Mindfulness, Minimalism, Zero Waste Living

The Ultimate Zero Waste, Eco-Friendly, Minimalist Friendly, and Mindful Gift Guide (with over 100 gift ideas!)

Welcome to the ultimate zero waste, eco-friendly, minimalist, and mindful gift guide. Before we jump in, here are the values I based these gifts around:

  • Supporting your local community by engaging in local experiences
  • Supporting small businesses, in particular looking for women and POC -owned and run
  • Low clutter or clutter-free gifts
  • Low waste, eco-friendly or zero waste gifts and companies
  • Cruelty-free items
  • Ethically made items
  • Accessibility (budget, time, location)
  • And more


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Want to learn more about gift giving for minimalists and zero waste-rs (or as one yourself), check out my zero waste and minimalist gift giving 101 guide for lots of helpful tips.  

Finally, if you’re able, to keep gifts zero waste/eco-friendly and budget-friendly, try the following:

  • Second-hand: Look for items second-hand. This helps eliminate the waste from purchasing a whole new product.
  • Free items: Check out your local buy nothing group, Facebook marketplace, Freecycle.org, Free Little Library, and more for free, secondhand items
  • DIY gifts (see more in the gift list)
  • Regift: I feel I have stepped in uncharted territory, but I stand by that statement. If someone gives you a gift, the real gift is in the giving. Accept it with full gratitude, and give it away freely. Wouldn’t it make you feel better knowing someone else may actually get use out of it if you’re not planning on using it?




So, without further ado, let’s get into it.


Gift giving guidelines

Gift giving. It can be a tricky subject, especially if you are on your way to living a clutter-free and/or minimalist lifestyle. However, I do believe there can be a healthy balance between the minimalist and zero waste lifestyle that we are slowly adopting and gift giving. My husband and I have been actively reevaluating gift giving the past couple of years, ESPECIALLY now that we have Little E. And I’m not going to lie, it has been somewhat difficult to change the gift-giving habits we’ve adopted over the years.

Besides taking a hard look at the type of gifts we give and ask for, we have started following these four guidelines:

  • Follow the rule ‘Something you want, something you wear, something you read and something you need’.
  • Don’t underestimate second-hand stores for gifts. We love our local second-hand store for a variety of items, and for online second-hand women’s and kids clothes shopping we LOVE ThredUp.

  • Santa, Easter Bunny, Etc: Santa brings one gift (a smaller gift) and then stockings he brings usable items or consumable items (usable meaning yummy soaps, bath items, crafting supplies, snacks, etc). The Easter Bunny and other ‘friends’ follow suit.

  • Adopt other birthday/holiday/other celebratory event traditions instead of gifts
    • Make the person of honor their favorite meal
    • Offer to let the person of honor choose what activity they want to do for the day


Other than that, we really try to be really mindful of purchasing/making gifts that don’t contribute too much or any clutter and fall in line with our minimalist and zero-waste mindsets.

Related post: Zero Waste and Minimalist Gift Giving 101



Featured items




Reiet Reiets (reiet meaning “little king”) is an artisanal boutique, featuring hand-knit baby items with the idea that each piece will be passed on for generations to come. Focusing on creating timeless pieces just like their grandmother’s used to make – the shop owners, Patrizia and Luis, put a heavy emphasis on bringing back the traditional and slow way of living, and that flows into their beautiful and hand-crafted clothes and toys.   



Each item is made-to-order – a brand-quality that is very important to Reiet Reiets for a number of reasons.

First, ensuring each item is made to order helps the knitters focus on quality over quantity so you receive a piece that is made with love and made to last.

Second, making each item to order helps Reiet Reiets minimize production waste – which is an area where a lot of waste in the life-cycle of an item happens in traditional manufacturing.



Finally, with slow fashion at it’s forefront, Reiet Reiets using eco-friendly materials such as Spanish Transhumant Merino Wool, and 25% of the yarn profits go back to the Sheppards. Additionally, as mentioned above, each item is hand-crafted by master knitters in Barcelona, Spain. You can read more about the knitters on the Reiet Reiets’ website.

