A Zero Waste Christmas – with the smile and stressless

Christmas is coming and you are still looking for gift ideas for your loved ones?

Christmas and its stressful shopping race for your family, the friends you will meet on holidays, the neighbors you like, the kids teachers, the co-workers… Stop! Help!

In average, the Swiss will spend 275CHF this year to buy gifts for Christmas (RTS). But does it still make any sense? Did we lose control?

No panic!

We can apply the zero waste rules to our Christmas routine and change our approach by explaining to our loved ones that the material gifts rush will not happen this year, gently, softly, without hurting their feelings.

We can teach them that material gifts are not the only way. We may offer experiences instead and switch from «having» or «possessing» to «be» or «live».

So why not give experiences instead of stuff this year? Instead of unnecessary products, you could spend time with your loved ones. With not buying products, you save resources and give a statement about living a sustainable Zero Waste life. Furthermore, you strengthen your social relationships with others.


For instance, you can go have a hot wine with your co-workers (instead of a gift that is often let’s say it, not very well liked!) and spend a nice moment with them. You can also think to give a nice coffee break with a pastry and some time to spend together and talk. Finally, why not giving a tote bag that you have sewn yourself or homemade biscuits in a fabric bag?

Another important point here is to explain to the people who will want to offer you a gift about your zero waste lifestyle and that you would enjoy an experience or time more than an object!

Indeed, it is better to explain in advance, but if this is too late, you still can use the opportunity to explain while you offer your experiences-gifts to them on Christmas-eve: «I am giving you a manicure and a lovely afternoon spent together between girls, my dear friend Charlotte! We will spend a lovely time together and it won’t add up useless things on your cabinet».

Ideas for experiences

Gifting experiences is simpler than you think. You can choose very simple activities such as have dinner together, cook together, attend a concert together, enjoy a movie-night, enjoy playing board games, go on a hike together, explore a new city, and so on. We are sure, you can think of other awesome activities you can enjoy with your family and friends!

And if you don’t have ideas, ZeroWaste Switzerland is suggesting the followings:

  • Going to the cinema
  • An annual pass to the museum
  • A night at the lasergame
  • A night in a spa hotel
  • A diner in a new restaurant
  • Going out to eat a giant ice cream
  • Ice-skating
  • A night in a castle
  • Going to the mountains and spend the night in a hut
  • Trampolining
  • An outing to the climbing center
  • A visit in the scientific museum
  • A night camping in the wild nature
  • Fruits picking in nature
  • An outing by a lake to experiment: paddle, kayak,windsurf, kitesurf
  • A family brunch
  • A fondue in an igloo
  • A dog sled ride in the mountains
  • An introduction to paragliding
  • A baptism of diving in the next seaside holiday
  • a cooking, dancing or horse-riding class

How to “wrap an experience“ ?

A wonderful way of giving a “voucher” for an experience, is through the Website http://www.zeit-statt-zeug.de/en/ . Either choose a template or create one yourself. The voucher will then be sent to the giftee by e-mail.

You can also buy a nice postcard and create a personal voucher. We suggest to favour local artists and cards made from recycled paper. E.g. here a beautiful motif from the Bernese label Carrier Bird (available at Changemaker, Spitalgasse, Bern).

Or you may wish to craft/upcycle a card from material you already have!

Kids will love to create a crafted notebook including “actions-vouchers” for their parents including for example: I will clean my room, I will clean the dishes, I will help Mom with the groceries, I will bake a cake with Dad, etc.

Parents will also be happy to gather fun activities to do with the kids including for example: hiking, tennis playing, zoo or botanical garden visits, etc. in a crafted notebook.

Zeit Statt Zeug

Zeit Statt Zeug

Carrier Bird

Still not inspired?