Healthy gift ideas might sound too wholesome, but the fun of gift-giving (and receiving) is to choose things that someone wouldn’t normally buy for themselves.
If that certain someone is interested in health, veganism, environmental sustainability and/or not having too many ‘things’, these ideas might help.
- Dried Mulberries: They’re really high in vitamins and antioxidants, and I find them tastier than goji berries when you’re just eating a handful
- Dark Chocolate: There are some brands pairing high-quality dark chocolate with superfoods like ginger and goji berries for a delicious and healthy treat
- Smoothie/Greens Powders: Perfect for someone travelling by plane so that they can make a smoothie after going through security
I could go on… there are more ideas on my Amazon list.
I love handmade gifts – they’re so special. For the ladies in my life, I often make earrings or sew a purse out of old clothes. Men are a bit trickier, but they always appreciate a little homemade treat…
- Homemade Chocolate Bars: For the men in my life, I like to figure out their favorite chocolate bar and make a homemade version – you can’t go wrong with chocolate!.
- Truffles: It’s surprisingly easy to make those rich little balls of chocolate. Coconut or almond milk work just fine, and there are lots of recipes out there – like my raspberry maca triple chocolate truffles. They look (and taste) especially lovely covered in coconut, ground almonds or cocoa powder.
- Nut Mix: For those with a salt-tooth, you can roast and flavor your own nut mix. Much healthier than the ones you buy, and you can customize them. Dry roast them in a skillet or oven, and then season them with tamari (soy sauce), your favorite BBQ seasoning, or just some sea salt.
Cookbooks are great for ideas and inspiration – and often gorgeous photos! The cookbook section in bookstores is steadily growing, and it’s nice to see a lot more healthy and vegan/vegetarian books coming out. Check out my list of faves: Favorite Vegan Cookbooks, or browse my list on Amazon.
For people who like to cook, or just like to make good healthy food, sometimes a simple tool can make all the difference. There are so many to choose from, but the best choices are the ones that will get used a lot.
- Ginger grater: A ginger grater isn’t a staple in most kitchens, but it makes ginger so easy to add to any sauce or salad dressing. It rips up the ginger to a pulp that you can squeeze for juice. I love my ginger grater.
- Zester/Microplane: Citrus zest is so tasty, and has lots of nutrients. Adding zest to your cooking will transform your life – so why not share that with someone who shares a love of good food?
- Sprouting container and seeds: Growing your own sprouts is so easy, and gives you a perfect source of fresh nutrient-dense greens all through the year.
- Kombucha Starter Kit: Create your own blends, and save a ton of money making kombucha at home.
- charity:water brings clean and safe drinking water to people in need around the world, improving health, education, and opportunity – especially for women and children.
- 4Ocean is a great one because you get a pretty bracelet made of salvaged materials to give, plus for each one they will take 1 pound of plastic out of the ocean.
- Pacific Whale Foundation allows you to “adopt” a dolphin, whale, or false killer whale. They have stories to go with, and you can choose which one you “adopt” – I like matching the animal’s story to the person I’m making the donation for. You can also get bonus stuff sent to your giftee, like a sticker to put on their laptop.
Other Eco Gift Ideas
If you let your imagination wander, you can come up with all kinds of different ideas…
- Organic Wine: Made with organic grapes, and without sulfites, it’s a great option for a healthy and environmentally-sustainable gift, or to share over a special meal.
- Tea Pot With Tea and Infuser: Herbal tea is tasty, and lots of them have great health benefits. Green, honeybush and rooibos are all full of antioxidants and other special things. I like the ones that are mixed with dried fruits and flowers.
- Windowsill Herb Garden: You can get all the supplies, and then buy the actual herbs from the garden store when ready to plant. Some have a ‘self-watering’ system – though you do still need to top up the water!
- Vegan Leather Flip Flops: I found these FeelGoodz in a Whole Foods one time, and they are my favorite flip flops ever! When I couldn’t find them again in Whole Foods, I tracked down their website and found a whole range of flip flops made of vegan leather or natural rubber, plus slippers – for men and women. Their approach is fair trade and sustainable development of global artisan communities.
- Glass Straws: I never thought I needed a straw until I started using a glass one. If you have someone who likes smoothies in your life, these are a great option to make their sipping fun and avoid plastic straw waste. Try out some colorful Simply Straws or Hummingbird Straws – just be sure to get a cleaner!
- Travel Mug: I take mine everywhere with me – whether for tea, coffee, water, hot or cold, it’s always in my bag. I’ve tried a lot of mugs over the years, and I tend to like the flip tops for easier cleaning when I have lattes. These new ones from BioGo are on my list to try next – because not only do they reduce single use plastics, but they are made from rice husks that are otherwise a waste product of the rice industry.
- Travel Cutlery: Light My Fire makes a pretty fantastic spork, with a carrying case included. It was probably the best gift I’ve ever gotten, I carry it in my bag all the time so that I have it ready if I’m out at work or travelling, to eat on the go.
- Travel Chopsticks: I got my sister-in-law and I both a pair of these titanium chopsticks, with a travel case, this year!
- Re-Useable K-Cup: Keurig seems to be everywhere! Reduce the plastic with a re-useable filter cup, and save money by filling it yourself.
- Re-Useable Chemex Filter: Chemex also seems to be everywhere for coffee lovers – try this stainless steel alternative to the paper filters!
One of my favorite kind of gifts is an experience – doing something special – maybe with someone special, that I normally wouldn’t. If you’re thinking of gifts for someone who already has everything, or if you want to go more minimalist, this is a great way to go. Think of things they like to do, and whether there are any local things they haven’t done yet: a dance class, a play, a round of bowling, a wine tasting, a microbrewery tour, a pottery class… For adventurous types, maybe hanggliding, windsurfing, waterskiing, paramotoring…
Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping & Card Tips
When I was growing up, there was this special one year where the gas station gave out reuseable cloth gift bags, made of Christmas-themed fabrics. My dad went to the gas station every day to get one of those bags, and we used them for years. It was easier to wrap, less waste, and I remember always having favorite patterns of bag that made it like seeing an old friend under the tree. You can find similar things now, or you could even make your own! Bags with a drawstring are very simple to sew together, and you could make all different sizes.
If you’re given a gift bag with tissue paper, you can save and reuse them. I am ALWAYS happy to receive a gift bag and tissue paper that’s been reused – and I hope that the friends I pass mine on to do the same 🙂
What I often do is wrap presents in whatever paper product I happen to have accumulated over the year: brown paper bags, newspapers, magazines, flyers, etc. If you cut a paper grocery bag open and flip it inside out, you could draw or stamp your own pattern on it. Sometimes I challenge myself to not use any tape, although it’s not always possible, and tie up the package with some hemp twine (as per the photo at the top of this post).
The other quirk in my family when I was growing up is that my dad would save all the cards that people sent to us, cut the back off, and use the front of the card on our presents. We had such a stack of cards, I don’t think we ever ran out! You can also make your own cards out of brown paper bags, or any kind of scrap paper, made pretty with stamps or colorful markers. Or – what I often do is just write my note right on the paper wrapping – cause I’m classy like that…
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