Holiday Gifts - Without the Waste or Clutter!

Zero Waste Holiday Gift Ideas

There’s been so much going on in the world and in our lives that the holidays really snuck up on me this year. Do you feel the same?

If so, you may think you need to rush online and buy a bunch of gifts to cross that task off your list. I mean, most of us don’t have time to come up with creative gift ideas. But this rush to buy stuff is a trap, isn’t it? We spend a lot of money just to have something to give. And what happens after the holidays? We’re left with mounds of trash and a bunch of stuff we don’t really need or want.

Things received as gifts are difficult for people to give away, even if they don’t love them. We tend to feel guilty about getting rid of things that were given to us by people we care about. So what happens? We put it on a shelf, in a closet or in the garage, and there it sits. It just creates clutter we will have to deal with eventually.

You don’t have to be part of that cycle, though! With a little extra thought, you can give gifts that won’t create waste, guilt and clutter.

You don’t know what to give, you say? Well, don’t despair, because I’ve done the work for you! Below is a list of low waste and eco-friendly gifts and stocking stuffers to suit any budget or recipient.


Experiences are the ultimate zero waste gift. You may think of sky diving or vacations when you think of giving an experience, but they don’t have to be expensive! Below is a list of experience gifts ranging from budget to extravagant.


-          Go out for coffee, ice cream or a drink.

-          A hike or picnic.

-          Ice skating or roller skating.

-          Go to the movies or bowling.

-          Lectures – look at the calendars of your favorite organizations.

-          Night life events at local museums.

-          Arcade & pizza.

-          Trampoline park.

-          Tours – play tourist and get tickets for a double decker bus tour or a themed walking tour of city neighborhoods.

-          Batting cages or driving range.

-          Comedy show for two.


-          Classes – the possibilities are endless: gardening, dancing, martial arts, cooking, mixology, baking, foraging, music, pottery, art, welding…

-          Mini golf, laser tag, ziplining.

-          Museum visit for two.

-          Rock climbing.

-          Camping weekend.

-          Yoga or workout class passes.

-          Wine tasting.

-          Theater tickets for two.

-          Escape room tickets for two.


-          Massage or facial.

-          Dinner for two.

-          Skydiving, sailing tours.

-          Opera or symphony tickets for two.

-          Sporting event tickets, minor league or budget seats.

-          Amusement park passes.


-          Tickets to a major sporting event.

-          Concert tickets.

-          Hot air balloon ride.

-          Vacation – a week or weekend away.

-          Photo shoot.

-          Cycling tour for two.

-          Chef’s Tasting Menu for two.

Ice skating in the park is one of our favorite holiday funday activities.

Ice skating in the park is one of our favorite holiday funday activities.

Homemade / Consumable

These are always a hit – who doesn’t love an indulgent treat? Just pay attention to packaging. Whether you make it or buy it, strive to choose sustainable and reusable packaging like glass, paper etc. Homemade is awesome, but if you’re out of time or it’s just not your thing, visit a store with a good bulk bin selection and use mason jars to pack them as gifts ready for giving.

-          Chocolate or candy, homemade or bought in bulk or paper.

-          Cookies or other baked goods.

-          Spice or herb mixes.

-          Loose leaf tea or coffee beans.

-          Brownie mix, hot cocoa mix, cookie mix, soup mix, make it or buy it in bulk, then pack it in jars with instructions and tie with ribbon or string.

-          Homemade vinegar, mustard, vanilla, jam, preserved lemons, hot sauce, caramel sauce… the possibilities are endless!

-          Homemade bath salts, sugar or salt scrub, lip balm, dry shampoo, face mask mix only take minutes to make but are so luxurious.

-          Bulk bin or homemade snacks like popcorn, nut mixes, roasted chickpeas, wasabi peas, salty snack mixes.

We love this mullling spice mix from the bulk bins - it smells so good!

We love this mullling spice mix from the bulk bins - it smells so good!

Eco-Friendly / Low Waste

-          Soy or beeswax candles.

-          Stainless steel safety razor and refills.

-          Handmade soap.

-          Wine, beer or liquor.

-          Vintage or second hand gifts in excellent condition.

-          Homemade or upcycled gifts, original art (art is very personal, so be sure the piece is something the recipient will enjoy!)

-          Gifts made of natural materials like wood, metal, paper, leather, wool and with minimal or no packaging.

- Battery charger and rechargeable batteries.

Stocking Stuffers

Here are some cute zero and low waste ideas for stocking stuffers our family enjoys.

-          Phone case from Pela Case (, beautiful, durable, sustainable and 100% compostable. They also give to organizations that keep plastic out of the oceans.

-          Oranges, mandarins, pomegranates, or another seasonal goodies.

-          Pecans or walnuts.

-          Silk floss is renewable and compostable. Dental Lace ( makes a zero waste version that comes in beautiful, refillable glass tubes.

-          Bamboo toothbrushes are renewable and compostable.

-          Bamboo utensil set.

-          Organic cotton or bamboo socks.

-          Plastic free hair ties like the natural cotton and rubber ones from Kooshoo.

-          Seed packets.

-          Stainless steel tea strainer, loose leaf tea.

-          Chocolate.

-          Wooden toys like a Jacob’s ladder, carved animals.

Cheers to a happy holiday season!

Cheers to a happy holiday season!

I hope this list helps you and your loved ones find gifts you feel good about giving and receiving. Have fun, be creative and enjoy a wonderful holiday!

For more ideas, follow me on Instagram @joyofzerowaste