Zero Waste Gift Essentials: Alternative Gifts Ideas for The Holiday Season

As we slowly start to enter the holiday season, the thought of gifting your loved ones with that one perfect gift starts to crawl upon us. For some people, this can be a hugely stressful time – you might be on a tight budget and simply can’t afford that perfect gift or you might think you don’t know the person well enough to give them a great gift. Sounds like you? Read on and discover some of my favourite zero waste gift essentials.

Studies have shown repeatedly that by investing money into experiences, instead of things, we can achieve greater happiness. The claim that having a physical item that we can touch/see every day and hold on to for a longer period of time will remind us to be grateful for it time and time again, has been widely disclaimed. As time passes by, we grow accustomed to our physical possessions and the initial excitement that we experience upon buying/receiving the item is quickly replaced by our longing for more.

This is where the vast majority of my first zero-waste gift idea stems from. Alternatively, my blog post also includes a few ideas for those that can’t find a good ‘experience’ option and still want to stay aligned with their zero waste ideals.

Gifting Experiences > Gifting Things

Vegan friend? Treat them to a vegan-themed event in your area!

Vegan friend? Treat them to a vegan-themed event in your area!

I have found that a lot of my friends considering giving experiences a fantastic idea and yet, for one reason or the other, they opted against it. Whether they had absolutely no idea where to start, their main ideas were beyond their budget or they were simply scared their friend would appreciate the gesture. If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you might be stuck in the same situation at this very moment, so I gathered some of my favourite tips and tricks that might make it easier for you.

Some of the most common alternative gift ideas that don’t include gifting physical items are, in fact, quite common – a deeply relaxing massage, an afternoon tea with friends or a concert/cinema/theatre ticket.

  • TEA/COFFEE AFICIONADO: Find a local craft coffee or matcha tea workshop and you’re all set! Alternatively, you can always go for the classic gift voucher from your friend’s favourite café ;)

  • SPORTS FAN: I’ve got plenty of sports fans in my family and find that they’re very easy to find gifts for – think stadium tours, match/season tickets, sports museums, swimming/gym memberships etc.  

Travel lover? Organise a trip for them and rely on different means of public transport to minimise your carbon footprint.

Travel lover? Organise a trip for them and rely on different means of public transport to minimise your carbon footprint.

  • TRAVEL LOVER: Travel is a majorly disputed topic in the zero waste community, and yet remains one of the most enriching experiences – encourage your friend to travel consciously using public transport (train/bus tickets are always a good idea) or plan a camping/hiking trip out in nature.

  • ARTS AND CRAFTS ENTHUSIAST: Again – workshops and training courses are a fantastic way to enrich your friend’s life! Creative writing, sewing, knitting, painting, pottery classes and more.

Clothing shopper? This holiday season, why not try choosing independent shops or even some second hand items!

Clothing shopper? This holiday season, why not try choosing independent shops or even some second hand items!

Still not convinced? If experiences are not an option for whatever reason, my biggest advice would be to support local brands or independent artists. Try to avoid mass corporations and instead support brands and businesses that are aligned with your low impact/ zero waste philosophy – it will not only feel better but also have a positive impact on the environment!

Last but not least – YOU are the one who knows your friend best, so make sure to LISTEN OUT for any hints and most importantly – get creative!



This article was written by Tajda, who is the founder of My Vegan Minimalist. She is a food photographer and captures her daily vegan adventures on Instagram.

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