zero waste holiday gift ideas


With the holiday season beginning, I offer you this compilation of zero or low waste gifts, hoping that they will help you brainstorm and give with intention this year.  In my opinion, gifts should be well thought out, from the heart, and functional.  They should bring joy to the receiver (like edible gifts and experience gifts) or serve them for years to come (material gifts).  Where applicable, I’ve linked to items that I mention, but of course it’s best to search out items in your local area.  Not only will they be more special and personal, you’ll also be supporting your local economy.  At the end of the list, I’ve also included some wrapping ideas for less waste that are beautiful and much nicer than brightly colored shiny paper with plastic ribbon.

edible gifts:


rosemary chile almonds

superfood chocolate bark

organic medjool dates (buy a box and portion them out in pretty jars!)

fermented hot sauce

pickled onions/carrots/beets/giardiniera/jalapeños

citrus marinated olives

olive oil, maple, and sea salt granola

growler of local beer 

local loose leaf tea + a stainless steel tea ball

organic coffee + a reusable cotton coffee filter

organic, biodynamic and/or local wine

beautiful handmade chocolate

sourdough starter + a straw bread proofing basket

curry paste

a nice olive oil and vinegar

a CSA box or Imperfect Produce subscription


membership to a local museum, co-op, botanical garden, aquarium, state park pass

tickets to a ballet, play, opera, concert

classes: ceramics, art, language, dance

gift card to a lovely restaurant

subscription to Headspace (an amazing meditation app)

for people who love books:

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking : a gorgeous cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

At Home in the Whole Foods Kitchen : one of my all time favorites, lovely whole food recipes.

A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for quick, flavor packed meals : a lovely cookbook with TONS of flavorful and quick recipes

Milk and Honey (an empowering feminist collection of poetry)

The Year of Magical Thinking (love Joan Didion.  This is especially lovely for someone who has recently experienced the death of someone close)

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life (a quick read and very inspiring)

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (by Neil deGrasse Tyson and amazing)

beautiful vintage books- you can usually find these cheaply at a thrift store or second hand bookstore

for someone who loves food:


glass and metal teapot

handmade linen bento bags

a sharp lovely knife

dutch oven- Obviously Le Creuset and Staub are wonderful, but World Market and Chantal both do high quality ones for cheaper

handmade ceramics- especially if there’s a local potter!

straw farmer’s market tote

mortar + pestle

french press

beautiful walnut wooden spoons

reusable silicone baking mat

cast iron skillet: these are an easy find at thrift stores!  Just give it a good clean + oil

for people who love to stay active: 

natural cork or rubber yoga mat

sustainable body roller for sore muscles and recovery

pass or punch card to a local yoga or pilates studio

raw, sprouted vegan protein powder in a glass jar

online membership to Ali Kamenova online yoga videos

for beauty lovers:

Lavender + Cocoa dry shampoo

Kjaer Weis organic refillable makeup

True Botanicals non toxic skincare that is clinically proven to work

reusable/washable facial rounds

non toxic, pretty highlighter in glass

RMS beauty non toxic lip+cheek colors that come in glass

rose facial mist

spa/sauna/facial/non toxic hair salon gift certificate

DIY body butter

set of therapeutic grade essential oils

Rent the Runway membership

masculine sorts of things:

beard balm

stainless steel safety razorDIY bay rum aftershave

vintage silk tie + tie clips/pins

gorgeous pocket knife (engravable, too, if thats your thing!)

chic metal mechanical pencil

minty lip balm  in a paper tube

zero waste stuff:


bamboo toothbrush + DIY toothpaste + refillable dental floss

water bottle, reusable to-go coffee cup

reusable produce bags + cute mesh grocery tote

stainless steel tiffinsteel/  bamboo/  glass straws + set of reusable to-go silverware

stainless steel chopsticks+ pretty cloth napkins

set of mason jars/weck jars/le parfait jars

for the plant lover:

indoor plants from a local nursery like Fiddle Leaf Fig, Rubber Tree, ZZ plant, spider plant, fern, Monstera, succulents

a lovely pot or stand (thrift stores have tons of cool ones)

a crocheted plant hanger: simple DIY or BUY


Kazoo Magazine for girls (use code MYFAM for 20% off) or Cricket media magazines: they have a bunch of different ones for all ages and genders

pass/gift card to a local museum, bookstore, aquarium, ice cream shop, rock climbing, whale watching, movie theater, pizzeria.

Planet Earth II

wooden toys

coloring book + a nice set of colored pencils

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

puzzles + board games

beautiful hair ribbons- you can purchase these at a fabric store by the yard, magnifying glass.

My kids especially love “treasures”: crystals, shells, smooth or interesting rocks, sea glass, acorns, dried flowers + a lovely wooden or metal box/tin to keep them in.

watercolor paper notebook + DIY mini watercolor tin or BUY: this company hand makes their watercolors and you can buy them in a shell instead of a plastic pan!!  Kids think this is so cool.

how to wrap with love and care for both the recipient and the earth:


Reuse what you already have: newspaper, brown packing paper, a paper grocery bag are all great.  You can also buy a roll of brown paper/butcher paper to use for wrapping gifts.  Wrapping in cloth, furoshiki style (tutorial here) is lovely as well because its beautiful and adds a bonus gift- the cloth! For tying up your gift, pick up natural string: cotton, hemp, jute, or kitchen twine.  These are easy to find, especially at hardware stores or in the cooking section of stores.  If you can’t find that, go with a pretty ribbon.  You can buy this at a craft store and it can be reused.  For decoration, go with natural adornments that can be used or composted: flowers, rosemary, sprigs from your fir tree or christmas tree, thyme, fresh bay leaves.  If you are gifting something edible, try using glass jars or metal tins from the thrift store, lined with parchment paper if necessary.  Write and create your own cards if you have time- they’re much more beautiful and I always appreciate them more than something generic.  Or, pick up a handmade one on Etsy or from a local artist.

I hope this list is helpful to you, and I hope it inspires you to gift lovely things with a circular economy in mind instead of a disposable, or linear economy.  I’d love to see photos of your waste free gifts this season!  Tag me on Instagram to share! @mamaeatsplants xx

3 thoughts on “zero waste holiday gift ideas

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