N.O.W. idea #23: Give Near-O Gifts

We just got back from a weekend in LA and I was shocked to see Christmas decorations up and down the coast. Although it’s way too early if you ask me, it’s *not* too soon to think about creating less waste this holiday season. 

I know it generally feels good to give and receive gifts, but if you’re giving a gift the recipient doesn’t like, want, or need then your kind gesture could create guilt, clutter, and potential waste. 

When I discovered zero waste and minimalism, I finally embraced my true feelings about gifts- with a few exceptions, I don’t want them!
And I’m guessing there are plenty of other people who, deep down, might feel the same. When I give gifts, I consider my own feelings about them and try to give things that aren’t permanent, in the tangible sense…

Gift certificates: Consider buying one to your recipient’s favorite restaurant, bakery, brewery, coffee shop, or grocery store. Another sure bet is tickets to the movies.

Consumables: Things like chocolate, wine, beer, and olive oil are perfect gifts for people who like them! And you can’t go wrong with soap; preferably unwrapped, pretty, and good-smelling. Last year we gave our kids’ teachers bulk snacks (they were able to choose their favorite jar from the collection). For children, sidewalk chalk (in a cardboard box) encourages imagination and creativity, eventually goes away, and the container can be recycled (but shop wisely; some brands use plastic wrap inside the box). 

Experience Gifts: I love giving kids “experience” presents like gift certificates to the ice cream shop, the roller rink, the ceramic lounge, or the climbing gym. 

Experience gifts are great for adults or families too. Last Christmas, my in-laws gave us a California State Parks pass, which has inspired us to keep exploring and has given us many memories. We recently gave ourselves the gift of joining a local art and history museum and have been *loving it*!


This holiday season keep it simple and consider giving “gifts that go away“.