by Lola
wrapped presents

Tis’ the season for giving!

Christmas is around the corner and it is time to try and figure out some creative gift ideas

Of course, I love to try and make all my gifts sustainable. This time of year there is inevitably more waste and plastic, plus all of the extra emissions from manufacturing and transportation. Thankfully more and more eco-conscious brands are popping up and small family-run businesses and local second-hand shops are making it easier for us.

I thought it would be nice to share with you some examples of the gifts that I and the rest of the team at Green Cloud Nine will be choosing for our loved ones. I hope it will inspire you and help you enjoy a fun and sustainable holiday season this year.

high angle shot of gifts
Photo by Leeloo Thefirst on Pexels.com

The top gift picks from the Green Cloud Nine team

We’ve rounded up some of the loveliest eco-friendly holiday season gift ideas and tips. We hope you like them.

A gourmet, eco-friendly food present

Cooking, baking or any gift food is an excellent option for anyone on your holiday list. You can make your own food basket by reusing a nice fruit box or bread basket and including all-time favourites like homemade jams, chutneys or a sweet treat like self-made biscotti, macaroons or Christmas biscuits. This makes a really personal and unique gift.

Solar phone charger

The advancement of science and technology has brought us some amazing and creative gadgets. One of our favourites is solar-powered phone chargers that harness the sun’s energy to recharge our cell phones. These green devices are a perfect gift for the lovely nerds in the family or your phone-obsessed friend.

Organic seeds, soil and a nice pot to grow your own spices and herbs at home

There are many beautiful holiday gift sets available for the cook of the house to enhance dishes with essential spices, herbs and other ingredients. Make it more fun and exciting by providing everything needed to grow them. You will find seeds, soil and planting pots everywhere and we are sure they will love it!

Audiobook or Ebook subscriptions & vouchers

If you know someone who is a green fan of audiobooks or ebooks, but you are not sure what they make like, a subscription or a voucher is the perfect gift. Perhaps you can even suggest your favourite books on sustainability 😉

Menstrual / period cup

49 billion single-use period products are consumed every year in the EU and they can take 500 to 800 years to decompose. Good quality menstrual cups, on the other hand, are durable, can be used for a long time, and are almost always made from medical-grade silicone which is chemical-free, body safe, and recyclable. In fact, one cup produces only about 0.4% of the plastic waste that single-use pads generate. Some period cups can last for up to 10 years and this fact alone makes this zero-waste alternative extremely sustainable.

“Zero-waste” starter gift baskets

Starter baskets are great ideas if you want to help someone jumpstart a zero-waste journey. You can check out our favourite ready starter kit here but you can also buy the items separately and build the kit yourself. Get creative and adapt the kit to the person´s interests. It may include sustainable items such as:

  • Bamboo utensils for the kitchen
  • Bamboo toothbrushes,
  • Reusable shopping or sandwich bags,
  • Beeswax cloth kitchen covers
  • Glass or metal straws
  • Solid shampoo or soap
  • Etc etc…

Homemade Crafts

I never believe it when people say they are not creative. We all are!! And by creating your own arts and crafts presents, you can make great personalised holiday gifts for loved ones that require neither much money nor time. Check out the Green Cloud Nine Instagram or Tiktok for ideas and suggestions.

woman sitting on a sofa while knitting a sweater
Photo by Caroline Feelgood on Pexels.com

Living Composter

Food waste does not have to end up in the garbage. This is a great gift for people that have a garden or plants around the house. Help them build a composter so their food scraps will return to the earth in a more sustainable manner using them as a natural fertilizer for their plants. You can find more details and instructions to compost in this post by trashhero.org

Recycled paper notebook

Whether you use it for drawing, journaling, as a diary, or to organize your life or business, a notebook can be an outlet for your creativity, a private place to hold your deepest secrets or to record your dreams for the future. And of course, it can be a great gift! You can find notebooks with recycled and alternative papers, eco-friendly covers and bindings, and even reusable notebooks in most stores.

But why not try to DIY it yourself? Here is a simple tutorial to create your own recycled notebook

Tote bag

Since canvas bags are a perfect replacement for plastic bags, why not have one that is trendy and fun? It will decrease the usage of plastic bags and reduce plastic pollution in the environment – and look good.
You can find many different designs perfect for your friends and family. Or take it an extra step and make/customise one. There are loads of easy tutorials online. (Side note: while you have your sewing machine out – you could make some cushion covers from old t-shirts or blankets – also a great gift)

Reusable thermal water bottle

Say no to plastic bottles!! They are responsible for a great part of the plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans so gifting a durable, reusable bottle is not only a nice gift for family and friends but also for our planet. There are so many great designs and types of water bottles out there nowadays that it will not be hard to find one that fits their taste and if it is thermal, will allow them to enjoy their cold or hot drinks for much longer. or a long time.

Train vacation & eco-friendly travel

Instead of flying, book the train for your next break away. Cutting down on air travel doesn’t mean that you have to stop travelling, in fact travelling by train in Europe can be very comfortable and economical. Also if you are booking eco-friendly accommodation it is good to check their accreditation labels, including Green Key, Earth Check and Green Growth. To know whether certifications really mean something or are just greenwashing, you can check the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) which sets the global standard for these accreditations.


This is one of my all-time favourite gifts to give and also to receive. We all have plenty of things, our wardrobes are full of clothing, gadgets, toys etc…do we really need any more?

Time is limited so spending quality time together is the most precious gift that we can offer anyone.

a couple standing on snow covered ground with ice skates
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com
  • Take your loved ones to a sporting event, concert, theatre or simply a nice hike in the mountains, ice skating or a walk by the sea.
  • You can organize a nice picnic in nature
  • Wine tastings and cooking workshops are excellent options to enjoy as a group.
  • You can buy a loved one a year-long membership to their favourite museum or swimming club

Donations / Sponsorship gifts

Why buy something at all when you can give the money away to a good cause?
Planting trees, animal conservation, ocean clean-ups, environmental lobbyists…there is plenty of good causes out there and for sure one that you or your gift recipient is passionate about. Perhaps a local cause is the closest to your loved one’s heart. Just do a bit of research and you will find the perfect fit!

And before I leave, let’s talk about holiday season gift wrapping!

Every year during Christmas, a significant amount of wrapping paper and gift bags are wasted. Many people are also not aware that shiny paper, glitter and synthetic ribbon contain plastic that ends up as microplastics polluting the environment.

However, together we can change that!

You can keep the paper and bags that are in good condition to be reused in the following years. Consider alternative wrapping materials like old newspapers and fabrics. You have probably heard about Furoshiki, the traditional Japanese cloth used for wrapping. The good news is that you don’t even need to buy them, you can also reuse fabrics that you have at home or cut them into ribbons.

photo of hands on top of gift wrapped in a cloth
Photo by Askar Abayev on Pexels.com

Did you know that packaging can also be a gift? You can pack your presents in a tote bag, a reusable basket, a nice carton box, a cookie jar, a sandwich tin, or even a casserole dish….your imagination is the limit!

We hope you liked our suggestions and tips. We are also looking forward to hearing about your own amazing alternative Christmas gifts so share with us in the comments!

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