One of the big online trends in minimalism is experiences over gifts. It goes that most people don’t need more stuff; the memories and knowledge gained from your experiences will last far longer than the typical gift-wrapped item. As it so happens, I think experiences as zero waste gifts is a pretty perfect fit.
What better way to reduce your impact on the planet than by eschewing presents bought just to fill up the space under the tree and instead giving thoughtful, experience-based gifts instead?
Experiences, just like physical gifts, are endlessly customizable based on who you’re buying for, so here are just a few ideas to get you started on these zero waste gifts.
Zero waste gifts: experiences
Passes to a local attraction: Scope out what cool spots are around and grab your friend a pass to something that aligns with their interests. A local museum, the zoo, a co-working space, a theater… The options are endless, almost all local attractions or organizations offer some sort of reward pass for those who use their services regularly!
Gift knowledge with Skillshare: if you know someone is interested in ongoing learning, or has some specific skills they want to develop, the gift of Skillshare classes might be a great option. Skillshare is an online learning community community with all sorts of artistic, technical, and entrepreneurial classes and workshops on offer.
National Parks Pass (USA): For just $80, your friend or family member could have access to all national parks for the whole year! States also offer a similar program to state parks, if that would be something more accessible. I personally think this is one of those sweet-spot gifts that many people think about, but never actually purchase for themselves.
Send them an e-gift cards: the old standby, giving a gift card. I think gift cards are underrated; as long as you know the basics of what someone likes, you’re able to get them a gift that’s from the heart but also not something they don’t explicitly want. The best part is that you can gift your friends or family an experience almost anywhere plus you can have the certificate delivered electronically so – boom – no waste!
Plant them a tree in a national forest: the Arbor Day Foundation allows you to plant a tree in someone’s honor. Right now it looks like you can plant a tree for someone in Chippewa National Forest (northern Minnesota). In fact, you can plant five trees for just $10. You’ll even have the option to print out a fancy certificate if you’d like to give the recipient something physical.
Give them a subscription: chances are you know what the gift giver loves – so give them the gift of enjoying it year-round. Let them listen to tunes on Spotify, or binge on Netflix, or edit their photos with Lightroom (yeah, that may be my wish). Some services may allow you to make a gift directly, but most require the purchase of a gift card which can then be redeemed. Not the sexiest gift, but is is practical (and probably highly welcome for those on a budget).
Shout out your ideas in the comments below: what experience gifts have you given or received? Do you prefer experiences over traditional physical gifts, or are you a hands-on sort?