Last Minute Eco-Friendly Gifts

So it’s almost Christmas, and you’re freaking out because you haven’t gotten all your gifts yet! What to do? Fear not, for I have some ideas that might interest you that are eco-friendly and easy to make or buy within a day or less.

Mason jar gifts

This one is a classic- simply measure and pour in all your dry ingredients to whatever you think the recipient of the gift would like- cookies, pizza dough, homemade jam, salsa, tea leaves, hot chocolate powder, or even ranch seasoning!

If you are a culinary master, this gift will be a breeze and you can do it in batches, so when you’re done,. you’ll have a little something something for everyone.

Various mason jars with dry ingredients
Photo credit to Ella Olsson

You can pick up any ole mason jar around the house, or buy one from a local craft store. Plus, you can paint on the jar, tie ribbon around it, or even glue tiny ornaments on the base.

Here is a recipe I found on Allrecipes for “Cowboy Cookie Mix in a Jar“. Very simple. Very cute.

If you aren’t much of a cook, you can always stuff the jar with other things you can easily find in a local supermarket. Check out this article by DiyJoy that gives you over FIFTY ideas!

Psssst… My favorite is #22- terrarium gift in a jar. Totally cute. Just remember to put holes in the jar or keep the top unscrewed if there are plants inside and water it.

Handmade ugly Christmas sweater

Now, this one is fun! What you’re going to want to do is buy a simple sweater from any ole Goodwill or other secondhand store- I say this because it is much more eco-friendly to buy secondhand- plus, it’ll save you a couple bucks.

Here’s the fun part- grab any old or unused garlands and ornaments and, depending on your comfort level, sew or glue them on at random or make a design first. If you want to be extra, you can buy felt squares, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners at a craft store and really immerse yourself in the crafting process.

Because you are working with delicate materials and possibly glue, you might want to hand-wash the sweater if it gets dirty.

Don’t be afraid to look up sweater inspiration online and make the sweater personalized to whoever you’re making it for. nothing is cuter than Pikachu wearing a red nose and reindeer antlers.

Local gifts

One of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is to support local businesses and shop local. This is because the goods you are buying are not going to be shipped thousands of miles to get to you and, chances are, they won’t be covered in plastic.

There are a lot of places to choose gifts nowadays- local wineries, bakeries, juicers, jewelers, and even soap shops. Better yet- assemble a gift basket with all of the above for a “local venue sampler”.

Local farmer’s market
Photo credit to Somi Jaiswal

If the time allows, you can also go online to Etsy handmade marketplace to find some last minute gifts- they even have a way of filtering results to include listings from your state- or even your town!

Here are the instructions:

  • Click the “All Filters” below the search bar
  • scroll down to “Shop Location”
  • Select “Custom” and enter your state or town

Another filter you can use is the “Deliver By” filter, where you can select by what time the listing will deliver. It’s pretty simple and will save you a lot on shipping costs, too.

Pine tree coasters

If you’re one of those people who got a tree this year, you’ll be delighted to know that you can make some “cottage core” gifts just from that tree. All you need is a saw, and, if you’re a woodworking type, an engraver.

Even if you didn’t buy a tree, chances are, they sell or might even have the bottoms of trees lying around in those tree farms in your town. It’s time to put them to good use. Plus, they’re cheap as dirt.

Here is a listing on Etsy for a GORGEOUS tree coaster with mountains on it, for inspiration.

Other ideas for these tree ends include a ring dish, a statement necklace, or even a tiny frame. Here is a video of how to transfer a simple colored photo onto wood with only mod podge.

Handmade lotion and soap

OMG! I am so excited because I just found a recipe for homemade body butter and it’s SIMPLE. All it takes is shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, coconut oil, and an essential oil of choice for the scent. Here is the recipe, in case you’re just a little curious.

Handmade soap is also simple and can be dirt cheap- you can make personalized soaps simply by melting unscented soap and adding food coloring, goat milk, oatmeal, and some essential oils to it. You will also need a silicone mold for the soaps- it can even be a baking mold for chocolate if it’s big enough.

Handmade soaps wrapped in twine
Photo credit to Aurelia Dubois

If you don’t feel like buying a silicone mold you’ll never use again, you can even just use an inch deep glass pan for the soap to set- just use a little bit of cooking spray so it comes out when it has set.

I’ve made soap before when I was around fifteen- it is incredibly easy. Check out this recipe for citrus soap by Hello, Wonderful.

Handmade gifts are hands down the best and they oftentimes save money in the long run. This is also an environmentally friendly option because you are skipping out on all the toxic, unnecessary ingredients that are in a lot of commercial lotions and soaps, along with the animal tests conducted with those products. Bonus points for bottling the lotion in glass or tin jars.

If you have a lot of people in your life that love to pamper themselves, this option is perfect because you can make a large batch for cheap and split it up.

Clay Pens

If you have some old pens lying around that you are sick of looking at, you can do something very simple to turn them into cute gifts. All it takes is some air-dry clay, oil paint, a paintbrush, and mod podge.

You can get air dry clay at any ole craft store such as Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. Heads up- Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays. You can also get oil paint and mod podge at these places, too.

Here is a simple process of how to make the clay pen:

  • You are going to want to check that the pen has a good amount of ink left before you decide to gift it, so unscrew the tip and see.
  • Grab the clay (about a ping-pong ball size) and knead it with your hands for a bit, adding drops of water in between to keep it pliable.
  • Wrap the clay around the pen and pinch it together once it’s entirely wrapped around. Take care not to have the clay near the tip of the pen or the end.
  • Smooth the clay over with your fingers, wetting it with water so it smooths out.
  • Once you are happy with the shape, let it sit for one full day (two is optimal) somewhere in the sunlight or just an airy room.
  • Arrange your oil paints and brushes (just one is fine, too) and start painting.
  • Let the paint dry at least 12 hours and apply mod podge, then let stand for another 24 hours.

This project will take about three to four days to do, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Audiobooks

This one is pretty self explanatory. An audiobook is sustainable, quick, and thoughtful especially if you know what kind of book the person you are gifting likes. Plus, audiobooks are good for those kinds of people that just don’t have time for anything- they can listen to it when they go to work or are doing chores at home.

You can easily gift an Audible audiobook by going on the audible website, selecting the book of your choosing, then selecting “more options”. When you click that, it will give you the option to buy the audiobook as a gift, and when you do, you will need their email for them to receive the digital copy.

Books galore!
Photo credit to Ed Robertson

If you are unsure of what book they might like, you can also buy them a membership that can be as short as one month or as long as a year. The membership comes with one credit per month and access to the Plus catalogue, which includes audiobooks, podcasts, and originals that don’t require credits to listen to.

That sums it up

When it comes to Christmas gift ideas, I always try to make them as personalized and as homemade/eco friendly as I can.

If you have last minute gift ideas of your own that you would love to share please feel free to comment down below. Until next time, hobble on!

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