The holidays are here, and it’s time to start thinking about the perfect gift for everyone on your list. However, it is estimated that extra waste produced around the holidays amounts to 25 million tons of garbage or one million additional tons per week. Keeping this in mind, and knowing that many have enough waste already, it’s essential to think about some low waste and plastic and foam-free gifts to give this season. Spread holiday cheer that doesn’t turn into waste anxiety by giving something from our list of plastic and foam-free gift ideas. Read on to discover more.

Experience Gifts

The best way to treat those who have enough stuff would be to give them an experience gift. It’s extra special if the experience is something they’ve always wanted to do or something that matches their favourite hobbies and personality. Luckily we have some ideas of what this could be. Try one of these ideas and offer to take them yourself to spend time together:

  • Concert tickets to see their favourite band or music artist.
  • Dinner out at their favourite restaurant or a place you have both been meaning to try
  • A day at a museum or art gallery.
  • An overnight hotel stay for a vacation they’ve been planning or to a city they’ve wanted to explore near you.
  • A spa day! Treat yourself and your gift recipient to a massage, facial, or pedicure treatment. If you can’t print a gift card at home on paper or e-mail it to them, offer to go to the spa together and pay for them.
  • A class – for those eager to learn something new, pay for an art class, pottery lesson, writing glass, cooking class, or dance class.
  • State or provincial park pass for day-use trails or overnight camping. Having a parks membership can be beneficial to access the many park’s amenities and parking, especially if they love the outdoors.
  • A wine or brewery tour can be a fun way to spend a day with your gift recipient and try something new.
  • A day to shop together at their favourite thrift store. Let them pick out anything they want; it’s on you! This also saves synthetic fabrics and plastics from going to the landfill.
  • Have a TV or Movie lover in your life? Purchase a subscription to a new streaming service they’d like to watch.
  • Your romantic partner will love a list of date night ideas that you can do together throughout the year. List them out on paper and place them in a decorated jar or box. Pull one monthly. Some ideas include cooking together, going mini putting, a movie night, star gazing and bowling.

Consumable Gifts

Everyone loves to receive a special treat to try over the holidays. Gifting consumable goodies like the ones below can save on waste. Remember to purchase these in recycled paper packaging, glass bottles and jars, or recyclable aluminum cans. Receiving any of these is a great way to discover a new favourite food or drink. Try giving a consumable this season:

  • A tea or coffee kit loaded with flavours they love for their favourite warm beverage.
  • DIY hot chocolate kit in a glass jar. Fill the jar with the hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, and candy cane toppings.
  • Do they like a bit of spice in their life? Hot sauces in glass bottles are a great idea. Shopping local for hot sauces is also easy and a great way to support a small business.
  • Buy them their favourite cookbook where they can create their own recipes at home.
  • For the beer, wine, or cider lovers in your life, give them one of their favourites or search for something new they may like. Again, shopping from a local brewery or winery can be an easy way to support the local community and reduce your eco-footprint when finding the perfect gift.
  • Foodies will love a make-your-own kit with pasta, pasta sauce, breadsticks and cheese. Head to the bulk food store and fill up some of their preferred pasta in a glass jar. You can also fill the jar with candy, chocolates, baking ingredients, and snack foods. By shopping at the bulk food store for these, you can bring your own reusable glass jars instead of purchasing things in plastic or foam packaging.

For Kids & Adults Alike

Children’s toys tend to be wrapped in plastic and foam packaging. In fact, a whopping 90% of toys are made from some form of plastic as well. Instead of giving your little ones plastic and foam toys this season, opt-in for some of these ideas instead:

  • A craft kit; include their favourite tools and accessories for knitting, cross-stitching, crocheting, clay making, sustainable colouring books, eco-friendly paints, and bamboo paintbrushes. This gift can be gifted to adults too!
  • Wood toys – classic wood trains or blocks that don’t come in plastic packaging.
  • Experience gifts work for kids too! And make a great way to spend time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, or parents. Some ideas include their first movie theatre experience, amusement park passes, water park passes, or a day at a play gym.
  • Plant growing kits. Purchase a kit for kids to grow their own sunflowers or vegetables. They will love to learn how to do this and watch them grow.
  • If your children are looking to give a gift to their friends or family, handmade crafts make for the perfect, thoughtful gift as well. Try these festive egg carton critters made from 100% recycled paper egg cartons.


A final gift idea on our list is any reusables they might not have yet.

  • A stainless steel water bottle or coffee tumbler.
  • Reusable produce bag.
  • A stainless steel straw set in fun colours. 
  • We know many people already have a favourite reusable grocery bag. Still, if you can find one with their favourite TV show or movie poster screen printed on the front, or something that matches their personality, you could place any of the other gifts you have purchased inside instead of using a plastic-lined gift bag.

Use this list as a starting point to help you prepare for the holiday season and shop plastic and foam-free this year. If you have other ideas, we’d love to hear them. Share your ideas with us by tagging @ditchplasticpackaging on Facebook and Instagram and using the hashtag #ditchplasticpackaging. We can’t wait to see all the plastic and foam-free gift ideas. Is someone shopping for you? Share this list with your friends and family to hint at what you’re wishing for.