Christmas is fast approaching and after a year of living as plastic free as possible I am cringing when I think about the amount of waste that’s coming up – from all the decorations to the presents and food. So I thought I’d compile some suggestions of presents to get friends and family that don’t involve waste.
Day-to-day and home
- Stainless steel straws
- water bottle
- Thermos flask – try Klean Kanteen
- Some lovely re-usable bags that you’d want to take out with you
- Veg bags
- Homemade cake or food (see youtube video)
- Travel cutlery – we have these beautiful set from Wonderful Times Gifts on Etsy.
- Fountain pen (with refillable cartridge)
- Books. Take the opportunity to head into a book store to browse. This used to be one of my favourite things to do as a kid and I remember my mum taking me, my sister and brother into this one little bookshop whenever we went to Hay-on-Wye as a treat. Have a browse of Goodreads for inspiration.
- Kindle – maybe yo don’t agree with all that paper that books use and you don’t want to be lugging loads of books around with you on holiday or when you move house… so a Kindle is the perfect solution for that and will last for years.
- Linen towel from Trakke (Or any of their other packing cubes or bags)
- Wool blanket
- Gardening equipment
- Flower pots and seeds
Kitchen and food
- Cast iron cookware (stuff that’s really made to last and won’t warp)
- Make them a food hamper full of tasty plastic free goodies. You can get many spaces, chutneys, honey and drinks plastic free from the super market.
- Homemade cake or food (see youtube video)
- Loose leaf tea (and teapot)
- Beeswax wraps – or sandwich wraps
- Stainless steel lunchbox
- Bamboo coffee cup or lunchbox
- Bread bin to keep bakers bread fresh
- Compost bin. If you’re big into gardening or know somebody who is (or even if you’re not, it’s worth researching some more) for finding out what you can do to reduce the amount of food you throw in the bin. Plus, I love our on the counter compost bin!
- Something nice food wise – for me Seggiano Pesto is amazing. Plus the jars look really pleasing when reused to make storage jars for other foods etc.
- Soap (or anything from Plastic Freedom)
- Safety razor
- Make them a plastic free bathroom gift box – cotton buds, soap, shampoo, Zao makeup, safety razor
- A nice stock of Beauty Kubes shampoo – going plastic free can be expensive and when it comes to Beauty Kubes then definitely so. However, these little beauties are worth it as they leave your hair (at least they do mine) so lovely, shot and shiny. I can’t tell the difference between using these and using normal shampoo from a bottle.
- Nice moisturiser in glass or a tin
- Headspace gift
- Audible membership
- National Trust membership
- English Heritage membership (etc etc)
- Natural History Museum membership is pretty cool, too
- Plan a trip away
- Train tickets to somewhere new
- An Airbnb or hostel somewhere new
- Make your own vouchers for a meal out or activity together.
- A round of exercise or art classes they love. Eg, yoga. (Or for me, I want to get back into climbing but can’t afford the climbing course my centre runs to get back into the game – perfect Christmas present)
- Massage – everybody needs to chill out now and then.
- Day out with you – if time is an issue for you make a promise to spend a day with them every month. Some of my friends made a deal to go and try a new restaurant with each other every month a few years ago – I thought this was the perfect idea.
- Theatre/cinema tickets
If they like a drink
In Ripon we have several supermarkets and at least two alcohol shops – one of which has the most amazing array of whisky and loads of local gin and beer. It’s the perfect place to go for an individual gift.
- Do they like Whisky?
- Do they like wine?
- Do they like gin?
- Or something else?
- If you don’t want to buy them a bottle of something try a tasting experience. In my experience (We’ve been to the Isle of Arran Distillery one twice!) these are always fun and you get to relax and learn about the different types of alcohol.
- Or something like a wine box. Check out Naked Wine’s boxes with a subscription called Angels.
- Ps, if you live in the north of England, Booths has a great selection at decent prices!
Buy locally or consciously
If buying a present that’s completely plastic free is simply too much for you, try and shop locally. As well as often being able to get the item out of plastic anyway when you buy locally, much more money goes back into your local economy if you buy with local independent stores than if you buy at high-street chains.
This is especially important if you’re seeing your local town full of empty shop stores. If that describes where you live then make the effort to get into town and have a good look round for presents from your high-street.
If you’re big into your clothing it’s worth starting to research where your clothes come from and how they’re produced. I’ve recently discovered how much I love People Tree, who instead of running Black Friday ran a sale called Fair Friday. Go check them out – their ethics standards from what I can see is top notch.
Buying cards from independent stores means you can occasionally get them plastic free. Like Paper Plane Designs (please go check these guys out as their stuff is awesome!) don’t use plastic to package anymore.
Please pin me and share the plastic free word!