Low Waste, Last Minute Gifts for the Outdoor Lover in Your Life


With my own gifts nicely wrapped under the tree, I think that I might be the furthest ahead I’ve ever been in Christmas shopping.  Perhaps it’s because my family decided months ago to only give handmade or second-hand gifts, so I had to start crafting and eyeing up thrift stores early on.

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My (almost) zero waste Christmas tree

But if you are like the usual me, you may be scrambling for last-minute gifts for your outdoors-loving friends and family.  It doesn’t help that no one in my family is trying to collect more stuff.  I watched a mini-documentary that’s been going around Facebook (admittedly not fact-checked) that said 60% of the world’s Christmas junk comes from a single city in China.  Much of the stuff that folks buy for Christmas is unnecessary stuff made overseas in questionable conditions, and plenty of it ends up in landfills within weeks.  With only a few days left, scrambling for the perfect present might mean you’re tempted to get something, how shall I say this, a pile of junk. 

Your Time

snow-1209835_1280.jpgTime is severely undervalued as a Christmas gift.  It is definitely something I have a short supply of, and I’m sure the same is true for many of my readers.  This Christmas, put aside your work and your gadgets and your various projects and head out for a hike with them.  If that’s not an option, just find something that you both love and make an afternoon of it.   For friends with kids, a day of babysitting while they go off on a kid-free adventure would be a huge hit.   

Your Old Gear

Not everyone wants your old junk, but if you have a friend who wants to start, say, backpacking, they might appreciate your backup sleeping pad.  If you go this route, make sure it’s in good condition, and it’s something they actually want.  If you’re afraid of seeming cheap, don’t.  A used gift that will get lots of use is a lot more valuable than an expensive piece of junk. If you are worried about it, talk to your friend about it. Tell them about how you are planning a low waste Christmas.    

Homemade Trail Snacks

muesli-2109098_1280.jpgAre you a baker?  Put your skills to use with homemade granola bars, high energy cookies, energy bars, or dehydrated meals. 

A Donation

Buy a donation in your loved one’s name that supports something that they value. TheOutdoorProject.com lists some suggestions here for American readers.  Canadians might be interested in the Power to Be, an organization that helps people with disabilities go on outdoor adventures.  This doesn’t need to be outdoor-related, of course. I often buy a Gift of Hope from Plan Canada for my family members.  Environmental organizations could be a good option too.

Something that They Specifically Asked For

It just might be too late for a wild goose chase.

It may be getting a little late for wild goose chases, but if they asked for something other than a wild goose, this is a good option.  Gear that will be appreciated and used for a hobby they love will not get relegated to the landfill or thrift store box next month.  Bonus points if you can find it in good condition second hand, but that might entail a wild goose chase.

An eBook, Audiobook, or Second Hand Book

If your loved one reads eBooks, then they are a great no-waste-option.  For those that still like fondling paper, hit up the second-hand bookstore or your own bookshelf.  There are always some gems there.  Books about people’s adventures, nature guides, and trail guides (as long as they’re somewhat new) could be great presents.  For your backpacking friend, keep an eye out for light paperbacks from their favourite author or genre.  Beat up ones are fine – it just means they won’t feel bad when it gets mangled in their packs.  

Did I miss anything?  Let me know in the comments what low waste gifts you’re giving this year.

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