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Zero Waste Christmas Gift Ideas

By Fredrica Syren:

 Zero waste and Christmas seem so opposite. It’s hard to imagine how you can even attempt to accomplish a zero waste holiday at all. So much waste is created from excessive food waste, disposable products, wrapping paper and — oh, let’s not forget — all the gifts that may become unwanted, so they end up in the garbage bin.

Now, I do not want to sound like the Grinch and take away Christmas because it is an important holiday (in fact, my favorite), nor do I want to take away everyone’s love of giving Christmas gifts. We just have to change the way we give gifts by practicing conscious gift-giving in order to offset environmental damage.

First, let’s talk wrapping.This is actually one of the easiest elements to change for low environmental impact. Instead of grabbing the most convenient gift wrap from the store, start thinking about how you can sustainably wrap your gifts. Give trees a fighting chance — don’t doom them to twenty seconds of stardom as they are eyed by the gift recipient, then almost instantly shredded to pieces and left to be scooped into a trash bag.


Fabric is very much like wrapping paper, but I find it even easier to work with! The flexible fibers in the fabric make tying or knotting easier, and eliminates the need for tape! Gift recipients can get very crafty with their fabric wrapping and use it as a scarf, a bandana, a decorative piece, a napkin or their next gift wrapping! There are so many ways to gift wrap with fabric. Below is a link to get you started!

Furochic & Wrapagami

Kitchen Towels

We can all use extra kitchen towels, so why not wrap with them? Nothing too fancy about it. Simply wrap your gift with a kitchen towel and tie a piece of twine around it. Your recipient will be pleased to have such practical wrapping!

Beach Towels

Instead of simply gifting a beach towel, use it as the wrapping! Beach towels are best for your larger gifts, and can be thoughtfully tied with a jump rope! Perfect for a day of fun in the sun!

Mason Jars        

Mason Jars are a simple, inexpensive way of wrapping gifts! Put your gift inside the mason jar and finish it off with an oversized ribbon tied around the glass to keep your recipients wondering what’s inside.

Planting Pots

Clay planting pots are inexpensive and easy to decorate with paint or a permanent marker. Instead of a card, write your personal message directly on the pot. Then, whenever the recipient grows something in that pot, s/he will read the personal message you wrote and think of you.

Reusable Bags

Thankfully, totes are becoming the new fad and can be used just about anywhere you go. Most grocery stores offer their reusable bags for a very reasonable price. In fact, a reusable bag is probably cheaper than many of the gift bags found in your local store. The reusable bag is gift wrapping that keeps giving and giving! Just think about how often you use yours! Make it pretty by tying a big ribbon around the middle or tying the handles together!

Brown Paper Bag

If you’re looking for an extremely inexpensive but crafty way to wrap, use your brown paper bags from the grocery store. They lend a gift that rustic feel and can be dressed up by adding something natural like a leaf or feather tied to the handle.

Newspaper/Butcher Paper

Very inexpensive and easy to use! Add a delicate ribbon or some dainty twigs to give your gift that extra something!

Now let’s talk gifts!

Donate—This is one very green gift keeps on giving. I’m talking about donating money to charity as a gift. This might not be for kids, but for friends and family it’s a great option. Here is a link to a list of my favorite charities to donate money to this holiday season.

 Homemade gifts—I have found that homemade gifts are always appreciated. Even if you are not good at woodworking, sewing or knitting, there are other homemade gifts like cookie mixes, candles, frames, bath salts  and much more. Wellness Mama has a list of 35 homemade gift ideas, so check it out. My favorite is kombucha starter and lip balm.

Zero waste starter gifts—Why not help someone start their zero waste journey with gifts that can replace disposable items: e.g., reusable straws, beeswax wraps, utensil sets, cloth grocery or produce bags, coffee/tea cups,water bottle or maybe a zero waste gift bag for someone you really like

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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