Sustainable Gifts: 10 Ideas 🌱

Birthdays and Christmas are amazing. That’s for sure.
But if you’re are just a bit like me, inspiration for gifts is always welcome 😅

For you I’m digging up memories: What wonderful presents crossed my way in the last years?
My personal top ten: Sustainable!  🌍

1. Hiking together

Did you know that experiences are a much better boost for happiness than things? That’s scientifically proven.  Even more so if you’re experiencing together.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive spa weekend. Almost ten years ago I received a „Wilhelm Tell hike“ on the shores of lake Lucerne as a gift. And I still remember it today. The clear light, the green meadows 🌄, the incredibly beautiful lake.

Fortunately Switzerland is full of wonderful places. Select one, find a beautiful picture and print a voucher for a hiking day together. I’m sure you will both really look forward to it!

Together in nature

On the day of the hike you simply bring a delicious picknick and you know the way. Who needs more for a bunch of unforgettable memories?

2. DIY for many people

Sometimes you want to give the same present to a lot of people – but it should nonetheless have a personal touch. Instead of adapting the present to the presentee you can add that touch by making a DIY present.

That’s what we did last Christmas for our partners like the integration workshop EPI who are sending out our coffee parcels. We wanted to thank all the people who help us all year round – and everyone should get the same present.

I filled more than 30 bottles with olive oil flavored with herbs from our garden. Sounds like a lot of work – but actually it is also a lot of fun to work with products that smell so good.  One of the presentees had tears in her eyes. So the work was in any case worth it. If you need a recipe (it’s really very simple) just click on the picture on the right.

This year we already had a nice idea for our partners – but I won’t tell you now what it is 😉

Geschenkset Kaffee mit French Press

3. Gift with a story

I have to admit: I don’t always have the time to make presents myself 🙈.
If you still want to give a present that is not run-of-the-mill, a gift with a story is a good choice. Because you can tell the story while handing over the gift – and the presentee will directly see: you really gave thought to it.

What about directly traded forest coffee from Ethiopia that supports one child of the coffee farmers per package? 😊

No less than 91 percent love to drink coffee! That’s much better than the standard bottle of red wine as a gift …

Our coffee presents always include a nice little booklet that tells the journey of our coffee from the forest to the cups … Just in case you have to look it up before telling the story 😉

4. Adopt a tree

One of the most joyfull presents that I ever got is the adoption of the tree in front of our house. I think my husband doesn’t even know it: Every morning I’m looking out of the window to savour the view on our little flower garden.

Living plants as a sustainable gift

Actually I’m taking care of the green space around the tree – not of the tree itself: we have a colorful mixture of flowers that attract bees almost all year round. Thanks to several bee-friendly seed packages we always discover new and surprising flowers. And fortunately it is not a lot of work!

The city of Basel offers „tree adoptions“ for free (the gift could be flowers to plant). Unfortunately not every city in Switzerland has such an amazing offer. But maybe you find another solution: Zurich has a guerilla gardening movement. Maybe it doesn’t really need more than some „seedbombs“ or plants and a voucher for a day on which you plant, water and enjoy together 🙂 a really nice zero-waste present!

5. Beautiful & simple

Last year my nine-year-old (!) nephew suddenly outdid himself. From one year to the next, the (of course super cute) homemade children’s presents had become real design objects. DIY concrete, balloons and acrylic paint – that’s all he needed. And who still has plaster at home: The lanterns can also be made with plaster. Another option is to get the lantern “ingredients”, print out the “recipe” and instead of giving the thing as a gift, give it as an experience: making lanterns together. This also makes sense because learning new things makes happy!

6. Learning new things makes happy

And because that is so, courses are also a very nice sustainable zero waste gift. Of course this can be done offline. But after the online boom during the Corona lockdown, there are now thousands of inspiring online courses. A new language, a course on history, … The choice is rather too big than too small.

Course as sustainable gift

An example: I’ve been flirting with the online course “Introduction to Children’s Illustration” for several months now. I have a story that I tell my children to put them to sleep. I would like to write it down and illustrate it. As soon as I really start to work on the project, I will definitely be inspired by this course. And maybe one of the readers who knows me personally will understand the broad hint 😉

7. Trees for a healthy planet

What do you give to someone who already has everything? I asked myself this question when my mother-in-law asked me for my last birthday what I would like to have. Because quite honestly: I have everything I need.

But one thing I really wish for is that we get climate change under control and that my children can live on a healthy planet! According to the ETH, trees can help us do this. That’s why I simply wished for trees. This brings me a little closer to my goal of donating 1000 trees in 2020. I am doing this with the youth organization Plant for the Planet, with which we also compensate the CO2 footprint of our coffee. Here you can choose the project and the country where the trees will be planted.

tree

8. Travel

If you want to give something big as a present, you can of course realize the “experiences instead of things” idea with an unforgettable trip. People keep asking us whether they can invite their friends and family to our coffee trip. Of course they can! And a little tip: Again, it’s best if you do it together with the person you’re giving the gift to. We were in Ethiopia for the first time on our honeymoon trip – a joint gift from our wedding guests. A literally life-changing gift: we then gave up our jobs and founded our own social coffee company. And as far as sustainability is concerned: Although Ethiopia is usually reached by plane, we have committed ourselves to compensate for the entire footprint of all travelers.

9. Home-grown plant

Have you ever given a home-grown plant to a loved one? Think about it: What does the presentee really like? Tomatoes, coffee, ginger, mango … yes, even  a mango stone can become a little mango tree! You’ll find tons of detailed instructions online. I admit: You need a bit of time for this gift … and if nothing come out, you might find a plan b candidate in this list 😉

10. Zero Waste instead of wrapping paper

Selecting a sustainable gift is the one thing. But did you ever think of the tons of garbage that are produced on Christmas just to wrap gifts for a couple of hours? That’s why I decided last winter to wrap my gifts in cloth instead of paper. In Japan this kind of  reusable wrapping cloth has a long tradition, they’re called Furoshiki. But a simple cotton scarf cut into suitable pieces would also do it. Just check your wardrobe whether you find something that you’re not wearing anyway.

Normally I take the wrapping cloths with me after the present is handed over. But often the presentees like the idea so much that I give them the cloth as an additional gift.

That was my personal top ten. Feel free to share 😀

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