About this article
Is there anything more beautiful than a Christmas tree with many colorful presents underneath? No! Most of us think like this: The average US customer spends 906 US dollars on Christmas gifts! Often these presents are laboriously packed in paper and plastic. A few months or weeks later, most of these things collect dust in the cellar. What Christmas gifts did you buy last year?
In today’s article, I do not give a broad range of background information. I concentrated on the collection of 8 useful ideas for Christmas gifts.
Since, at least, it is about Christmas presents and to me just strikes that I am writing this post quite late! This is due to the fact that I buy most of the presents during the last days before Christmas. Therefore, I am glad that I do not need to rush through the shopping malls on December the 24th to get hold of the last presents, because I make use of the following 8 ideas.
How to gift-wrap presents sustainably
In our family we often reuse wrapping paper of the last year. Whenever I need „new“ gift wrapping paper, I paint the back of old posters. Or I use large-size calendar photos or newsprint to create wrapping paper. There are so many creative possibilities! Besides, an alternative to paper which can look really great is the Furoshiki (Video): It is a Japanese cloth with which can be reused many times. Furoshikis look amazingly beautiful and give your Christmas present an even more festive touch!
How did I choose the following Top 7 presents?
The aim of these presents is to fulfill wishes of the people who receive them! True to this motto I compiled the following compact gift list. The gift ideas are suited for all people whom you would like to make a present. It doesn’t matter how (un)sustainable they think and act, everyone will love these presents!
1.Experience gift voucher
This kind of gift certificate can have many different faces: You can give someone a voucher for a concert, a film at the cinema, a sport class…
It is incredibly versatile and you can create it fast. You must not even buy a voucher! If you want to share your time with the recipient of the gift voucher, simply write a beautiful Christmas card and enclose your voucher. Otherwise you can find a broad range of experience gift vouchers online and offline.
„Ski tour with fondue “, „One day of hiking at the Arlberg“, „movie night – you are free to choose film & location“ „Visit of a chocolate factory with coffee & cake“ are some presents which I have already made to or received from my friends and family. You can adapt the experience voucher perfectly to the recipient.
Costs: 0€ – … It really depends on the kind of activity. Therefore, this idea is suitable for every budget.
Waste: maximum a piece of paper (voucher) plus possible waste depending on the activity on the voucher
2. Gift voucher
This is the counterpart to the experience voucher. It is more suitable than an experience gift voucher if you do not know a person very well or if you do not have a proper idea what he/she wishes. Just buy the gift voucher in an appropriate store.
Sustainable variations of this presents are for example gift vouchers from „Bulk stores“or from sustainable online stores. You can use the gift voucher in a creative way as well: A special idea for fashion-conscious people would be a gift voucher for individual customized clothing.
Costs: 10€ – … 
Waste: maximum a piece of paper plus possible waste depending on the product
3. Alcoholic beveragesEmbed from Getty Images
Quite a lot of people in my culture (Austria) like alcoholic beverages. If you know that a person really enjoys a good glass of wine, it is an appropriate (and even sustainable!) present. I choose alcoholic beverages of high quality which I either tried myself or whereof I know that the person likes them. Concerning wines, I select regional and organic ones. Besides, I try to buy alcoholic beverages in bulk stores. So, I can even select a suitable bottle for whiskey, liqueur & Co. You can put the bottle in a Furoshiki (see present No 1) or in a reusable gift bag for wine.
Costs: 2,99€ – … (depending on quantity and kind of beverage)
Waste: When you have the possibility to buy the alcoholic beverages in a bulk store, you can totally avoid waste. However in other stores, most alcoholic beverages are packed in disposable glass bottles. Unfortunately, there is often further waste when you buy spirit drinks in the supermarket: Just recently I noticed that a bottle of coconut liquor was wrapped completely with tight plastic foil!
In my opinion, money is not an uncreative present at all: You give „economic votes“to your recipient when you give money as a present (do not forget to tell the person about this article 😉 ). Seen from this angle, money as a mean of economic vote is a valuable present in many senses.
Money is a simple idea, especially when you do not have a lot of time.
To make money more beautiful as a gift, I recommend the creative folding of banknotes as I have already seen it very often as a present on marriages. Click on the reference note for concrete ideas to fold banknotes as a Christmas present.
Waste: Nothing. Depending on how the money is used.
If you liked to give a special pleasure to a friend fond of traveling, this is the right choice. Of course, you do not have to finance a whole journey: With travel gift vouchers of the travel agency, online suppliers (or even self-made vouchers) you can easily show that you really thought about the interests of the person being gifted. And you decide on the amount of money you want to spend!
Costs: 50€ -…
Waste: Only the piece of paper where the voucher was written on.
6. Home-made Christmas cookies
Home-made Christmas cookies are a little present but many people are fond of it! Therefore, I usually give Christmas cookies away as a present for colleagues or acquaintances. I pack the cookies either in a jam jar and sometimes I decorate the lid e.g. with pictures from cookies which I cut out of an old magazine. I fasten the pictures with a rubber band so it looks like a nice jam made by granny. Another option is to put the cookies into a beautiful cookie jar. In any case my friend/colleague/acquaintance does not only receive tasty cookies but also a beautiful and reusable packaging.
You do not have homemade cookies at home? Just use this recipes (LINK) and bake nice cookies in less than one hour!
Costs: 5€-30€ (with ingredients and depending on the packaging: a jam jar is cheaper than a cookie tin and you can reuse old jam jars you already have at home)
7.Do-it-yourself photo album or cookbookEmbed from Getty Images
I still remember the moment when I held my own DIY photo book in my hands! I selected all the photos (Topic: Our holidays in Austria), put them together in an online photo album creator and got the album at the photo shop. Hence, such a book is also suitable as a Christmas present! When you have a good subject and enough photos in a sound quality, such a book gives a lot of pleasure to you as well as to the gifted person. When you do not want to design the book online, just print out the photos and stick them into an old-school photo book!
This year I also plan to give a cookbook with „favorite recipes “away as a present. Throughout the year, I collected ideas for recipes which the gift recipient loves. Considering topics like „my favorite recipes “, „sweet delights “, „seasonal recipes “you can compile amazingly beautiful recipes in analog or digital form.
Costs: 10€ – 60€
Waste: Ideally there is no waste and that is why the choice of the right topics is important! Depending on the taste of the person you could also make an E-Book instead of a book made from paper.
8.Less is more
Since 2017, Christmas is one of the most important celebrations in the Christianity. And in this context, we should also see the idea of “exchanging presents”. Christmas is not the celebration of consumption and buying more and more things!
The pre-Christmas period, the 24th of December and the Christmas holidays are primarily there to celebrate Christmas! Thereto I want to pass time with my family and friends, sing Christmas songs and relax after a year full of exciting experiences.
Therefore, there is no need to stress yourself with gift lists and shopping tours! When you incorporate your knowledge about the persons passions and preferences into the Christmas gift, you will make a good choice!
And that is the end of my Top 8 Christmas gift ideas. I hope that I could help you with these ideas and I welcome you to complement the list with your own ideas!
In that sense, I wish you a merry Christmas!
Sources, references and links
 When products cost less in monetary terms, you usually need to invest more time
 In Austria, there is a business chain which sells alcoholic beverages, vinegar and oil „vom Fass“.
 This holds true equally for the gift voucher. However it gives only a limited „economic vote“. A part of the economical vote has already been done by the giver oft he gift voucher.