We at Live for Tomorrow LOVE the holiday season! We love getting cozy, spending time with those we care about, doing things we enjoy and just straight up relaxing! Books, puzzles, baths, winter walks, podcasts, cuddles with pets and long chats with good friends. Not to mention all the tantalizing treats and scrumptious comfort foods, and the excitement and joy of the giving and receiving of heart-felt gifts!
One thing we don’t love though, is the excess and waste that tends to accompany these activities. But can it be avoided? Yes, it can – with a little conscious effort! To help you, we have put together this “Green Gift Guide” as a handy reference tool! While we always try to do our best to “be the change” internally, we hope to inspire others with some of these ideas!
Our guide includes 24 suggestions that vary in time and financial investment… we have sorted it to start with those that are more time intensive, and then work towards ideas for the last minuters (which, and not coincidentally, means the ones earlier in the list tend to cost less than the ones later on!).
PLEASE NOTE: For ideas that include store bought gifts, we highly encourage you buy the best quality you can afford. Also, only buy gifts that you are as confident as possible that the recipient will use. By doing both will help reduce 1: the need to replace poor-quality items more frequently, and/or 2: the items ending up at the thrift store!
Nothing says I love you like time spent making a thoughtful gift! Take into consideration the recipient’s space, favourite colours, like and dislikes, and we are sure you will be able to create the perfect thing!
Some ideas to get you started:
- For the house: wind chimes, watercolour painting (can be abstract!)
- Food & Drink: recipe book, jams & jellies, relish, pickles, original spice mixes (like chai, mulling, seasoning)
- For the body: beaded jewellery, sewn coin purse, crocheted scarf, knitted socks
- For relaxation: essential oil blend, bath bombs or salts
- For memories: photo album, scrapbook, a photo collage
2. DIY Kit
Especially for those starting their journey to adulthood, a custom-made kit is practical and thoughtful!
*If you need to buy items for various kits, thrift as much as you can, but if you need to buy new, please consider QUALITY despite (potential) higher price – that way it will last longer!
- Baking (ie. Baking sheets, silicone mat, mixing bowls)
- Toolkit (ie. Tackle box, tools and misc. supplies – great way to get rid of the doubles of tools you already have, complete the set with thrifted tools, and don’t forget containers for odd screws, etc.)
- Sewing (ie. Thrifted box, threads, buttons, needles, scissors, home-made pin cushion)
- Kombucha (Scoby starter, jar, tea and sugar & instructions)
- Sprout growing (starter sprouts, jar and instructions)
3. Coupon for Your Skills, Expertise, Service
What is the thing you do that everyone always wants?
Or are too shy to ask? If you are a photographer, maybe a coupon for an hour-long photo shoot, a landscaper could offer a plan for outdoor pots, a chef (or wanna-be chef) could offer to drop off a home cooked meal, or a coupon to be redeemed for that cake that everyone loves.
4. Homemade Cookies/Baking
Bake your traditional faves, or try something new!
Gifted in one of the suggestions below makes for a wonderful presentation (finished off with a festive ribbon):
- A brown bag with the sides rolled down, lined with coloured tissue paper
- A second-hand tin, sanitized and lined with tissue
- A beautiful thrifted plate or platter
5. The Gift of FRESH & CLEAN!
Especially for the folks who just don’t prioritize the health of their space! We recommend a gift that includes: LFT “Elbow Grease” All Purpose Cleaner, microfibre cleaning cloths (to replace the need for paper towels), pot scrubber/dish brush…
Visit an eco-conscious store near you for inspiration!
6. Eco-Kitchen Bundle
A great gift for the meal makers, bread bakers and kitchen shakers!
This can include:
- Dish soap
- Bamboo dish towels
- Reuseable/Beeswax food wraps
- Reusable silicone bags (to replace ziplocks)
- Compost bin and paper liners
7. Natural Product Gift Basket – for the Bath!
Without Holiday Craft Fairs taking place this year, this one takes a little more work than usual – but we know you can do it! Support local makers near your home, or neighbouring area! Many are offering goods for pickup, or delivery through online shops. Handmade things to look for:
- Bath salts, bombs or oils
- Essential oil blends
- Diffuser kits
8. Lifestyle Gifts
This is a practical gift idea for anyone, but we especially recommend it for teachers, essential workers and caregivers who are often on the run while carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders!
- Cutlery Kit including stainless steel straws (a pencil case works great to hold the items!)
- Pretty, practical, durable and fun travel mug and/or water bottle
- Stylish lunch kit/cooler bag
- Emergency stash of mini roll-on bottles filled with essential oils to calm the nerves, ease the headache or provide a boost of energy!
9. Practical Essentials
Boring? We don’t think so! Especially good for the college student (for whenever they might go back to school)! Here are some handy practical ideas for anyone –
- Reusable, mesh produce bags (the habit of using plastic bags for veg at the store is a great habit to break!)
- Reusable shopping bags – we recommend those compact enough for a pocket, purse or backpack – plastic grocery bags are ugly and embarrassing! Funk up the errand running with some style!
- Bamboo toothbrush – bonus if it’s one with a replaceable head!
- Rechargeable battery set – (even if they groan when they open it, we swear they will thank you some day!)
- Solar or crank flashlight/lantern – although rare, power outages do happen! This is great for adult “kids” who aren’t at home to access your stash of flashlights and batteries anymore!
- Biodegradable phone case! Sounds unnecessary, but with people upgrading their devices every 2 years on average, better to have a biodegradable phone case to dispose of than a plastic one!!
