Holidays = excessive presents = excessive waste = tragic sadness = climate change = end of the world.

Right? No. Not right. Wrong.

Gifting can be fun, waste free, and EASY. I’m going to tell you my favorite ways to gift zero waste so you can sleep stress (and trash) free this holiday season.

Share Experiences
My favorite type of gift is the experience gift. Instead of buying something, wrapping it, and just handing it over, I love the thought of giving an experience gift. Dinner for two? A show? A day at a museum? Cook dinner for someone? A concert? The options are infinite. That way you can grow memories, not trash.

Give Homemade
If an experience gift is not up your alley and you do want to give a physical gift, try a homemade one! I have a few great zero waste options for you: body lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, and granola.

Zero Waste Body Lotion 

Zero Waste Deodorant

Zero Waste Toothpaste

Zero Waste Granola 

Shop Sustainably
If you are neither an experience giver or a DIY’er I have two great options for you:

1) Life Without Plastic for all of their zero waste essentials like stainless steel airtight storage containers and reusable produce bags. If you purchase something and use the code “TIFTHOLIDAY” you will get 10% off of your order.

2) Brush With Bamboo for a bamboo toothbrush packaged in 100% compostable materials.

Once you have figured out what to give to (or do with) your favorite people in the universe then you have to package it up.

Wrap Thoughtfully
If you are giving an experience gift you don’t need to worry about this. If not, I wrap my presents for the holidays three ways:

1) I don’t wrap them at all. Yep. You heard me. I do the behind the back or pull out of my bag method and just hand it over. Works like a charm and is totally zero wage!

2) I wrap them in reusable materials like a reusable bag or a napkin. That is almost like 2 gifts in 1!

3) I upcycle paper bags, newspaper, or whatever paper I can find. I never use tape and instead secure the packages with biodegradable twine, cotton string, or anything else that is biodegradable.

REMEMBER: if you do wrap a present and you want to make sure the wrapping is properly disposed of, take it back! You can use it again or just toss it in the compost bin!

Happy gifting!




  1. Lauren you are such an inspiration! You have probably been asked this question before, but I am just wondering how far you take the zero waste lifestyle? Like will you take chips from a plastic bag if someone offers you a snack, and when you are cooking at a friends will you bring your own unpackaged ingredients? Where do you find the line between what is in your power to do something about and what you have to accept? Hope this question made some sense

    1. Hi June – that is a great question. I know I can only control myself and so in situations like, for instance, if someone is having a party I will not not eat. But when I have a party I will do it zero waste and show how so maybe the people around mew would be inspired to do the same. Or, if all of my friends are cooking together I'll suggest we try Zero Waste or bring my portion waste free. I'm not about pushing my ideas on other people, just sharing them for anyone that is interested.

  2. Hey Lauren, I'm very interested in the zero waste lifestyle, I'm planning on doing my matura paper, like the final project one has to do to get their degree in Switzerland about the zero waste lifestyle. So I'm planning on doing a self experiment and writing about my transition to zero waste. I am so happy I ran into your page, you are such a huge inspiration and I love the way you share your tips with everyone, keep it up! I was wondering if you have any tipps for me, because even though I am a vegan and already very much into the ecological lifestyle I still have so much stuff at home that I don't really need and don't just want to throw away? Another thing is, how do you do it with paper or bottles that can actually be recycled? And do you only measure your own trash or also the trash that was behind the production, like for the storage and shipping of certain stuff?
    Thank you for being such an inspiration and thank you for taking time to answer! 🙂

  3. omg, i looked up furoshiki wrapping methods, and gifted using old clothes as wrapping paper this year, and they ended up looking so cool! well, that wasn't the only thing. i also had a few paper bags lying around that have been in my house forever, so i did the good old printing-on-the-paper-bag-with-old-potato-cutout-stamps idea, too. and i used a burgundy boot lace to tie it up, and just asked for it back. the gifts were a hit! 🙂 i'm going to do it this way from now on! 🙂

  4. one last comment, toothpaste can be even easier. keep the baking soda in a pretty jar (i use a vintage milk glass jar). wet toothbrush and dip it into the baking soda. brush. the minty oil really doesn't improve the taste enough to be worth the effort imho, and the coconut oil just makes it harder to get onto the brush. and it seems like omitting those two ingredients also makes it greener b/c, well, less stuff is less stuff. 🙂 but for me it's mostly that it's just so much simpler. 😉

  5. Great ideas Lauren, thanks so much for sharing with your blog. This Christmas I also thought a lot about this and finally decided to gift my mom with some great relaxing time at a hammam (a kind of spa). Sweet memories, we both enjoyed it a lot. NO waste for sure 🙂

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