Is it Possible to Gift Sustainably? 6 Ways to Do it Right

sustainable gift ideas

These are the days of conscious shopping.

For the most part, we’ve become anti-capitalist, and want to put our money where we know it’ll do good. That’s where sustainability comes in.

I’m sure you heard of it. No plastic, no cardboard, buying from only ethically-sourced places, and more often than not, it’s really, really expensive.

But with the holidays coming up, how can we buy sustainably? Is there a way to buy sustainable and be cost-effective as well? I’ve been wracking my mind with this over the past week and here are a few things that I will be trying to implement this holiday season.

1. Gift Experiences

sustainable gift ideas
credit: Ketut Subiyanto

This way it won’t get lost, and your family will always have fond memories to look back on. You can plan a picnic in the park or a day at the museum. Think of something that the person you care about would really like to do and go with them or send them on a fun adventure by themselves.

2. Hit Up Local Thrift Stores and Second-Hand Stores

thrift store gift ideas
credit: Roman Kraft

Now hear me out, I know people don’t tend to think of second-hand shops for holiday gifts. But there are a plethora of great finds that people on your list will love. If you’re looking for clothes do be aware that if you’re plus size you probably won’t find anything good at a thrift store. So instead opt for cool pictures of vintage things that your giftee would truly enjoy!

For some great vintage finds, hit up your local Facebook marketplace. I personally found some great Victorian chairs for a fraction of what you’d normally have to pay. If your loved one is an avid reader, you can also try hitting up second-hand bookstores.

3. Regift

sustainable gift ideas
credit: Liza Summer

Regifting is often frowned upon, but if you know you have something that you never used and your best friend would absolutely love? That’s an amazing way to be sustainable over the holidays.

4. Give a Gift Card

sustainable gifting ideas
credit: Christian Wiediger

Gift cards are also a great idea. The person you gift that to knows exactly what they want. No returns, no wasted gifts. What’s great about gift cards is you don’t have to put a lot of money on them, either. Sustainable and it won’t break the bank.

5. Shop Local

eco-friendly gift ideas
credit: Logan Weaver

Buying local also reduces your carbon footprint, which is what sustainability is all about! Instead of going to your favorite online store, hop on a bus (we are being sustainable after all), and go to local shops! You help a local business owner, and who knows? You may
even find a new store you love.

6. Get Crafty

handmade gift ideas
credit: Miriam Alonso

If you’re crafty, you can make your own gifts. There are so many great online tutorials that you can find ways to make cute tchotchkes that your friends and family would adore. I know I personally love handmade gifts so much more than store-bought. They always seem to be filled with extra love.

There are so many cost-effective ways to sustainably gift this holiday season. It may require a little bit of extra thinking, but in the end, it’s about giving things that will be used and have a positive impact on both the earth and its inhabitants.


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Rebekah Suber
27 years old and still don't know how to write a bio. Unhealthy obsession with the Sims. If I'm not running around after my daughter, I'm either listening to a podcast or rewatching The Nanny.