Less Waste Holiday Gifting

For those of us looking to be more aware of what we are spending and wasting the holidays can be an extremely stressful and frustrating time of year. The good news is it doesn’t have to be, here are eight tips to keep it simple, inexpensive and hopefully less stressful when gifting this holiday season.

WORD OF WARNING! Keep in mind who the receiver of the gift will be. One approach might work well for one person but not for another. The last thing you want to do is proudly make or shop for something someone will trash or tuck away to never use.

1. Re-Gifting

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Start at home, do you have a gift card you just don’t see yourself using but know someone else might enjoy? An item that is just collecting dust but is really a great gadget or item? Sometimes we hold on to things that we know are really wonderful or useful but just do not fit our lifestyles. If the situation fits, gift it to a new home with someone who will appreciate and use it.

2. DIY

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Consider making something for a loved one. If you know you can make something without too much stress like homemade beauty products, clothing or home decor, why not? I know I have started to make certain items for myself so I already have a lot of the supplies on-hand. This makes it easy for me to make extra and gift the rest. If they are the type of person that appreciates homemade pieces they will be thrilled you took the time to make them something.

3. Food or Drinks

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Food and drink items are safe bets. We all have to eat! Sweets are a favorite like cookies or candies but if they don’t have a sweet tooth consider something savory. Make up your own gift basket (no plastic!) with a few items you know they will enjoy. Teas and coffees with a fun mug can be a great idea for cooler temperatures. If you plan to gift alcohol be sure they appreciate alcohol, not everyone is a fan or their lifestyle, religion or other comes into play as to why they don’t drink. Same goes for certain foods, if you don’t know the person well enough to know allergies this might not be the best gift idea and look to try others.

4. Buy Used

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Have a list of ideas but they seem too expensive? Consider buying used. Getting the latest tech gadget can be pricey, so look to get one version back from the latest one available. Something like a used iPhone 10 instead of the iPhone 11 could save you a good amount of money and save it from a landfill. Look for “open box” sections of websites, such as Ebay or Amazon Warehouse, check out local used stores and so on.

It doesn’t have to be just tech items, see what your local thrift shop has for kitchen wares, board games, picture frames, vases, clothing and so much more. If nothing else, check out what is available for what you might be searching for before you purchase new.

5. Purchase Local

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If you are going to buy new, consider keeping it local. Support your community and shop small. This keeps resources to a minimum and stimulates the economy in your area. I like to put something in my “cart” online and then look for it local first. Most of the time I delete it from the cart because I was able to grab it in town. Depending on where you shop this can save you on shipping as well. Consider asking the local owner about the item you are looking for, some places will order it for you at no additional cost or can possibly make it.

6. Gift an Experience

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Not everyone wants more “stuff”. If you have a few minimalists in your social circle look for experiences you can gift instead. Sporting events, concerts or a spa day are wonderful gifts. Consider their lifestyle, do they love a certain gym? See if you can purchase a gift certificate or pay for a month for them. App services like Hulu and Netflix offer gift cards that can help reduce a loved one’s bill for a couple months. Really consider what this person does with their time and how you can give them more of what they love to do with that time.

7. Plants

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Plants are not for everyone, but for some they will be a welcomed gift. Watch for small potted plants (so they live on past a few weeks) that are low maintenance so you are not burdening this person with a plant they now have to baby. If they have allergies, avoid something like flowers and look for plants that reduce air pollution like the hard to kill snake plant.

8. Donations

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Donations can be a lovely gift, the key is to find a good cause and something your gift receiver cares about. Animal lover? Support a no-kill shelter. Helping Veterans? Donate to their favorite charity.

If you don’t have the money to donate you can donate your time. Tell your loved one you would love for them to join you in a walk to support cancer or to donate your time together at a homeless shelter. Not everyone has time to spare so make sure this fits their schedule and it is a cause they want to support.

Skip the Gifting All Together

Some people are opting out of giving gifts all together. If you want to explore this option talk to those you care about and see if they are open to it. A lot of people express their love by way of gifting so don’t take it personal if they are not on-board. If they are not willing to go gift-less explore some of the tips above so they can gift you something that fits your lifestyle and vice versa. 

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My name is Kate and I'm a world traveler looking to make a positive impact by reducing my waste and single plastic use.