a sweet message in the cover, or make a personal book marker yourself). Alternatively, ask for/give a book that will help you(r friend) to be more plastic-free or otherwise green! E.g. see here for Beth Terry’s book, below for the Dutch zero-waste book by Emily-Jane Lowe (she also runs a zero-waste shop on her blog, with great gift ideas!), or give a vegetarian or vegan cook book. If you have a family, also check out Zero-Waste Home by Bea Johnson. In the Netherlands ‘De Groene Meisjes’ have out a new book, on vegan life and greening it up. More tips on plastic-free books here. Also sweet: make your own book by collecting some favorite stories or recipes. Not a fan of wasting trees? Get/Ask an electronic or second hand copy! (see e.g. de super stylish ‘That’s a Wrap’ E-guide by lovely Lindsay from @treadingmyownpath).
#4 plastic-free kitchen items/tools
Awesome for all cooks and kitchen-lovers! And always nice to give in any price range. In the plastic-free area, I personally purchased and used with great joy over the past year: two stainless steel tea eggs; a (Bialetti) stainless steel coffee percolator (waste-free coffee for me, though the package at plastic in it.. !); a thin dish washing brush to clean out reusable bottles (see below); a very good food processor (Magimix Mini) to make more food myself; a wooden spices mortar for herbs (wish I got stone!).
On my wish list still are: a pasta maker or ravioli maker; a nice old fashioned wooden chopping block; a french coffee press for when I have more visitors. Most gifts range from about 10 euro to 35 euro. The tea eggs, dish brush and mortar are certainly cheaper. I also recently saw this really awesome slow filter coffee maker from Dille and Kamille! (7,95 euro’s):
#5 Beauty gifts
True beauty’s within, of course, but what’s nicer than receiving something which smells nice? This can be very hard plastic-free though! Our tip: give a (set of) lovely (hand-made) soaps and/or shampoo bars (e.g. from Lush) without plastic packaging! There are many options for this. Lush products are vegan, packaging-free and have minimal chemicals. In Groningen, Diezijner in Zwanestraat has other good options. Other (plastic-minimal) gift tips are (organic) essential oils (to make your own toothpaste too); Lush Toothy Tabs (tooth paste tabs), massage bars, bubble bath balls etc.; a bottle of nice organic nurturing oils (e.g. almond, argan, jojoba) which are amazing as non-chemical body oil, moisturizer, shaving oil. Dille and Kamille is great for gift shopping too! They have very limited packaging, and sell for example these body scrubbing tools:
#6 Quality (local) foodstuffs in repurposable glass bottles or jars
Such good gifts! Tasty food in cute packaging! I saw this organic, fair trade sirup at Dille and Kamille for example (6,95 euro):
But also think of nicely packaged marmelades, special honeys for a sweet person, jars with sweets, basically anything. If you want to get creative: make your own contents! Dille and Kamille here also sells reusable glass bottles filled with dried herbs and spices, to be filled with alcohol for a cool DIY nice drink! You could probably make this yourself too… (Consider giving it with the dish washing brush mentioned above! )
#7 Table ware
Not necessarily helping to go/switch to plastic-free perhaps, but at least easy to give plastic-free! Nice ceramic mugs and plates, organic cotton napkins, an organic cotton table runner or placemats. What to think about this great and cute bamboo table ware of brand Zuperzozial (for sale in the Netherlands at Sissy Boy, in Groningen at GoudHeerlijk in Nw. Ebbingestr. too)? I personally love all table ware from the Fair Trade shops/brand. I have had the tea pot below for ages. In the Netherlands, consider the ‘Wereld Winkels‘ or WAAR-shops. Both shops are great for cook books too! Also check out gift idea #10…!
#8 give life – give a plant!
Plants bring life everywhere and improve the climate of any room. I love a big leafy plant myself. Can’t wait for my home grown avocado pit plant to grow into a huge, pretty plant, for example. Annemiek has an amazing one at her house, that I hope to copy! 🙂 On my wish list still, is a fig tree plant. Big plants are great to fill up the gap of your X-mas tree. Hip right now are ‘air plants‘, but succulents and cactus also still make great cute gifts even for those who are bad with plants. Superb too: they’re for any budget! These cute babies are at 1,75 euro, but I’ve had my eye on a massive 60 euro one too. (There’s a temporary plant ban at our house though, so not for me 😉 )
#9 give love – give yourself!
Sometimes the best gifts are not things, but gifts of your companionship and/or a new experience. Take your friend or family member(s) on a day out, get concert or theater tickets, treat them to a nice massage or spa moment, a high-tea, a dinner, paragliding, bungee jump…You name it.
# 10 give second hand – eco-friendly, cheap and zero waste!
On a budget, extra eco-friendly and/or fully zero-waste? Consider second hand gifting! Maybe we should have a seperate post on this. The ideas are many… A cool mirror, a planter with flowers or plant, some vintage table ware or cutlery, music records, a good looking scarf, bracelets or rings, etc. I’m still a bit in love with a cute 3 euro small carpet I got recently. But, I’m also always spotting this blue and white (Jager blau) china at street markets..! In the Netherlands it’s everywhere :-). Not a fan of second hand store hopping? go online!
That’s it for now! What gift would you like? What present would you add to the list? Did you gift plastic-free before during the holidays, what did you do?