Holiday shopping can be stressful and overwhelming in a number of ways.

Not only is it not fun for the shopper, it can be massively detrimental to animals and the environment. Many gifts contain animal products, whether in food or cosmetics.

The environment also takes a hard hit as a massive amount of paper, cards, fake Christmas trees, and gag gifts flood the trash, overwhelming our already waste-overflowing landfills.

While it sounds bleak, there are very easy ways to reduce our waste and to be smarter, more conscious shoppers.

Below is a guide to ways we can shop this holiday season… without actually having to go out and buy a ton of new things for people. The goal of this list is to reduce waste, help animals, and, additionally, to offer more options to folks who may not have a lot of money to spend.

10 Holiday Gift Ideas That Are Vegan, Budget, and Environmentally Friendly


1. Recycle an old tyre

Recycling means breaking down waste and making it into something new.

Tyres are not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of a gift, but there’s a lot you can do with a tyre. Tyres can be broken down and molded into many other, family-friendly gifts, ranging from unique ottomans, planters, see-saws, baskets, and more. Check out this post for more.

2. Upcycle unused books

Upcycling is similar to recycling, however upcycling requires a lot less breaking down of waste in order to yield a newer product.

Books are interesting purchases because once they’ve been read, they don’t always have much more to offer. While some people re-read and cherish books forever, others just find them decorative or, worse, objects just taking up space. Well, there are plenty of things you can do with all those old, unused books. You can make cards with them, paper flowers, gift tags, cake toppers, and so much more. For more, check out 21 ways to reuse old books.

3. Borrow movies/video games/DVDs

Borrowing is the most affordable way to enjoy something you want.

Not everyone has money to spend this holiday season and we all need to be conscious and respectful of that. If you don’t have money to spend, let people borrow some of your things that they might like. Maybe you have a box set of a popular TV show that someone might enjoy binge watching. Or maybe you have a video game that you think someone else might enjoy playing. Lending out and borrowing are extraordinary ways to reduce waste and avoid high costs, while still getting to enjoy the holidays. To keep things clear, it may be helpful to let folks know in advance that things are being borrowed or lent — others may want to participate as well, so advance notice is helpful.

4. Find a salvage company near you

Salvage is often junk that people throw away and/or consider beyond repair.

Salvage companies sell anything from plumbing fixtures, sinks, and tubs, to furniture, reclaimed lumber, knickknacks, and doors. People often overlook these products because they’re not new — however, these places can be a wonderland of funky and unusual gems that you won’t find anywhere else.

5. Repair vintage/old tech in your house

Repairing is one of the more obvious items on the list, as it simply means fixing something that no longer works.

Gone are the days of tradespeople, who fixed our broken gadgets. Here are the days where something breaks and we immediately go out and buy a new one. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. Find valuable things in your home that no longer work and breathe new life into them. There are still repair people out there, you just have to look for them. Old TVs, radios, watches, and more, can be just like new with a little time and effort.

6. Do without unnecessary things

This one might seem a little odd in a gift guide… but sometimes the best thing we can do for someone is to not give them something they don’t need. This is especially true for folks living in limited space. Not everyone needs a new thing. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give gifts, but rather that you should think carefully before you give someone something they might not need.

7. Buy second-hand clothes

Second-hand objects are objects that have been used before and are being resold.

Second-hand clothing is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Thrift stores often stock better clothing than the most “fashionable,” name brand stores, as their clothes come from people from all walks of life. The clothes you get will be much cheaper and all you have to do is go home and wash it for it to look and feel like new. Find a thrift store near you and get shopping.

8. Create a piece of art

People often knock created gifts as something children do for the adults in their life. However, we as adults could learn a thing or two from kids. Gifts created from scratch show heart and personality that just can’t be matched by purchased things. Created gifts often become treasures that people cherish all their lives. And there’s so much that you can do. Fill a mason jar with affirming notes from friends and family, and give them to someone special. Paint a canvas with someone’s favorite colors and/or colors that fit their decor. If you’re giving a gift to a parent, have their children put their handprints on something and write/paint their names underneath. There’s so much you can do. The best gifts are not the things that cost the most.

9 Swap clothes and shoes

Do you have clothes or shoes you don’t wear anymore? If so, get a bunch of friends/family together and host a clothing swap. Bring things you no longer wear, throw it into the mix, and grab some new things for yourself. Not only does it save you money and reduce waste, it’s fun too! Shoes are a bit harder to exchange as you must be near or at the same size to exchange but clothing is easier, as it can be tailored to fit people of different sizes.

10. Grow beautiful and helpful plants to brighten people’s homes

Grown gifts are often completely forgotten in the holiday season.  Grow some aloe vera for its soothing benefits, a peace lily for its air detoxifying powers, or, if you’re skilled, grow a bonsai tree for someone because they’re absolutely stunning.