You know how badly plastic waste impacts our planet but you also love Christmas and the Holiday season? You can combine them! Here are the best 25 eco-friendly gift ideas even on a budget!
I will divide this gift guide into two sections: DIY gifts and gifts to buy! Let’s get started!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase via my link I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend things I use and love, but for any questions, refer to my full disclosure here.
DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas
While this gift idea does use paper, you can use any scrap paper or recycled paper! You can also modify this into a digital option. I personally like the physical version though.
1. Open When Letters
These are great for any friend, girl or boyfriend, parents if you live far away from them, but I think especially best friends would love this!
You can either buy them on Etsy or make them yourself. Categories you can write the letters about can include:
- you miss me
- you’re sad
- you want to talk to me
- you are angry
- you’re upset
- you’re happy
- it’s your birthday
- on Christmas
I love this gift idea because it can be customized and it’s super personal!
2. Happy Jar
Another idea I saw on Pinterest that can be easily made at home and is a great eco-friendly and sustainable gift idea!
Take a jar and put little notes in it. It doesn’t have to be a “happy jar”, it can also be activity ideas that she can pick from the jar every time you guys don’t know what to do.
The jar can be an old jam glass, and the little paper snippets can be easily ripped off of paper that’s in your recycling bin! Perfectly eco-friendly and super cute AND on a budget.
3. Activity Coupons/ The gift of Experience!
Activities can be great eco-friendly gift ideas for Christmas, especially if the gifted person has pretty much everything they need.
You can give away a coupon or tickets to some fun activities, whether that is a movie, camping, taking a cooking class, or going for a party weekend to the next big city or national park near you.
RELATED: 50 Gift Ideas for HER
4. A Mom-Daughter/ BFF/Couples Bucket List Book
This is kind of like a bucket list, but more like a book with pictures of the activities and empty space to write about your own experiences and add pictures!
I did this for my mom last year and she loved it!
All you need is a thin book or notebook, and some creativity! You can use an empty notebook you already own, do this on a virtual platform, or get a sustainable book!
Think of things you want to do with your mom/BFF/partner, or whoever you do this for, or things they might want to do with you. That can be to take a cooking class, paint together, or even future ideas such as picking our your wedding dress with her (if it’s your mom)
People love personal gifts, and I think this is a unique one!
5. Piggy Bank
I believe that everyone should have savings! And I also love some cute piggy banks:)
For this gift idea, you can either just take a cleaned jam jar and write adventure fund onto it with a waterproof sharpie, or buy one of the ready-to-go piggy banks. Up to you!
For the more sustainable version you can make it yourself and even add a few coins if you wanted too as well.
You can easily do this at home, but if you are here last-minute or just don’t have time, here is one from Amazon (make sure to add in the comment section to ship it in plastic-free packaging).
6. A Surprise Trip
Memories are worth much more than things, so how about you take your special someone somewhere while they have no clue where you’re headed?
Whether it’s a restaurant, a short-trip to the beach or closest city, this gift is definitely special and great for your best friend, sister, parents, or partner!
7. Reasons I Love You
This gift idea is more for your partner than others, but it’s such a cute gift idea that’s also eco-friendly!
Write down reasons you love her on small pieces of paper, fold them, and put them all into a jar.
Even if you aren’t the most creative person on this planet, this gift idea is cute even without much decoration.
Just make sure you write “reasons I love you” or “… reasons I love you” on the jar so she at least knows what’s in it.
8. Dorm Door Sign
If your friend goes to college, a sign for her room would be great!
You can get a piece of wood from the store and write the text with paint or a sharpie.
If you feel like your handwriting isn’t good enough, you can also check out this super cute and affordable dorm sign from Etsy! Check it out here.
I personally prefer Etsy from Amazon etc. because they offset carbon emissions but of course it depends on the shops how sustainable they are.
I know, we all prefer to give away physical things because we love to open presents. But, you can do this creatively!
Ebooks are great for anyone, even without kindles. There are PDF ebook versions too!
You can write down what the gift is on a card for example and give that to the person, while you email them the ebook later on.
10. Skillshare Subscription
Skillshare is one of the largest online learning platforms, with over 25,000 courses! I think this is a great gift for literally ANYONE because there are so many different topics on the platform and the gifted person can just select themselves what they want to learn on it.
That is such a great gift for anyone wanting to learn something new. With my link, you can get 2 months for free!
Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas
Let’s get to the eco-friendly gift ideas that you can purchase either online or in a store near you. Let’s get started!
