Friday, 17 November 2017

Green Christmas Present Ideas - The Ultimate List

If the advertisers and big manufacturers were to have their way we would buy so much stuff for Christmas we'd have to starve for the rest of the year.  Well I have a message for big business.  There is another way.  A green way that does not mean Christmas is stuffed full of plastic, packaging, waste and debt.  Christmas can be just as fun, and above all better for the planet if we step off the treadmill of rampant commercialism and make Christmas altogether more sustainable.  In my previous blog post I wrote about general ways to celebrate a green Christmas and now I give you the low down on eco-present giving.

Green Christmas present ideas

Green Christmas Present Ideas


Home-made stuff

  • Bath bombs and other home-made toiletries
  • Sloe Gin etc
  • Preserves - jam, chutney etc
  • Cake mix in a large jar
  • Hand-made/knitted/crocheted clothes
  • Any craft item you are a dab hand at making

Mason/large jar gifts

Large jars make a great receptacle for gifts such as:

  • Biscuit mixes
  • Bird seed
  • Bath salts
  • Sweets
  • Home-made muesli
  • Vanilla sugar
  • Home made mulled wine sachets
  • Home-made herb sachets 
  • Selection of saved seeds
  • Selection of promises or tokens 


  • Before buying new see what you can buy in second hand shops
  • Give experiences not gifts - what about some horse riding lessons or tickets to the local theatre?
  • Offer your time to busy people - prepare dinner for them or babysit parents so they can have a night out
  • Offer to teach some-one a new skill
  • Buy useful presents - what about a bag for life or a safety razor? 
  • Ask people what they want rather than trying to second guess and getting them something they don't need or want
  • Buy a board game that the whole family can play together
  • Give gift tokens 
  • Give subscriptions to a local garden, library etc
  • If you do buy new make it as local, organic, ethical, fair trade, sustainable, non-polluting as possible.  Oh and keep it palm oil free - check those labels.

The examples above have been fairly generic - but these 2 examples from Instagram and Facebook are more specific: 

Buy some poo!  

This one came from Lorraine (@the_uncheshire_wife on Instagram)
"The most talked about present we got our teen was the Oxfam Unwrapped gift of a ‘pile of poo’ which helps a family invest in eco friendly farming with manure & organic fertiliser 👍 He told all his friends he got a ‘pile of poo’. For Christmas 😂"

Organise a present share

I love this idea from Carol Morhman on the Make do and Mend Facebook Group
"We have a large family. We buy gifts for the children under ten (no more than $10). The rest of us give recycled presents. Wrap them in used paper or gift bags, put them all in a pile, draw numbers and have a ball laughing over what we get. (Grandma who's 80 gets a 16 lb. Bowling ball). People can then trade with each other."

Wrapping those presents

You don't need to buy oodles of new wrapping paper etc when there are plenty of green alternatives available:

  • Use old cards to make gift tags
  • Open presents carefully and re-use the paper next year
  • Use brown paper or newspaper
  • See if your local second hand shop has old maps and use these
  • You can always decorate brown paper with potato prints 
  • Use small pieces of greenery or dried herb branches to decorate presents
  • Wrap presents in part of the present itself ie a tea towel or scarf and tie with a bungee cord
  • Reuse boxes you have and save up small items for decoration through the year
  • If giving several smaller gifts you can put them in a hamper.  Search for suitable baskets in second hand shops and use shredded paper for packing.

The truth is we will nearly all end up buying some new things at Christmas.  However if we all took the message below on board our buying power could help a lot of local families rather than simply lining the pockets of big business:

Support local businesses

For even more inspiration on presents you can give that the planet will thank you for have a look at these blog posts:

From Little Sprouts Learning:
The Ultimate List of Christmas Gifts You Can Make Yourself 
Give FABULOUS Handmade Gifts and Support Small Businesses
50 Edible Holiday Gifts-Sustainable Giving

From Healthy Green Savvy
Eco Friendly Gifts ~ Green Gifts for Everyone on Your List!

 From Monsoon of Random
Christmas… Have yourself an Eco-Friendly Christmas – Wrapping Tips!

Facebook Groups
Zero Waste Heroes!
A Make Do and Mend Life

From Feathers in the Wood
Adorable Mini Christmas Garden Gifts

I hope you can find some green inspiration from here - perhaps you have some ideas I could add.  Do let me know in a comment and above all have a

Very Green Christmas


  1. I agree we should be buying local from small business owners. I'm also a big gift wrap and bag collector. My mother always said, save the paper!

  2. Great ideas yet again. For some reason I particularly like the idea of giving bird seed in mason jars! Mine is in tins but that's a great way to gift it and a great nature present! We're all about giving the gift of time this year, after our cancer trauma, also a good green gift. Some friends are pooling money to meet up rather than buy presents too. Merry Christmas #goinggreenlinky

  3. I always ask people what they want for Christmas as I don't want to just get them something random that they may not like or need.
    I'm planning on wrapping our presents the furoshiki way this year. I've slowly been building up my stash from charity shops.

    Thanks for writing this post you've got some great tips :) #GoingGreenLinky

  4. I buy locally for gifts and will often search the charity shops for items also. I reuse and recycle the christmas cards by making gift tags and using them for shopping lists #goinggreen

  5. These are great ideas for a green Christmas. If we all did one or all the things on this post what a difference we could make #GoingGreen

  6. There are some great ideas here. We are literally trying to pare Christmas down to no junk, no stuff that is needed, no excess packaging. It's not easy but it can be done. It's all so commercial and unnecessary!



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