With Christmas just around the corner, gift giving is on many people’s minds. But no matter the season, the next thing to celebrate is always just a few weeks away.

The number of people living a minimalist or zero waste lifestyle is growing. Chances are, some of your relatives or friends are also trying to live more sustainably. But what should you gift them when it’s time to celebrate? How will you let them know you care, when their birthday comes around?

Though it might not seem so simple, gift giving to those who live a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult. As minimalists and zero wasters ourselves, we’re sharing our thoughts to help you out!


It’s the thought that counts?

I clearly remember hearing this sentence numerous times. When someone doesn’t have time to think of a unique gift, they often visit the drugstore to buy some deodorant or a candle. The gift is handed over with a simple ‘It’s the thought that counts, right?’

Yes, it is indeed the thought that counts. But it’s not the thought of buying something, that matters. What matters is that you are thinking of your friend, not about giving them an item. If it really is the thought that counts, it’s time to think twice. What does your friend value, what do they want?

If your friend or relative loves candles, get them a candle of a brand they like. But don’t buy any just for the sake of it. After all, you’re doing it to make them happy. 

Friends enjoying the green views in nature


A day to remember

This doesn’t go to say you shouldn’t buy anything for the minimalists and zero waste people in your life. But there are so many other things to give than physical items!

When was the last time you went on a road trip together? When did you last take your friend out for dinner? Sure, a luxurious dinner might be a bit expensive, but a cup of coffee or lunch can be just as fun. It’s the thought that counts, remember! A trip to the cinema is always a good idea, and so is a game of mini golf.

What all of these things have in common is the simple fact that they don’t necessarily produce any waste. Just join in when your friends asks the bartender to skip the straw, and let them pick the snacks for the cinema.

Chances are your friend won’t remember a bottle of shower gel, but memories will last for years to come. Take some pictures together, and print them out. Though probably not completely plastic free, most people will love having these photos in their scrapbook.


Just say hi

My grandma always tells me not to bring her any gifts. I get her the occasional bunch of flowers (sorry, not sorry), but mostly I listen to her request. She prefers to spend a day in her home together, chatting about whatever it is we’ve been up to.

Have you seen your friend or relative lately? Have you talked to them, shared your latest adventures?

Companionship is the greatest gift, simply pay your loved one a visit or give them a call! It’ll do the both of you well, without creating any type of waste that your friend might try their hardest to prevent.


Hear them out

Spending time is our best recommendation to gift any friend or family member, no matter their lifestyle. But there’s more that you can do.

People love to talk about their interests, there’s no denying that. So why wouldn’t you ask your friend about their (new) lifestyle? The reasons behind their decisions can be fascinating, and aside from your friend feeling that you care, it will help you understand exactly what it is they’re doing.

Just keep an open mind, you might be surprised and incorporate a thing or two in your own lifestyle 😉

christmas present zero waste minimalist


Just ask

If you do plan on to buy your friend something, it doesn’t have to be a surprise. People who follow a minimalist or zero waste lifestyle often have certain things in mind that they still want in their life. If there’s an item they’ve been looking for, or something that has to be replaced, help them find it. You can always ask for help or send them a picture to double-check it’s exactly what they need.

Remember that it’s the thought that counts? By making sure you buy something they really want, there’s no chance of anything having to be returned to the store. And who doesn’t prefer a gift that shows they truly put in some effort rather than opt for the easiest gift they found just around the corner of their home?

Your friend will know know what he doesn’t want. If you ask, they can explain clearly what to avoid on your shopping trip. They might prefer plastic free items, ask you to skip wrapping paper, or list some items they really don’t need. Work your way around the no-go’s and keep the receipt to whatever you buy. You listening to their requests will show just how much you care.

We could give you a list of items that often come in handy for people living a zero waste lifestyle. But we have to remember that some people simply have what they need, and prefer to keep it that way. Keep that in mind before buying a gift for your friend, no matter what it may be!

If you need some zero waste wrapping advice, Lauren wrote a great article about it. Give it a read! 🙂

Do you follow a minimalist or zero waste lifestyle? What do you want for your next birthday?

Minimalist zero waste gift pinecones

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Lovely post and very apt. I’ve been slowing weaning my friends and family off gifts over the past few years. Now we don’t give anything and it’s bliss. Christmas is far less stressful and rushed as a result. Best thing we ever did.

  2. I love this! Agreed 1000% 🙂 I just wrote a post on this. I know I would much rather have experiences over material things. Or honestly I’d rather have nothing over material things that I won’t use haha

  3. Great post.

    1. Thank you! Glad you like it 🙂

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