15 sustainable gift ideas

Holidays, birthdays, and celebrations of all kinds can get really hard if you’re trying to be sustainable. There is so much consumption and consumerism and just unnecessary waste that comes with these occasions. But of course you don’t want to look like the Scrooge by not bringing anything at all, so let us help inspire you with these sustainable gift ideas!

Idea 1  – Relaxation

Who wouldn’t be excited for a spa day? Or an opportunity to take a ‘me day’? Ideas for relaxation experiences include:

– Massages

– Manicure/pedicure/self care

– Sensory Float

Idea 2 – Photo-shoot

A photo-shoot can be such a special gift. Every time they look at the photos they’ll be reminded of a great memory, and the great person behind the scenes. Ideas for gifting a photoshoot include:

– Doing it yourself (if you feel confident)

– Finding a photographer that suits their lifestyle and setting up a surprise shoot

Idea 3 – Dinner On You

It’s a timeless and traditional gift. Whether you have plans to get busy in the kitchen or pick up the tab, providing dinner for friends or family is a warm experience gift. Whose love language doesn’t include food?

Idea 4 – Tickets

The classic experience gift that is also waste-free. Some of our favourite suggestions are:

– Sports games (WHL Hurricanes, Lethbridge Bulls, if you’re feeling fancy maybe Calgary Flames!)

– Show tickets (New West Theatre, Carriage House Theatre, Banff International Film Festival)

– Concerts (Enmax Center, Geo-Mattic Attic, University of Lethbridge)

Idea 5 – Activities

Lethbridge has an abundance of leisure and activity based organizations! Just a few suggestions we have (and there are lots!) are:

– Sport (climbing walls, axe throwing, trampoline park, mini-golf or regular!)

– Craft & art (paint nights, planting workshops)

– Other things like escape rooms, virtual reality, board game cafe!

Idea 6 – Passes

We might be splitting hairs from tickets vs. passes vs. activities, but there are so many to showcase and suggest! Here are some of our favourites:

– Recreation passes (City of Lethbridge has passes for swimming and skating, Castle Mountain WOW card)

– Passes for The SAAG, Galt Museum, or Fort Whoop Up

– Park Pass for all national parks in Canada!

Idea 7 – Memberships and Subscriptions

If magazine subscription was the first thing that came to your mind, then we have news for you: there are so many options! Subscriptions and memberships are the gift that keeps on giving (every month or so!) Here are some of our best suggestions:

– Streaming subscriptions (Spotify, Netflix, Disney+, Crave, Apple Music)

– Gym memberships (traditional gyms, bootcamps, yoga)

– Meal box subscriptions (Mocha Local, HelloFresh, GoodFood – plus there are always a ton of coupons online to help cut the cost down!)

Idea 8 – Classes

Lifelong learning is a great gift! Lots of unique and “who would’ve thought” type of classes in Lethbridge and the surrounding area that would make great gift ideas. Some of our suggestions:

– Art classes (pottery, wood working, painting, piano/music)

– Recreation classes (yoga, dance, spin, ski lessons)

– Other types like cooking classes, zero waste classes, or there are plenty of online master classes – like photography, graphic design, or languages.

Idea 9 – Donate

This suggestion isn’t for everyone, but donating on behalf of someone can be a very special gift in lieu of the traditional type. There are lots of worthy and deserving charities, non profit groups, and organizations in our community that would benefit a special gift like this! One suggestion we have is to do this together:

– Shop for groceries together and then bring them to the foodbank.

– Go thrifting for warm coats, socks, mitts and other winter wear and donate to shelters.

– Organize a donation drive for dog beds, litter boxes, food, toys and drop them off at an animal rescue society.

Idea 10 – Date Night / GNO

Plan a date night for your significant other, or a deserving couple! Or, skip multiple gifts and plan a fun night out with your girls/guys/gang. The ideas are endless for what you could do. Some of our suggestions are:

– Dinner or drinks out

– Movie night (tickets and popcorn on you!)

– Activities that require a big group (Escape rooms, murder mystery party, etc.)

Idea 11 – Gift Cards

Don’t think of this one as “the lazy persons gift”; think of it as giving the perfect gift, because after all, the recipient will use it on exactly what they want. This is also a good solution for office Secret Santa’s or gift swaps, especially if you’re not close with the person who will be receiving it – because who doesn’t need groceries or gas? Or doesn’t use up a Tims card?

Idea 12 – Services

Think about gifting that always busy person in your life a service this holiday, but even the not-so-busy person in your life would probably appreciate a day off from cleaning the bathrooms. Our suggestions are:

– Home cleaning service (for the day to day stuff like bathrooms or kitchen cleaning, or big jobs like wall and window washing, or a deep kitchen clean!)

– On going services (lawn and garden care, oil changes, snow shoveling)

– Special services (things that they might not usually splurge on like car detailing)

Idea 13 – A Luxury Service

If this fits within your budget, a luxury service could be a gift that nobody forgets! Some suggestions we have are:

– A night in a hotel (if you have kids, one with a waterslide could be an extra special treat)

– A night limo or classic car cruise

– Hot air balloon ride, dog sledding, weekend getaway in Waterton

Idea 14 – Plan a Get-together

You might be thinking, “how is this different than GNO from a few Idea 10?” We just think it’s a bit more of a casual gift experience then a traditional date night or GNO. Some of our ideas include:

– Organize a game night, day hike, or murder mystery party

– Organize a meal like a picnic or potluck

– Gift a coupon for a coffee date

Idea 15 – Give Your Time

Do you have a skill or expertise that you get asked a lot about? Why not gift them some time to help them with…

– Oil changes, car maintenance

– Childcare, or fur baby care (dog-sitting or dog walking)

– Help with electronics, cleaning, etc.

Our homes, garages, and planet keep on getting piled high and clogged up with stuff. Stuff that we don’t need and often don’t want. Birthdays and holidays can become one of those terrifying times when we feel obliged to buy a lot of things just to make sure that our friends and family know that we love them. But instead of buying them things, hopefully these ideas will inspire you to give the gift of a new experience, some free time, or the chance to discover a new passion. Let’s love each other while also taking care of our home.

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