17 Eco-friendly Gift Ideas: Give Digital this Holiday

the right eco-friendly gift is hard to come by

Well, now we’re getting frantic in our eco-friendly gift search, aren’t we?

Christmas is two weeks away, and you haven’t found the perfect gift for everyone yet.

Christmas is tough.  On the one hand, it’s so much fun to buy gifts for people.  On the other hand, it is so stressful to buy gifts for people!

My biggest problem is the guilt associated with buying things that might not get used.  I hate the idea of giving a tangible gift that someone might not want, that will end up taking up space in a closet somewhere, or eventually make its way to the landfill. 

So, I tend to struggle with birthdays, weddings, and Christmas.  Plus, I do fall into that camp that feels Christmas is a Hallmark Holiday, propping up capitalistic agendas.  But, at the same time, I love it so much.  Because, honestly, it is a lot of fun to give gifts.

I told you Christmas is tough for me.

And it’s even tougher to find the right gift, made ethically with eco-friendly practices. It’s just a lot easier to pop onto Amazon, look at the reviews, and grab something. There’s a lot of comparing, researching, and effort that goes into finding the perfect eco-friendly gift.

Digital gifts are one way to buy sustainably, because there is no shipping or tangible materials, and you can avoid plastic, which is the Grinch of all materials. So, I’ve compiled a list of digital finds that might reduce our addiction to tangible ‘stuff’ this year.  These are ideal for last minute, eco-friendly gifting ideas, and some lend a bit of gift-receiver autonomy, as well.

So, let’s get to it.  Afterall, who’s got time for reading when there is eco-friendly gift shopping to be done?!

eco-friendly digital gift ideas

Image by Oldmermaid from Pixabay

all about the food

Here are a few eco-friendly options for something we all need: Food.  And the thing about food is that it’s an essential, but it’s a pleasure too.  It isn’t like toilet paper, which most of us need, but have very little excitement for (unless we’ve run out). 

Virtual cooking classes: great for both those looking to expand their existing culinary skills, or those that aren’t working with many at the moment.  Good Housekeeping has a list of ten virtual cooking courses to choose from.  (Did you know you can get one on AirBnB?)

Gift card to local restaurant: We all know local restaurants are struggling right now.  This helps your small, local joints stay afloat, and feeds the giftee.  Win win!

Door Dash credits: Limited exposure to the outside world!  It’s perfect for this time, as people avoid crowded areas and restaurants.

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay

“are you not entertained?!”

And now, with COVID, we’re all probably watching a little more tv, or passing the time on our phones.  Hunkering down means we need some serious access to entertainment.

Audio books:  Perfect for someone with a commute, people that love books, or those that need an excuse to wear those new headphones.  Try Audible or Chirp.

Streaming service subscription: There’s Netflix, Disney +, Hulu, Apple, Amazon, etc.  Which one is your favorite?  Or maybe a better question is, which one doesn’t your gift receiver have yet?

iTunes credit: We could all use this.  Albums are expensive, but there are just some tunes we need immediate access to.  They’ll find a good way to use it, no doubt.

the self-gifting spirit

This is a great opportunity to steer someone away from unsustainable shopping.  Lead them to local shops or secondhand online possibilities.  Now they can buy something they actually want, with a commitment to sustainability and local shopping.

Gift card for local services or small business: encourage them to check out your favorite place that they haven’t seen yet.

Etsy gift card: they have some really unique items, and it supports small businesses all over the place.  And while you’re there, see if there are any other fun, sustainable gifts!

Secondhand online shopping gift card: try Rent the Runway or ThredUp

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

a little pampering

So often we overlook taking care of ourselves.  But it feels so good when we spend some time doing it.  Pamper them, their car, or their home, with these easy options!

Schedule a massage or spa appointment: we all could use a little pampering.

Car detailing: Head to your local place and see if you can get a gift card.  If not (like in my area) make one yourself and let them know you’ll pay for it when they schedule.

Home cleaning service: Be sure to let them know that you are trying to save them time, not sending them subtle commentary on the state of their home.  Best if this has come up in conversation before.

for the learners

There are a lot of specific courses or learning tools online.  Here are a just a couple but think of what your giftee is always tinkering with.  See if you can find a course specific for them.

Credits for online classes: perfect for someone that is looking to learn something new!  There are so many online courses now that you can learn practically anything online.  Try MasterClass, Coursera, Google Digital Garage, or Udemy.

Museum membership: Perfect if your gift receiver frequents the local exhibits.  Also fits if they’ve talked about it but haven’t done it yet!

Guitar Tabs annual membership: great for guitar players that want to learn some new songs.

Image by My pictures are CC0. When doing composings: from Pixabay

and for the everyday heroes

If your giftee is already ethically and sustainably minded, they might be thrilled if your gift supports a good cause.

WWF Adoption Set: They will receive a packet for their adoption, which includes stuffed animals.  This might also be a good one for children that have specific animals they love.

National Parks Pass: Who doesn’t want this?!  Access to all the national parks for a year.  Seems to me, with COVID, this is the most responsible travel we can do these days.

digital solutions for eco-friendly gift ideas

Hopefully these ideas have helped narrow down your gift giving focus, or sparked ideas for great sustainable or digital gifts.

As always, share below any other ideas you might have! I’d love to hear them.

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