It’s finals week and almost time for winter break! Many people will be celebrating holidays over break. This time of year can be very stressful, especially when you need gift ideas for all your friends and family. This time of year can also be terrible for the environment because of all the gift wrapping, packaging on items, carbon emissions from shipping, and gifts that people end up not liking or wanting.
Thankfully, there are tons of wrapping and gift ideas that most everyone will enjoy and are good for the environment!
The main ideas here are to reuse as much wrapping material as possible until it breaks or rips too much to use anymore. Then make sure to recycle or compost the parts that can’t be used anymore! When possible, it’s also a good idea to make your own wrapping materials. Here are some more specific ideas:
Use fabric as reusable wrapping paper. This includes cut up old clothes and homemade cloth gift wrap.
Use or reuse glass jars, any bag, or any box. This includes clean food jars, mason jars, cloth shopping bags, gift bags, shipping boxes, and gift boxes.
Use part of the gift as the wrapping. Gifts that might work for this are blankets and clothes.
Use all recyclable or compostable wrapping materials. Some examples include non-glossy wrapping paper and tags, newspaper, paper tape, and ribbon/twine made from natural fibers.
The key here will be to make sure you give gifts that the recipient wants or will like, even if they didn’t ask for it specifically. If you aren’t the best at choosing gifts, make sure you ask the person what they want. If for some reason you can’t ask someone what they want, there are some ideas that most people will like.
To reduce the negative environmental impacts of these gifts, there are also a few general rules to follow. Make gifts at home and make sure the ingredients or materials were purchased locally and in minimal packaging. When buying premade gifts, choose minimally packaged items, choose recyclable or compostable packaging when it is unavoidable, and choose items that were produced and sold locally.
Here are some homemade ideas:
Dessert mixes - hot cocoa, cookies, brownies
Ornaments - made from cardboard, paper
Candy - melted and shaped chocolate or peppermint
Sugar scrubs - any scent/flavor
Face masks - any scent/flavor
Bath bombs - any scent/flavor
Bees wax wraps and covers
Here are some purchasing ideas:
Digital or physical gift cards - for websites or physical stores
Memberships/subscriptions or experiences - music or movie subscriptions, concerts, sports, fun classes
Soy candles - any scent/flavor
Soap bars - any scent/flavor
Premade versions of homemade ideas
Reusable items to replace disposables
Here are some 21+ gift ideas:
If you and the recipient of a gift are both 21+, then alcohol might be a good gift idea! But no one wants to spend a bunch of money on tons of flavored alcohols. So instead, you can make normal alcohol into different flavors. This type of recipe tends to need about a month to sit before it is ready to drink, but you could still make the recipe and then give it to someone with instructions for anything else that needs to be done before drinking it. Here are some example recipes:
Creme de Menthe
Here are some other sources for gift and wrapping ideas:
We hope this helps you find the perfect eco-friendly gifts and wrapping.
Here is a message from all of WSU’s Environmental Science Club (ESC) members:
Good luck on finals, have a great break, and happy holidays!
~Contributed to by all ESC members & Written by Jennifer Beyer~