Homemade and zero waste gift ideas
Why not treat your friends and family to a homemade gift? Check out the following ideas which are all inexpensive and easy to do at home.
Why not give an experience like a spa day, zoo entry or theatre show, or a subscription to their favourite online magazine or vouchers for an art class?
These thoughtful gifts that are zero-waste and the memories can be treasured forever.
Also, sponsoring/adopting an endangered animal in their name is great for little ones, with everything from polar bears to llamas needing a helping hand.
Bath salts are super easy to make, and doing it yourself can really add a personal touch.
All you need to make them are Epsom salts, sea salt, food colouring and essential oils. You can choose which oils and colours to use to make the perfect combination. Putting the salts in a glass jar with a homemade gift label really adds a personal touch.
Making bath bombs is a great indoor activity that will keep the kids busy on a rainy afternoon – and they’re also a lovely gift for friends and family. Experiment with colours, add flowers from your garden and use different shapes. Once you have the main ingredients, it’s really easy to adapt this recipe to what you already have at home.
Sugar or Salt Scrub
By mixing either coarse sugar or salt with an oil and some natural essences, you can create heavenly smelling scrubs. Coconut oil or olive are good options for oils, which work great with essences such as lavender, lemon or whatever their favourite is!
Reusable Make Up Wipes
Reusable make up wipes are best with slightly different fabric than kitchen towels – the softer the better!
Once sewn, you can keep them in an air tight jar/container soaked in a simple mixture. Baby soap and water for cleansing, coconut/olive oil to break down even waterproof make up and your chosen essential oils to moisturise skin, just like a disposable make up wipe.
Once used, just chuck in your regular wash.
Infused oil is a lovely gift for a keen chef. It’s really simple to make and does not require a lot of time or effort.
To infuse, start with a high quality olive oil, spices and dried herbs. Add the herbs and spices into a glass jar or container and then pour the oil over them ensuring that the herbs and spices are covered. Ensure that the bottle is completely sealed and place the jar on a windowsill or sunny spot.
Remember to shake the bottle every few days or so.
Big Batch BBQ Rub
This dry rub is really quick to make and uses a lot of ingredients you may already have in your home. Creating the layered effect makes it look really special. The dry rub can be used on a variety of meat and fish, the perfect gift for any BBQ lover!
Snow Globe Hot Chocolate
For a Christmassy take on a hot chocolate, start by skewering 3 large, white marshmallows together with a cocktail stick. Use black and orange icing to dot on the buttons and carrot nose. Stick the snowman onto a cookie using more icing. For the hat take a chocolate like a Rolo or Reese’s piece and stick onto a giant chocolate button. Add 2tbsp Horlicks and 2tbsp cocoa powder (or other drinking chocolate) into a glass jar. Add the snowman and cookie on top.
Seal the jar and tie a gift label with the following instructions: Remove the snowman from the jar and add 300ml warm milk. Stir well until smooth and chocolatey and enjoy with your snowman for dunking. (Recipe and photo credit: BBCGoodFood)
Chutney is a great way to use up those autumnal veggies instead of going to waste. A variety of vegetables can go in a chutney as well as some fruits. Most recipes have tomato, peppers, onion with sugar, vinegar and seasonings. Then add others like apples, beetroots, carrots and cucumber as per these delicious recipes, leave for at least a month to let the flavour develop.
Christmas Pudding Flavoured Vodka
A great present to give to those who love their Christmas drinks – check out the Christmas Pudding Flavoured Vodka recipe here (photo and recipe credit: BBCFood).
Any vodka can be home infused and decanted into smaller bottles. Old glass salad dressing bottles are perfect for presenting it in.
Who doesn’t love mince pies? Giving someone a jar of homemade mincemeat will mean making their own will be easy!
This Christmas mincemeat recipe (recipe and photo credit: DeliaOnline) has everything in to spice up the holidays. Try reusing a jar you already have for the ultimate eco gift.
Other Gift Ideas
These beautiful candles are easy to make and look really special. You can pick up some cute, vintage teacups and saucers in a charity shop or a recycling centre. Wax and wicks are generally cheap and can be purchased online or in most craft stores. You can add in food colouring and scented oils to make the candles exactly how you want.
Growing Gift Set
A growing gift set is a lovely idea for any plant enthusiast.
All you need is a plant pot (why not decorate it?), ribbon, compost and bulbs/seeds. You can then pop the bulbs/seeds and the compost in the pot and tie it with the ribbon.
If you’re feeling extra creative why not add a homemade gift label with instructions? A much greener alternative to giving flowers!
Why not consider making an eco-hamper of food, drink and waste saving items to encourage your friends and family to think a bit more about sustainability?
You could add some of the above gifts along with a mix of the following:
- Reusable shopping bags.
- Fruit and veg produce bags – DIY tutorial here.
- Bamboo/recycled paper loo roll / kitchen roll – most supermarkets will sell recycled paper toilet/kitchen roll. Why not also take a look at Who Gives a Crap, Bumboo or Cheeky Panda?
- Homemade toilet bombs – DIY tutorial here.
- Favourite treats jar – your local zero-waste shop will an array of goodies to fill up a jar for your hamper, such as chocolate covered coffee beans, vegan sweets and nuts.
- Homemade lavender cleaner – DIY tutorial here.
- Shampoo and conditioner bars.
- Environmentally-friendly washing-up or laundry liquids – check out brands such as Ecover or Method.
. . . What other day-to-day items could you include for your friends and family to try?