A Guide To Giving Gifts Sustainably During The Holidays

Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, according to Stanford University Waste Reduction? Shopping bags, wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons, to the gifts given and the ones returned, contribute to millions and millions of trash entering landfills each week during the holidays. But here’s how you can reduce waste by sustainable gifting and still enjoy the Holidays. 

Sustainable wrapping paper  

Using eco-friendly wrapping paper not only saves the environment but also saves you money! Most of these alternatives can be found right in your home! And if not then you can find them at thrift stores like Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores and Donation Centers.  

Fabric and scarves 

A more flexible option is scarves or clothing because there’s a lot you can do with fabric and you have the option of seasonal fabric to choose from. It can also serve as an additional gift. Using pieces of extra fabric is also an option! You can put a shine on your package by using pinking shears to give the edges of the fabric a fun design, adding ribbons or twins to the closure, or adding baubles.  

Recycled paper and packaging 

Although not many people use maps or old newspapers as wrapping paper anymore, using newspapers and maps as wrapping paper will give your gift a beautiful vintage look and feel. You can add stickers, or fun ribbons to give it a more complex look. Using a chip bag is very creative, plus flipping the chip bag inside out reveals its shiny side. But don’t forget to wash the inside of the bag first! 

Jars and containers 

Do you have extra jars? Or a cookie tin lying around? This is one of the alternatives that are convenient if you’re not the best a wrapping. Plus, you can get creative and decorate it.   

 If you don’t have any of these alternatives at home or you simply ran out, the thrift stores like Arc’s Value Village are a great source to find cheap wrapping paper alternatives.  

Sustainable gift ideas 

 It is important to start by thinking about what the person might like or use rather than giving them something random that they won’t use, could return, or throw away. Discarded gifts contribute to the millions of waste that happens during the holidays. Buying secondhand is a great way to reduce that waste and get a sustainable gift. When you buy your gifts from a thrift store or other second-hand sellers, it lowers carbon footprints, aids in water preservation, and reduces chemical pollution. Plus, you’ll save money! So here are some gift ideas that you can buy second-hand or make.  

Create your advent calendar 

A great activity to do with family and count down the days to Christmas with family. If your family celebrates Hanukkah with a gift each night you can adapt this into an advent calendar. The advent calendar can also adapt for Kwanza as well.  

Snacks and consumables 

Edible and drinkable gifts are the gift that you can almost guarantee won’t be wasted. It could be as simple as chocolates from the store or hamade baked goods. Add an extra touch of personalization by including recipe cards, instructions, or labels. 


An Experience gift is great for people who are minimalists so instead of giving them something physical you can give them a massage or spa day, local workshop, or get creative and make a voucher to do the chores for a week.  


Books for the book lovers, no point in buying a brand-new book when there are thrift stores like Arc’s Value Village that have a huge variety of lightly used books. Not sure what they like to read? A gift card or shopping trip to your local independent bookstore or thrift shop is a great way to support local businesses.  

Clothes and accessories  

For the socialites, you can make or buy festive jewelry for friends, coworkers, and family.  Arc’s Value Village always has great Jewelry options, especially on eBay!  

Clothes have a huge impact on our environment. Buying second-hand clothing and buying clothing with eco-friendly fabric is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. . Since it’s always cold around the holidays the best gift ideas are socks, gloves, scarves sweaters, jackets, etc. If you like to sew or knit you can make mittens, hats or if you like a challenge a quilted blanket.  

Housewares and Decor 

Is someone on your list looking to upgrade their kitchen? You can find air-fryers, Keurig coffee machines, and trendier kitchen tech at thrift stores like Arc’s Value Village. If someone’s kitchen is fully stocked, you can find the perfect piece of art from someone’s home at a thrift store or local gallery.  Didn’t end up using that air-fryer or coffee machine you got last year? You can donate them to Arc’s Value Village! 

Overall, when it comes to sustainable gifting there are so many alternative ways to choose from that are affordable. So, enjoy this holiday and the many more to come with your family and friends while reducing waste and being eco-friendly!  

Check out our Arc’s Value Village stores in Bloomington, New Hope, and Richfield to find the perfect thrifted gift (or wrapping!)