10. Locally Made Art
Find a virtual or IRL crafters shop in your community to find fun, one-of-a-kind and sustainably made (sourced) gifts of:
- Original art
- Fashion accessories
11. Admission to Local Attractions
We think the gift of an experience is a great idea! We recommend 2 x admission passes so the recipient can enjoy a trip with a companion to the local:
- Movie theatre
- Art gallery
- Botanical garden
- Outdoor luminary
12. Curated Gift Basket
If you are feeling stumped, here are some ideas for a gift basket filled with some of our favourite ‘go-to’s. A thoughtfully curated gift basket can work for virtually anybody! (We highly recommend each item be home-made, or local-maker made):
- Craft beer, wine and/or spirits
- Soap (e.g., Live for Tomorrow “Clean Mitts” Hand soap!)
- Savoury snacks
- Juicy novel – bonus points if it’s written by a local author!
13. Zero Waste Gifts!
Here are a few ideas to get you started…
- Recycled and reusable canisters and containers for refilling with style
- Regifted clothes, accessories or books (including cookbooks and non-fiction)
- Virtual class or workshop, like:
- Cooking class
- Dance class
- Local college /university hosted educational webinar (e.g., history of music, or maybe “Ayurvedic Tea Making”, take a look – you might be surprised at what you find!)
14. Games – for the Whole Fam!
There are a few ways to go about this. Our top 2 choices are:
- Home-made:Make a custom game! Seriously, google it – a variation on snakes and ladders, a personalized dice game, a home-made version of the game “Things”, or charades!
- Second hand:Take a walk through the games section at your local thrift store! So many treasures~! You can even give MULTIPLE games so your loved ones can keep the one that best suits their family (and they regift the rest!). This is a great way to discover games from different cultures and generations that might just become a new favourite pastime!
15. A Digital Subscription
Perfect for the person who has everything! You can get almost anything online these days! And the bonus is that most digital things don’t expire, don’t need dusting, and often are travel friendly – ie. Audio books on walks, digital magazines on the bus, etc.
Some ideas to consider:
- Magazine subscription
- Streaming platform annual subscription
- eLearning Subscription
- Skillshare, Masterclass
- Wellness/Yoga/Fitness account subscription
16. Audio Experiences
The first 2 ideas below are good for almost anyone on your list, with the third idea aimed at kids – nieces or nephews, for example:
- A mix tape (well, the equivalent, but on a USB stick or digital sharing)! ie. Purchased and downloaded tracks or a curated Spotify playlist (think “summer jams” or “party tunes”)
- Curated podcast playlists. These are great for walks and commutes, listening while multitasking, unwinding before bed, etc.
- Record yourself reading a story for a little one – who wouldn’t love a personalized story time!
17. Local Gift Certificates
You determine the value (usually in the $10-$50 range, depending on recipient), and this is a win-win that benefits a local business, while showing your appreciation of the recipient! (*Great gift for the ‘service people’ in your life, hairstylist, retail clerk, post person, etc.)
Some local businesses to look at for gift certificates:
- Refillery store **Our favourite choice!**
- Service provider (think organic produce delivery, eco-friendly dry cleaning or hand car wash)
- Restaurant, brew pub, deli
- Hair salon, spa
- Coffee shop
- Sweet shops (Mmmm… ice cream, doughnuts, macaroons…)
18. Coupon for a Scheduled Mystery Date!
This one will require putting on your thinking cap to come up with what your loved one would consider to be their ‘ideal’ day. This might start with breakfast in bed, followed by a hike in the woods, warming up in front of the fire at the local pub (socially distanced of course), then searching for that missing LP in their vinyl collection… you get the idea.
Now, plan it out but instead of revealing the details in one go, give a card that sets the stage for the Mystery Date and as you progress with each activity, give your partner a new card containing a clue on what is happening next. The emphasis here is what THEY would love… so dig deep and make it special (even if that means doing something you are not a fan of)!
19. Healthy Living
Always on the lookout for fresh inspiration, a lot of health-conscious people have their ear to the ground for new trends, maybe you can surprise them!
Here are some ideas:
- Membership to an online meditation class
- Raw, plant based or vegan cookbook
- Subscription to a local food or tea box
- Gift certificate for reflexology or massage
- Guidebook for local ‘forest’ bathing
20. Ethically Sourced International Treasures
Fun fair-trade finds at stores like Ten Thousand Villages are wonderful gifts, and extra exciting if given to a young one who has never yet heard of many of these far-off magical places! Expose them to the world in an educated, ethical way where each piece tells a story!
21. Online Lessons/Masterclass Membership
Learning online is great for aspiring artists, musicians and writers. Some benefits are being able to pause and replay portions until fully understood, learning on a flexible schedule, and being able to make progress without feeling embarrassed about mistakes – especially early on!
22. Turn Family Gift Giving into a Game
Rather than buy gifts for the specific members in your household ‘bubble’, how about making a game out of it? Purchase unique gifts that everyone would enjoy, wrap them up but don’t tag anyone’s name. Then determine the order sequence (recommend oldest to youngest). The first person then chooses one gift out of the selection – they open it up for all to see. The next person then has the choice to pick one of the wrapped gifts, or steal the gift opened by the first person, and so on. Suggest you set a rule on how many times a gift can be ‘stolen’ that is appropriate for the size of your bubble. Laugh it up and enjoy!!!
Great for that person in your life who is completely content in having to wait at airports, long journeys on the bus or propped up against a log at the beach… because they have a world to escape to in the palm of their hand!
3 top picks:
- a book by a local author (or author from their original hometown)
- a paid admission to a local or virtual book reading
- an audiobook
- Check out: Https://Libro.Fm
24. Donate to a Worthy Cause
This is the perfect gift for the person who insists they don’t want or need a thing! A donation to a non-profit in their name is another gift that keeps on giving ~ this can be anything from a third world charity to a local Christmas hamper fund.
We hope this helps!!
~ Happy Holidays from Live for Tomorrow!!