With many of us foregoing family gatherings and dinners during this COVID holiday season, exchanging presents is one time-honoured tradition in which we can still indulge.

While gifts can be a joy to both give and receive, they also produce a lot of waste. More garbage is produced during the holiday season than at any other time of year. Here are some tips to help you gift generously while not stuffing the landfills.

  1. Give second-hand gifts. Re-gifting preloved, upcycled or vintage items can make for thoughtful, low-waste gifts. 
  2. Give an experience.  How about a giftcard for a local restaurant, coffee shop, photographer, gym, pottery studio or other activity? Plus you can support a local business!
  3. Give an act of service. Designing a personal ‘gift certificate’ for your services, such as babysitting, dog-walking, gardening, or house-cleaning can be a kind and waste-free holiday gift.
  4. Give homemade. Creating your own gift, a video montage, a personalized playlist, a photo album or something crafty like bath bombs, or woodworking, can be an environmentally-conscious approach to gifting.
  5. Give by donation. Making a donation to a charity in the name of your loved one is a sustainable and special way to ‘pay it forward.’ 

At its core, the exchanging of gifts is a metaphor for an emotional exchange. With this in mind, simply writing someone a letter, making a card or carving out time to be present can be just as significant and touching. 

Do you have some other ideas for waste-free giving? Please let us know in the comments.