These beautiful and incredibly special items from an eco-friendly and socially aware company are perfect for anyone in your life expecting a new baby.   




Experiences (gifts for minimalist and eco-friendly ideas)

  • Gift certificate for their favorite restaurant
  • Gift certificate to their favorite coffee/tea place
  • Meal planning/delivery gift certificate
  • Lessons for kids/adults: swim lessons, dance lessons, etc.
  • Sign up for a local community ed class together!
  • A local park pass or state park pass
  • A dog park pass if they have a dog
  • Movie night out or in
  • Sports tickets
  • Gift certificate to a spa or for a massage
  • Tickets to their favorite show
  • A membership to a local museum, nature center, or zoo
  • Gift certificate for house cleaning
  • Donation to a local charity in the recipient’s name
  • Gift certificate for their favorite app (ex. Headspace membership, Spotify)
  • Netflix/Hulu subscription
  • Offer to babysit/pet sit if they have kids or pets
  • Offer to shovel snow, rake leaves, change their oil, whatever task they may need doing
  • Itunes gift card
  • Gift certificate for house cleaning
  • Donation to a local charity in the recipient’s name


Miscellaneous Items 


  • Child Artwork Frame – This frame is such a great way to display kids artwork in a neat and clutter-free way. This frame holds multiple pieces of art which you can rotate throughout the year.
  • Etsy.com – Check out artwork, jewelry, soaps, and more. Bonus – support small businesses! Etsy is dangerous for me and my wallet. Be sure to include local art/craft shops in your small business supporting as well!
  • Magazine subscription (can get a digital subscription or paper – donate the paper version when done)


Amber USB Salt Lamp

  • USB Fair Trade Himalayan Salt Lamp (or other salt lamps) – I have a salt lamp on my nightstand, and I absolutely love it. It creates such a beautiful glow which is so relaxing and calming. This USB salt lamp can be used at home or work (I honestly think I’m going to get one for work). Or, you can puruse the multitude of other salt lamp and products from this awesome, fair trade supportive company.
  • Items for their hobbies (ex. outdoor gear or gift certificate for outdoor gear, items for their garden if they’re a gardener)
  • Photograph gifts (photo book, canvas print, etc)
  • Seed Starter Kit – I LOVE getting these as gifts.  I have started seeds indoors for the past couple of years, and not only is it more cost-effective, but it is fun! I am looking forward to having Little E help me next spring. These are great for vegetable and flower seeds!



  • Kindle/E-Reader – I have had a kindle for years and have LOVED it. Not only are e-books inexpensive, many libraries also have digital copies of books which you can ‘check out’ right from your bed or couch!
  • Audible Membership – Know someone who does a lot of commuting or traveling? Or maybe they are someone who enjoys listening to podcasts books while cleaning, exercising, etc. Why not gift them an audible membership which has books, magazines, radio stations and more! I got a membership for Mr. Blographer for his birthday in December and he loves it.
  • Books (check out second-hand bookstores or consider e-books)
  • Pela Case: 100% compostable phone cases that are SUPER CUTE!



  • Ancestry & Health DNA tests such as this one
  • Flowers, a plant/succulent in a cute container
  • Coloring books (umm, yes it’s an adult Disney coloring book…) and colored pencils (see why coloring is not just for kids here)
  • The Little Book of Mindfulness – Perfect for a stocking stuffer or for anyone who would enjoy some mindful living inspiration.





Related post: Have a Very, Merry, Zero Waste Christmas




Zero Waste/Eco-friendly/Minimal Waste Ideas (also minimalist and mindful!)




