Holiday gifts revisited

It’s been a couple of weeks since we started brainstorming ideas for holiday gifts — and I decided an update was in order because wow, we are geniuses when it comes to planning. (It’s not bragging if it’s true.) Thanks to the comments, we have the following list of zero waste or low waste gift ideas:



Infused oils and vinegars

Vanilla extract

Candy cane vodka

Hot chocolate mix

Pancake mix

Spice rubs

It'll be December before we know it.

It’ll be December before we know it.


Snack mix



Vanilla coffee syrup

Dried fruit


Body lotion

Lip balm in recycled containers

Sugar scrubs


Knitted socks

Knitted scarves — for warmth and fashion

Knitted hats

Dish cloths or scrubbies

Fleece blankets


Gift wrapping kits of reusables

Wooden cutout decorations

Experience gifts

Gift certificates loaded directly to a smartphone

Use old holiday cards for gift tags, inside jar lids or to decorate bags

Visit craft fairs for unwrapped, handmade items

(Anyone think of anything else to add to the list?)


Here’s an idea that might be interesting if you have a friend of family member who’s shown interest in zero waste — although I should probably mention that I’m stealing borrowing this idea from a board I follow (someone got a similar gift as a door prize at a grocery store and everyone went wild):

The zero waste shopping starter kit.

Look, I even made one so you can see what I’m talking about:


Step 1: In a quart jar, add a (foldable) grocery sack and a couple of produce bags, then a small jar.


Place the lid for the small jar upside down in the rim or you’ll never get it back out again. Then add top lid. BOOM.

This is totally a reenactment using my own stuff, but I think this has the potential to be cute and functional and not too obnoxiously in-your-face-zero-waste. You could get pretty clever with the wrapping — I’d probably just toss it in some newspaper and tie a ribbon around it, though, to be honest (I’m not crafty). Oh, FINE, let me wrap it because we’ve come this far:

In my defense, I did this in 10 seconds. I could make it cuter ... maybe.

In my defense, I did this in 10 seconds. Eh, you get the idea.

I suppose you could also make other kits using the same idea — a kitchen kit with a jar of bulk dish soap, if you’re lucky enough to have that option, and a dish cloth or a couple scrubbies, maybe a small bamboo brush … a stack of beauty products in small jars, like scrub and lotion … or, if you want to be my best friend, a jar of coffee beans and an IV. 😉



We haven’t really talked about kid gifts yet, and I’m hoping we can come up with a decent list on this front. I like the idea of experience gifts — my mother-in-law and parents have given the girls a variety of outings, which are always a Big Hit. (And they don’t even have to be creative or expensive. Lunch out and an ice cream cone, that’s basically Johanna’s perfect day.)

I’m sitting here trying to think of zero waste and low waste kid gifts, and I’m kind of coming up blank. We have one bookstore in town that still gives out paper gift certificates, and I love giving those to the girls because it’s an outing AND a gift. (And they’re book fiends.) They also can’t get enough new art supplies, and it’s relatively easy to find recycled sketching pads and colored/regular pencils (either packaged in cardboard or individually). I’m not above writing “Go download 10 new songs” on a piece of paper and letting them go nuts on iTunes.

Hmm. What else? I’ve seen wooden and cloth toys at craft fairs — for younger kids, maybe? Our town is lucky enough to have a community education program, so a fun class might be interesting (write the various needed info in a card? But if it’s not your kid, definitely check schedules with the parents first). Um … Abby used to get a magazine subscription from my parents every year; it came unwrapped. I don’t know how you’d figure out which ones come without plastic all over them, but she loved getting mail every month.

Yeah, I definitely need help on this front. Whatcha got?


I’d like to thank everyone who participated in our previous brainstorm, and thank you in advance for commenting this time. I think it’s awesome that we have each other as resources. What in the world did people do before the internet? I have no idea.

Next up: I recently made crock pot apple butter and am hoping to try it with pears over the weekend. I’ll tell you how it went — and how you can make your own batch.