Did you see the recent New York Times article about people making sustainable choices for gift giving this holiday season? A recent study has shown that people are becoming more concerned with “responsible retail,” prioritizing purchasing items that align with their values over flashy, expensive gifts. As environmental issues become increasingly prominent, more people are buying secondhand items and experiences as gifts rather than new items that produce more waste. Additionally, consumers are paying more attention to sustainably sourced products and items made out of recycled materials.

This suggests that the stigma of secondhand items as being of lower quality is diminishing. Instead, buying secondhand is seen as a way to find quirky, cool, or vintage items that can’t be found in large retail stores.

If you want to participate in this trend of sustainable gift giving, here are some more ideas!

  1. Buy Secondhand

Join the trend! Consider shopping at secondhand stores to find a gift that’s both affordable and reduces waste. Many secondhand items are in good or even like-new condition, so you don’t have to sacrifice quality to keep your gift-giving sustainable. You can also often find out of the ordinary items at secondhand stores that will show you put in the extra thought.

If you have a home remodeler or DIY enthusiast in your life, check out EcoBuilding Bargains! As the largest building materials reuse store in New England, we have a wide range of products to help you upcycle and remodel sustainably. Check out the  EcoBuilding Bargains eBay page to purchase secondhand from the comfort of your home.

  1. Shop Local

When possible, try shopping local. This not only supports the local economy, but also ensures that there’s a lower carbon footprint to your gift. Additionally, small businesses donate 250% more than large businesses to community causes, allowing your money to continue supporting the local community.

  1. Make Something

Whether you’re on a tight budget or just like making things, homemade gifts are always special. It shows that you put a lot of thought and care into crafting your gift. Whether it’s baking, carving, or paper-making, make it with love!

Check out our blog for creative reuse ideas to upcycle objects into sustainable gifts!

  1. Zero Waste

Give the gift of Zero Waste this holiday season! Consider purchasing an item that will help reduce waste in someone’s life. A reusable water bottle, reusable utensils, or reusable straw are all great options to start reducing the amount of single-use plastic in your loved one’s life and begin them on their Zero Waste journey.

  1. Experiences

If you don’t want to buy an item, think about giving an experience instead. Whether it’s a trip to a new location, a class, or a concert, think about ways you can give memories rather than material things. While experiences may reduce waste, it’s important to remember that these experiences aren’t always waste free. Try minimizing travel and using public transportation to get to your destination. Check out our blog for more tips on keeping your holiday travel green.


While you’re keeping your holiday shopping sustainable, don’t forget about the wrapping! Check out our recent Mass Appeal segment on sustainable gift wrapping ideas and our blog on upcycling your old magazines into fun bows for your presents.

Visit our blog for more tips on going green this holiday season!