Related post: Super easy zero waste swaps that are saving us over $100 a month



Related post: Two things you must do to reduce waste


Kids

  • Art/craft supplies (could be a great gift for adults too!)
  • Magazine subscription (can get a digital subscription or paper – donate the paper version when done)
  • Reusable snack bags (fox – see below, or hedgehog)



  • Lessons: swim lessons, dance lessons, etc.
  • Clothes/shoes
  • Put me in the Story – One of a kind personalized books for kids (and even for adults).  There are so many book options and popular characters such as Sesame Street, Disney, Curious George, Nickelodeon character, and more!


zero waste gift ideas for kids

  • Biodegradable or E-book: Leo & The Lion Learn of Love by Holly Rose. Harnessing the Love children so freely emit, the Lion teaches young Leo how to care for himself and the world around him with his heartfelt sagacity. Through the Lion’s wisdom, Author Holly Rose communicates the complexities of the modern world in a way which encourages children to work towards a kinder, fairer, more unified and peaceful future. Set alongside illustrator Caroline Winneguth’s gentle watercolour scenery, this book harnesses the Love children so freely emit, guiding them protect their nurturing nature. This is a truly stunning book with an even more beautiful message. Plus, did I mention the print version is biodegradable? A great zero waste option for kids! Psst…The Mindful Mom Blographer readers (that’s you!) can get 10% off using code ‘MINDFULMOM’.  Head over to the website to grab your e-book or physical copy!



Related post: How to declutter toys for good (+ save money and reduce waste)


Green Toys

I wanted to create a separate section for green toys, because these are toys that can fall within the lines of minimalism AND zero waste due to their high-quality material (made to last a long time), and the fact that they are made with 100% recycled plastic and come in recyclable packaging. Bonus – they all fall along the lines of dramatic play, meaning they are open-ended so the kiddo in your life can use them for a variety of things only constrained by their own imagination.

My son has a couple of these toys, and we often rent others from our local toy library, and him and I both love them!


Here are some of our favorites:




Consumables (look for items that come in reusable packaging/containers)

  • Food from their favorite bakery, restaurant, etc
  • Coffee/tea
  • Wine/Beer/Liquor
  • Homemade gifts such as salsa, pesto, jam
  • Meat gift basket (pick out a selection of meat)
  • Vegetable basket
  • Homemade soup mixes
  • Homemade lotions/lotion bars
  • Homemade soaps
  • Candles/essential oils/diffuser, etc
  • Grocery delivery service gift card
  • Gift certificate to their favorite coffee/tea place
  • Meal planning/delivery gift certificate



Related post: 58 Kindness, traditions, and activity based advent calendar ideas

Subscription Boxes

I know there are mixed opinions on subscription boxes. For this list, I’ve searched out subscription boxes that are eco-friendly, include ethically made/sourced items, and/or give back to the community in some way (all important in the definition of sustainability which we all know is not straightforward). To help you navigate through, I’ve added what each box offers that falls in line with the sustainable values I mentioned above in italics.

Additionally, here are some other subscription box benefits:

  • often can be tailored to the specific interests of the recipient, thus reducing chance for waste/clutter
  • allows the recipient to try new items they may not normally try at a discount – making certain items more accessible
  • subscription box companies often support local and small businesses
  • usually contain full-sized items which can easily be gifted/given to someone else

For Kids

  • Green Kids Crafts – Science and art kids activities for kids aged 2-10 using eco-friendly materials.
  • Sock Panda – Get a pair of socks and the company donates a pair to someone in need! Sizes available for kids starting at age 3 – adults.

