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Going zero waste has never been easier with these 11 eco-friendly gifts. These homemade gift ideas are classy and will be loved by any who receive it.

Okay, hands up who feels like a scrooge when they turn up with homemade presents? I hear you! This bugged me for a really long time. I’d turn up clutching creations that had taken months of consideration and careful planning, only to feel like my effort was the lesser on the offering table. But my stubborn commitment to eco-friendly gifts—and inspiration from the magnificent contributions of a few others in my world—led me to continue in my efforts.

The reality is that homemade gifts don’t actually save you money or time. Food is a common homemade gift, but by the time you save the seed, propagate the seedling, nurture the plant, and harvest and cook the jam/cake/dehydrated chips, it actually costs you more and takes more time than buying something from the shops. So, with this knowledge in your pocket, hold your head high and be proud that the less shiny, less perfect, wholly loved, individual, one-of-a-kind personalised presents have your name on the tag.

Read my story: How I gave my children the experience of really living

There’s an endless range of gifts that you can make with ease. The bonus is that once you set the tone, you’ll have the favour returned.

The best 11 eco-friendly gifts we’ve received

  1. a voucher book of activities and time offered for redemption (cleaning the house, picnic day out, day at the beach, night off the dishes, night in together, being read a story)
  2. potted plants or herbs taken from their garden
  3. poetry
  4. stories and photos of our childhood together
  5. a packed picnic with thermos, real china and a tablecloth or picnic rug
  6. a garlic or chilli string that is ready to be hung straight up in my kitchen
  7. an upcycled box brimming with hot-chocolate ingredients, including a mug, marshmallows and vanilla-infused cacao
  8. a meal in a jar (all of the dry ingredients plus handy instructions on how to complete the meal by simply cooking it in a pot)
  9. dried homegrown herbal tea in an upcycled container
  10. saved veggie seeds
  11. a secondhand collection box (goodies purchased in op shops throughout the year with me in mind)

4 eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas

Eco-friendly gift wrapping

The clincher to your homemade present is the wrapping. Again, it’s a chance to get super creative, so why not try using:

  1. fabric instead of paper
  2. pages from an old street directory or atlas
  3. newspaper or brown paper decorated with natural finds
  4. string or a fabric ribbon

You can make your own simple gift tags using leaves or layered paper, and add a fresh flower tucked under the corner of the wrapping for a lovely finishing touch. Did you know that spruce is traditionally considered a sign of gratitude and hope? When you next wrap a homemade gift, why not add a little spruce sprig if you can?


Images and text from Futuresteading by Jade Miles; photography by Karen Webb. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

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