on Sep 30, 19

DIY gifts with more joy and less waste

By Janisha Nathu

Christmas is coming rapidly around the corner, waiting to fill our houses with the sounds of joy and laughter. Before we hit the Christmas frenzy, there’s usually an event of some kind that requires a gift to be given. Whether it’s a Christmas party, a birthday or a house-warming, to ensure less plastic and waste follows, here are some easy sustainable DIY gift ideas that come straight from the heart.

Baking jar

A classic that can’t go wrong. Use any empty jar you have lying around the house and fill it with the dry ingredients that make a sweet or savoury treat of your choice. Gift it with a tag stating what wet ingredients are needed and how long to bake it for.

Some classic baking jars you can give include:

  • Chocolate brownies
  • Cookies
  • Banana bread

Home baking

If you don’t have a jar handy, make the baking instead! You can never go wrong with food because almost everyone loves to snack on cookies or brownie bites every now and then (or to share them around!). Plus, it’s a quick, easy and low waste gift that’s fun to make with the kids.

Here are some delicious-sounding recipes:

Upcycled cutlery travel kit

Who needs plastic cutlery when you have your own reusable set on the go? You can easily make this with any piece of fabric, such as an old towel or a pillow case. Simply sew lines into the material to make little pockets for each piece of cutlery. An awesome no-waste gift perfect for the person who’s always on the go.

Here are a couple links on how to make them:

Tote bag

Tote bags are essential and super versatile — they can come in handy as grocery bags or for general everyday use. They are super easy to make and can be used over and over again, making them the perfect gift made from up-cycled fabrics.

Here are a couple of easy “how to” links:

Cardboard baskets

Almost all of us have at least one cardboard box lying around the house or the office. Why not turn it into a cute basket for someone to actually use? It’s super simple and a great way to repurpose the cardboard. Use an old bed sheet or shirt for the inner lining and rope or a different patterned fabric around the outside. Such a simple gift that takes minimal effort, can be fun to make, and saves money on materials.

Here are some tutorials:


The perfect minimal housewarming gift that’s fun to create and personalise. You can find some of these materials in your own garden, which cuts your costs and your material-hunting time in half. Not only is it quick to construct, but it’s also a fun one for the kids to get involved in.

Here are some easy tutorials:

Homemade scented candles

There’s nothing cosier than lighting a scented candle and snuggling under a blanket with a book, or a movie playing on the TV. Making a candle is simple and leaves almost no waste. You can easily cut costs by repurposing an old jam jar, mason jar or tea cup as the candle base, and once it’s finished burning, it can be reused to make another candle.

Here are some easy ways to make your own scented candles:

Face & body scrubs

Face and body scrubs can be a great addition to the skin care routine with many benefits, making them perfect gifts! Not only does it leave the skin feeling soft and hydrated, but it helps to remove dead skin and blemishes. Face and body scrubs are super quick and easy to make and often include ingredients that are already around the house.

Here are some simple methods to making body scrubs:

Note that when it comes to homemade skincare, it is always important to patch test before using the product to ensure no reaction occurs.

Personalised jigsaw puzzle

Personally, I love a good night in, putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It’s one of those timeless activities that holds fond memories of wintery family nights. I once made a personalised one to gift to a friend by printing an image of the two of us onto a bit of paper, sticking it onto a piece of cardboard, then cutting it out into jigsaw pieces with a craft knife. This gift idea is a great interactive way to preserve a special moment in time, adding a little bit of a sentimental touch.

Here are some easy ways to make your own jigsaw puzzle:

An experience

The most obvious low waste gift you can give is the gift of an experience. The best gifts are those that you’ll remember and reflect on fondly, and these don’t necessarily have to be high in cost, just high in time and attention.

Here are some experiences that you can gift:

  • A picnic on the beach or at a park
  • Movie tickets
  • Bowling
  • Wine tasting
  • A day trip somewhere new
  • A dinner out

And of course, our Good Gift Cards are a low-waste and sustainable way of spreading the gifting love and to show someone you care by giving them the gift of giving. You can purchase these from The Good Registry website here.

About The Good Registry

We are a social giving platform where anyone from small kids to big corporates can give the gift of giving with charitable donations instead of unwanted gifts.

We have created two simple ways to give and the gift of giving through our website:

  • Create your own Good Registry for a special event (e.g. a wedding or a birthday) and ask friends to donate to a charity you choose, instead of buying gifts.
  • Give Good Gift Cards instead of traditional gifts, to enable others to make donations to charities they care about.

You can hear from people who have used Good Registries and Good Gift Cards to give the joy of giving, on our inspirational Giving Wall.

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