For Adults

  • The Nomadik  – For the travel and outdoor lover in your life. A portion of their sales goes towards environmental organizations.
  • MightyNest – This box sends one eco-friendly, non-toxic (and many zero waste friendly products) each month. Members of the subscription box also receive discounts on many items in the MightyNest store! Use code DRYERBALL3 to get the first box for $3, PLUS 3 free dryer balls! Or, use code BEESFIX3 to get the first box for $3, PLUS 2 sheets of beeswax wrap!
  • Sock Panda – Get a pair of socks and the company donates a pair to someone in need! Sizes available for kids starting at age 3 – adults.
  • TheraBox – Curated by therapists to include self-care and stress/anxiety reducing items. Each box contains one researched-backed item to benefit your mental health.
  • Ecocentric Moms – Receive organic and eco-friendly products for mom’s wellbeing
  • Causebox – Causebox aims to create a community of women who care about social issues, the environment, themselves and their community. Products are cruelty-free and ethically-made.
  • Love Goodly – This subscription includes eco-friendly, cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics, wellness and lifestyle products.
  • GlobeInHandmade and ethically sourced goods that pay a fair wage to global artists.
  • Botanic + TerreNatural, eco-friendly, and cruelty free products (cosmetics and home goods)
  • GreenUP – This subscription box sends sustainable products that help you reduce plastic. 3% of proceeds go towards organizations that help clean up plastic from the ocean.
  • Succulent Studio – Plants make great clutter free gifts. They can help clean the air and help bring a bit of nature from the outside in, which has been shown to reduce anxiety. The succulents in this box are sent in biodegradable pots– not plastic!
  • EarthLove – Sent seasonally, EarthLove sends full sized eco-friendly and ethically-made products, a book, and tips on how to get closer to nature- all in zero waste packaging. Additionally, they partner with a non-profit and provide a portion of their proceeds to that organization.



If after all that you STILL can't find a gift that speaks to you (or maybe you just want to make your own!) there are TONS of great DIY gift ideas out on Pinterest. I have a board dedicated to DIY gift ideas that you can check out here.


Zero Waste Gift Wrap Ideas

If you need some ideas on zero waste gift wrapping, check out my post with 8 zero waste gift wrap ideas.



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Lisa Wingerter
2 years ago

Great Ressource! Thanks for sharing!

Niamh
2 years ago

Love this article! Except i want all the eco and zero waste things for myself 😛 do you have any recommendations on where to buy good value eco/fairtrade jewellery?

candy
2 years ago

Wow that is some list. Something for everyone of all age groups to find a great gift.

Sarah Althouse
2 years ago

Ooh I would love to try UrthBox! I even love the name!

Elise Ho
2 years ago

You were not kidding when you mentioned that this was an “ultimate” list. I love the subscription box ideas. It is so amazing how many wonderful ideas there are out there.

Alexa
2 years ago

This is a fantastic list! I love all the subscription box ideas! I got two this year for Christmas by Henny and Roo and they were geared toward caring for my chickens! I loved them!

Wendy Tomlinson
2 years ago

So many fantastic ideas. I did get very excited when I saw the Hygge Box. I’m off to check that out now. Although, I think if I had to choose, I’d pick the house cleaning gift. I think this is such a great gift.

Mara
2 years ago

Great list! I’m pinning this for later!

Renee
2 years ago

Hygge boxes?!?! No way!

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[…] Ultimate zero waste, minimalist friendly and mindful gift list (over 97 items) […]

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[…] The Ultimate Zero Waste, Minimalist Friendly, and Mindful Gift Guide (with 97 gift ideas!) (for the second month in a row!) […]

Kristy, Life-n-Reflection

Wow, I’m blown away 97 ideas! An great list to come back too.

Tonye
Tonye
2 years ago

This is a unique spin of gifts and very thoughtful too!

Elizabeth Garcia
2 years ago

Oh my goodness, what a wealth of ideas. I need to pin this so that I can reference it for all of my future gift buying.

Erin
2 years ago

I love this list! I especially love giving experiences and spending the day with my loved one. Most people don’t need “stuff” anymore and what’s more valuable than spending time together! Great post.

heather
2 years ago

You have a ton of great ideas! Love it!

denise
2 years ago

Great Ideas. I need a printable of these ideas!

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[…] The Ultimate Zero Waste, Minimalist Friendly, and Mindful Gift Guide (with 97 gift ideas!) (for the third month in a row!) […]

bentokai
2 years ago

Thanks for the information and the article.

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