11. Reusable Straws
If your family member or friend doesn’t have a stainless steel or bamboo straw yet, it’s time to get them some!
Definitely a good gift that will have some good use and not make more waste.
I personally have a stainless steel straw and got a bag from Etsy for it, and take it wherever I go.
If you feel like a straw isn’t a big enough gift, you can add a reusable water bottle or a cute bag to it.
12. Shampoo / Conditioner Bars
Shampoo and conditioner bars, even soap bars, are amazing eco-friendly gift ideas because they are honestly SO useful.
A shampoo bar is a great gift because :
- fits perfectly into a stocking or box
- looks cute
- smells great
- it has a use
- no waste
- always needed
- creates awareness
- no leaking because it’s solid
Shampoo bars don’t have to be expensive, but I like the ones from Lush because they just smell so good and work well.
This gift is also good for EVERYONE! There are shampoo bars (or shaving cream bars) for men too.
13. Tree Pencils
Have you heard of those pencils that grow trees when you finish them and put them into soil?
I think those are very unique eco-friendly gifts for anyone!
14. Lunch Box
This lunch box is super cute and will last forever! You can check it out here or by clicking on the image below.
15. Safety Razor
I wanted a safety razor for Christmas last year and got one! It’s still one of my favorite eco-friendly products EVER.
Psst! It’s UNDER $20!!
They are cheap to maintain (you can literally get a box with 100 blades for like $10) and shaves super well. It might take a few tries to fully get used to it, but I’ll never go back!
Here is the razor I have. It’s pretty unisex so you can get it for your boyfriend if you want too.
16. Compostable Phone Case
Did you know that MILLIONS of phone cases end up in landfills every year?? We can do better than that!
While this gift might be a little more expensive (although there might be other brands that have compostable cases?), I think it’s totally worth it.
This is something I REALLY want for Christmas but my phone isn’t very common in the US so I haven’t found one yet.
For more sustainable items, read my post the ultimate sustainability guide for students. That will have some more ideas on being more eco-friendly.
17. Cute Filtered Water Bottle
THIS IS THE MOST PERFECT WATER BOTTLE I’VE EVER OWNED!
I’m not kidding, haha! My boyfriend got this for me because I was complaining about the tap water here in the US, and it’s honestly the best gift he ever got me.
Its insulated, so it keeps water cold, but it also has a filter! Perfect combination.
18. Reusable Shopping Bags
While I am pretty sure everyone who just slightly cares about their waste collects bags and probably has dozens of them at home, here is a good gift idea for those people who don’t do that.
It’s also a great gift for your grandparents because it’s so helpful and convenient.
19. LastSwab Reusable Q-Tips
This is a great gift to add to maybe another eco-friendly gift and give it away as a pack! Or, it’s also good as a secret santa gift!
Click here to check them out on the Website EarthHero!
20. Unpaper Towels
If you’re not sure what these are, they are basically reusable paper towels! I think they’re great, especially for moms and grandmas!
Check them out on EarthHero, the eco-friendly stop for pretty much everything you need!
21. Beeswax Wraps
I now this is going past 20 but I just love this idea so much and I want you guys to have more options! Although every household should own all of these things!
Next, we got beeswax wraps! They are the eco-friendly version of plastic wraps. If you still use them it’s time for these!
22. Washing Bags
This might sound boring, but it’s actually AN ESSENTIAL product everyone should own by this time.
Microfibers are in a lot of clothing without us even realizing it, and washing them actually releases microfibers into the water system where it harms animals and works itself up the food chain, eventually reaching YOU.
These washing bags can avoid that!
If your mom, sister, friend, or partner doesn’t have these yet, I think you know what your next gift will be!
Click here to get the washing bags and save the water from microplastics.
23. Stone Paper Journal
If your gifted person loves anything from bullet journaling to scrapbooking and note-taking, this is the perfect gift idea!
This bullet journal is dotted and made out of climate positive stone paper. What that means? 0 water and 0 trees were used for the production!
Not only is this gift idea a good gift for anyone, but it’s also a unique one that some people haven’t heard of before. Click here to check it out!
24. Compostable Cardholder
Cardholders are very popular, especially among college students. But how about a compostable one?
Check out the eco-friendly cardholder here!
25. Recycled Gift Paper / Wrapping Paper
You can make these yourself too by just using newspapers as wrapping paper, but if you want something cuter than that, check out these recycled gift papers from EarthHero!
These were my 25 eco-friendly gift ideas for Christmas or other occassions!
Share your favorites in the comment section and let us know what you wish for Christmas this year!
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- The Best Gift Guide for College Students