Sustainable gift ideas for Christmas

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From the packaging to the contents, here’s what sustainable gifts can look like. Whether it’s a theater subscription, shipping box, or coffee grounds, you can give them all a second life as a loving handmade gift. Also included are last-minute gift ideas that require little effort and bring joy to the recipient.

Gifts should give pleasure and show that the person is essential to you. Again and again, it provides, however, also for headaches if one does not know which exactly one is to give or the recipient “nothing” wishes. We have made a few thoughts and collected gift ideas that convey appreciation and are sustainable and easy to implement. Whether vouchers to print out yourself or little handmade things from things you already have at home: There is something for everyone.

Donate in the name of the recipient
It takes little effort, but a donation shows a significant effect. Whether it’s a hot meal at a homeless shelter, a night at a women’s shelter, food and toys for a four-legged friend at an animal shelter, or planting a tree to protect the climate – these good deeds make ideal gifts for anyone who also wants to give something back or for people who are already wishfully happy. A quick Google search suggests the right charity, depending on what you want to donate to.

Donations are perfect for those who want nothing or already have everything. Austrian Women’s Shelters, Homeless Shelters, Animal Shelters, Mercy Homes, and whatever else you can think of are happy to receive any donation, no matter how small.
Ideas for culture enthusiasts
Numerous theaters in Austria offer new subscriptions every year. They come in different sizes for different budgets. If you take out a subscription yourself, you can look forward to evenings at the theater together that will stay in your memory for a long time.

You can go one step further for all music fans and get a concert ticket instead of a CD. Live performances by your favorite singer or band are thoughtful gifts that may even fulfill a small dream for the recipient. If the concert ticket is too expensive, it is possible to take over a music subscription to Spotify, iTunes, and Co. This way, you don’t have to commit to one artist immediately and can enjoy it for months. The same is valid for movie and series fans. Subscriptions to Netflix, Disney+, or DAZN (for sports enthusiasts) are suitable. Vouchers for these are available in some supermarkets at the checkout or can be printed online.

For the eco lovers-aunts, uncles, and children of the future
Not everyone necessarily wants to get something material for Christmas or is somewhat prejudiced against excessive consumption. But since gifts are as much a part of Christmas as the top of the tree is to the fir tree, there are excellent ways to avoid coming up empty-handed. For example, you can have a tree planted that binds CO2 and promotes reforestation. Another option is a climate subscription with the Viennese startup TeamClimate, which has set itself the task of not only offsetting CO2 (of which we in Austria release more than we are allowed to according to the Paris climate goals) but also making sure that it is used to support social projects. A small amount of around nine euros a month supports projects that give local people access to water, promote the sale of handicrafts and reforestation instead of deforestation, and enable wind power.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who travels a lot and likes to explore mountains, lakes, and the like within Austria, a climate or public transport ticket is a great idea. In many Austrian cities, there is a range of local buses, streetcars, and metro lines with which you can get from A to B in an uncomplicated and environmentally friendly way. So why not give something as a gift that is also practical and that the recipient will need anyway?

The coffee drinkers know how much coffee grounds can accumulate in a week. In the warm months, the ground beans are suitable as a plant fertilizer for the balcony and garden; in winter, it usually ends up in organic waste. But you can also conjure up an invigorating body scrub from it. To do this, collect coffee grounds and let them dry well. Then mix two parts of coffee with one piece of granulated sugar. Finally, the whole thing can be rounded off with some essential oil, Christmas scents of orange, clove, cinnamon, and ginger are particularly suitable. The scrub can be used on the whole body when showering – leaving out the face – and gives a pleasant caffeine kick.

One or the other has fruit trees in the garden or the environment. Fresh fruit is ideal for making syrup, jams, and jelly. Quickly tying a bow around and a lovely card written, you have a homemade love gift ready.

Self-made vouchers for breakfast in bed, dinner together, or weekend getaways are a great way to give mom, dad, partner, or friends a personal gift and spend time together. You can also use it to take away unpleasant yet necessary tasks, like cleaning the car, washing windows, or mowing the lawn. The best part is that it fits even the smallest budget.

Newsprint and tissue as gift wrap
According to Global2000, paper consumption per capita in Austria is 223 kilograms. While paper is a renewable resource, you can get much more out of it. Read newspapers are super suitable for wrapping gifts inexpensively and sustainably. It doesn’t always have to be expensive glossy gift paper. The packaging looks more festive with a nice bow tied around and a small fir branch tucked in. If you often order and have accumulated a lot of boxes and filling material – usually paper, plastic is rather unsuitable – you can also give them a second life. With a few pens, Christmas motifs such as tree balls, fairy lights, reindeer, and fir trees can be drawn on the cardboard, making it very easy to wrap even more significant gifts.

Over the years, old t-shirts, scarves, shawls, and tea towels accumulate. Before they slide to the back of the box and are forgotten, you can wrap a gift. With a simple knot, the facility is wrapped plastic-free and can be worn or reused next year by the person receiving the gift. Christmas gift bags have served their purpose after the gift-giving and often end up in the trash, even though they are flawless. This is unnecessary because they can be used again or given away in the next year. Saves not only the wallet but also the environment.

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