As the year draws to a close, store windows get fuller, brighter, and more inviting – begging shoppers to fill their carts with as many gifts as possible.
But in an increasingly resource-constrained world, buying new presents isn’t always a sustainable choice. If you’re looking for eco-friendly vegan gifts, for Christmas or any other occasion, look no further.
We’ve rounded up a handful of sustainable, zero-waste, vegan gift ideas to keep the people you love (and the planet) happy.
Zero-waste vegan gift ideas
Skip the ‘stuff’
This year, why not skip the “stuff” and opt for an experience-based gift? Movie buffs might enjoy a gift card for their local cinema, while other giftees might like a museum pass, or concert or theater tickets. Alternatively, the animal lovers in your life would love a visit to an animal sanctuary.
Make a day of it by organizing the outing yourself, complete with a plant-based lunch and plenty of pictures!
Gifts that keep on giving
Sometimes the best presents are the most practical ones. If you know your giftee has been meaning to sign up to a particular gym, or grab a subscription to Spotify, Netflix, or something similar, take the initiative and pay for their membership yourself.
Bus or train credits or tickets can also be a good option, for those who rock public transportation.
Handmade is the way to the heart
If you have a special skill, like knitting, painting, photography, writing songs, making pottery or jewellery, or anything else, put it to use these holidays with a personalized creation for a loved one.
A song about how much they mean to you? Go for it. A knitted vegan Christmas sweater? Absolutely. A painted portrait of their pet rescue rabbit wearing a top hat? Why not!
One person’s trash is another’s treasure
If you have a rough idea of what you’d like to buy someone, but are concerned about fast fashion and over-consumption, thrift stores are the way to go. Pick up some cool clothes, books, art, home decor items, or anything else your heart desires.
As well as being better for the planet, thrifting is kinder to your wallet too.
LUSH’s naked range
For the self-care experts in your life, LUSH’s extensive “naked” range is a must. The beauty and bath giant offers a wide variety of packaging-free products, most of which are vegan (be sure to look out for the Vegan Society trademark).
As well as its usual zero-waste, cruelty-free options, LUSH is offering Christmas-themed products this time of year. Its vegan Cinnamon Roll Bubble Bar boasts a spice mix of cinnamon and clove, and leaves bath water shimmering gold. The Snow Fairy Soap is made with rose water and Fair Trade Organic aloe vera, and vegan bath bombs in the shapes of snowmen, bells, and Santa’s sleigh are on offer too.
Check out the LUSH website to see the full line.
Help your loved one help the planet by gifting them some zero-waste tools of their own. If they’re new to living waste-free, consider putting together an “essentials kit” to kick things off.
Seek out reusable and plastic-free coffee cups, cutlery, chopsticks, grocery bags, water bottles, tupperware, food wraps, straws, or anything else you can think of.
Take things a step further, if you so wish, by adding in zero-waste shampoo and conditioner, soap, and lip balms, for example.
Gifts like these can also make for great stocking stuffers.
Recipes in a jar (or not)
They say that the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. Channel that energy by gifting the foodies in your life a (plant-based) recipe in a jar. Whether they prefer sweet, savory, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of ideas online!
For instance, pictured is a drool-worthy vegan fudge dark chocolate brownie recipe by Vegan Richa.
Of course, if you wanted to, you could pass on the jar/recipe concept and bake the treats yourself. This allows you a bit more freedom, since you can choose whatever dish you think they’ll love best. Either way, they’ll be thinking of you fondly – mid-food coma.
PS – bonus points if you make your giftee’s pet an animal-friendly snack of their own too!
Zero-waste tips for the holiday season
Present ideas aside, here are some other ways to make the festive season a little more sustainable.
Try furoshiki gift wrapping
A beautiful way to wrap your presents, furoshiki is a traditional Japanese technique that uses fabric instead of single-use paper. The practice is centuries-old, but it’s enjoying a surge in popularity as the zero-waste movement gathers pace.
The origami-like technique follows specific folding instructions – but once you’ve done a few presents, you’ll be a whizz.
Bokashi bins to tackle food waste
One of the hardest elements of a zero-waste Christmas is accounting for food waste. Try as hard as you like, there’s usually a style of chocolate nobody likes, a mountain of veggie peelings, and leftovers that nobody has space for. You can tackle two issues with one solution by gifting, or treating yourself to, some bokashi bins.
Another genius waste-free idea hailing from Japan, bokashi refers to a home composting method that sees food waste quickly fermenting and producing a potent natural fertilizer liquid that can be used to feed house plants and veggie crops. The bins are small and come with a tap fitted to allow easy use.
Collect gifts for people in need
The cost of living crisis has brought the true meaning of Christmas into sharp focus. Instead of asking for gifts for yourself, why not collect zero-waste food items, such as tinned goods and pasta in cardboard packaging, to make a large donation to your local food bank or refuge shelter?
Ask friends and family to get in the spirit by not buying unnecessary, albeit thoughtful, gifts for you. Instead, ask them to drop in some cans of soup, animal feed, and other items that can be given to those that need extra support at this time of year. Don’t forget to include hygiene items too, including sanitary products and toiletries.