11 Last Minute Eco-Gift Ideas

Sustainably wrapped EarthSuds waterless shampoo gift with gingerbread and pine needles around it

Did the day for your gift exchange/delivery sneak up on you? Or are you wanting to add another something to an existing gift but not sure what? Here are 11 gift ideas that you can throw together in less than an hour:

*As always, if you are able to source ingredients from a bulk store/zero waste, that’s even better! However, this may not be possible for everyone, so a focus on ingredients with less waste or more eco-friendly packaging is encouraged!

1. Stovetop Potpourri 

This is the perfect home decor gift that even adds a light natural fragrance to any room! Throw the ingredients in an old food jar with the instructions (could email the instructions to avoid paper use, or use scrap paper, etc.). Decorate the jar with fun natural decorations found in your area - for me that would include evergreen twigs, acorns, pinecones, etc. Here is one I came across on Instagram but a quick Ecosia search could help you find more recipes: https://plantyou.com/christmas-potpourri/  


2. Homemade Baking/Cooking

I love baking and cooking so this has become a tradition with family and friends for me. I try to package mine in old takeout containers or packages I was given gifts in from previous years. 

3. Homemade Body Scrub 

I have yet to try this myself but I have been told these are very easy to make and throw into an upcycled container/jar. Here are some I found through a quick search but it looks like there are a lot of recipes out there: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/a32686075/diy-body-scrub-recipes/ 

4. Pre-Mixed Ingredients 

I’ve seen a variety of these in old pasta sauce jars that range from brownie mixes, hot chocolate to a soup base that you just throw in a pot. I just look up dry soup mixes for recipes or find a regular recipe. A “4 course meal” could be interesting with 4 dry mixes such as a snack (e.g. popcorn), a drink (e.g. hot chocolate), a main (e.g. soup), and a dessert (e.g. cookie/brownie mix).  Again, make sure to include the instructions and a full ingredient list! 

5. Subscription 

Such as one to a streaming platform or an e-magazine like National Geographic. Or how about a subscription to an app based service (like their music app or health and wellness apps)? Even better, some local small businesses in your area may have moved to online subscription-based activities such as workouts, cooking classes, etc. Purchasing one of these as a gift will also support a local small business! For example, the Sustainable Florist has her spring/summer flower subscriptions posted which you can purchase ahead of time (like right now!).

6. Giftcard 

Great for if you know they are fond of a store/restaurant but not sure what they want. Another great way to support local/small and sustainable/eco-focused businesses/restaurants. 

7. Plant a Tree

Tentree is currently offering a way to offset your Christmas tree (among a variety of other offset packages): https://www.tentree.ca/products/your-christmas-tree 

One Tree planted allows you to pick how many trees you would like to plant and where: https://onetreeplanted.org/products/treecember-give-trees-for-holidays 

8. Plant Clippings 

I love my plants (my friends and family joke that my room has become a forest). I was looking at some plants this morning thinking that they are outgrowing my room. So, I did some digging and found that those specific plants could be clipped and grown into a new plant. I am no expert in this area so I would suggest looking up the best way to do this and if it is even possible for one of your plants. But this way, you can reuse an old pot or container (get creative! I've seen some wacky and funny things upcycled into plant pots) and create a new plant from the ones you were already growing. Here is what I have found based on a quick search: https://www.thespruce.com/make-more-plants-with-cuttings-1402474  


9. Re-gift

If you have been given a gift you don’t/won’t use in the past, but you know your friend will, why not re-gift it to them so it doesn’t go to waste! Or, if there is something you have that you rarely use, but again, know your friend will appreciate and use, why not package it up and give it another life. 

10. Make a Donation 

Great for the friend who has everything! Make a donation in their name to a cause they support.

11. Package the Order Slip

If there is something you know they want, but it won’t get to you in time, why not  package a picture of the item (and maybe the tracking number if possible) and tell them you will give it to them once it arrives. As mentioned before in the Eco-Friendly Gift Shopping post, if possible, try to find what they want in a more eco-friendly way - can you find it made from more sustainable materials? Thrifted? Etc.