10 gift ideas that won’t cost the earth


Australians accumulate millions of unwanted gifts each festive season – from cheap, joke gifts to another pair of socks from that one unimaginative family member.

Many of these go straight to landfill within weeks. So to help set a better, greener pace with your gift giving, we’ve compiled a few ideas to get you started:

1. For the explorer

The adventurer in your life might just be looking for any excuse to get out and see the world. Gifting them an annual pass to their state’s national parks, or nature park will give them the freedom to explore all year around.

You could also consider topping up their public transport card and compiling a fun itinerary of bush walks, coastal strolls or interesting places they could visit through public transport in their area.

2. For the foodie

There might be a restaurant your foodie friend has been eying off for a while but is a little out of their price range. Consider purchasing a voucher or organising a night to eat out together, on you.

If that’s not within your budget, perhaps you could cook them a nice meal at home, or search for a farmers’ market in your area to visit together (just remember to bring your reusable bags, cups and containers!).

3. For the bookworm

If you have a family member or pal who loves reading, consider buying an eBook voucher. Even if they don’t have an eBook, a lot of providers have mobile apps, and the prices are often better than print versions – meaning they can read more!

An online subscription to their favourite magazine or news outlet is another great way to support their reading habits.

4. For the fashion forward

Fast fashion is a heavyweight in the waste department, so why not get your fashionista friend a decent sewing kit or offer to have any tired items in their wardrobe mended?

Splashing out on that good-quality, ethically-produced item they’ve been coveting for a while would also put you in their good books and improve the odds that they’ll keep the item beyond the one fashion season.

5. For the party-goer

If you have a friend that appreciates a good glass of wine or a cool craft beer, why not look into more sustainable alcoholic options?

Some of our GreenListers are doing awesome things in this space, including Young Henrys who can refill growler straight from their brewery to save on packaging, or Moores Hill Winery who are producing award winning wines powered entirely by the sun.

6. For the crafty

If your loved one appreciates getting their hands dirty or learning a new skill, why not look into booking them (and maybe yourself) into a crafty class? You’re bound to find something they’ll enjoy – from jewellery making to pickling, art classes to dance lessons.

7. For the handy

If you have a home improvement nut in your midst, why not look into something like a tool library membership. These are popping up around the country, and give members access to a huge range of tools and equipment that can be checked out for any project.

See The Fifth Estate’s ReLoved Buildings Special Report for more inspiration.

8. For the kind hearted

The gift for those who don’t want for anything, who have it all or who are passionate about a cause. Donating to an organisation on your loved one’s behalf can help spread the warm and fuzzies and help the most vulnerable people and parts of the planet.

Try the Climate Council of Australia, The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Beyond Blue, Australian Wildlife Conservancy or any other reputable charity that aligns with your values.

9. For the artsy

Getting your creative friend a gallery membership supports the arts and gives them access to exhibits all year around.

If an annual pass isn’t within your budget, you could purchase tickets to a single exhibit or else look around for free installations or events to write into an art-crawl itinerary for you to both enjoy.

10. For the mover

Renew your friend’s gym membership, sign your sibling and yourself up to a kickboxing class, or purchase a multi-pass to the local swimming pool for your mum.

There are loads of ideas to help your friends and family stay active that they might not have considered for themselves but could help kickstart those New Years resolutions!