A Zero Waste Christmas Gift Guide of Things That Last

zero waste christmas gift ideas for things that last

Wo0t! It’s that time of the year when zero waste and second-hand gifts are given, plastic usage is drastically reduced, and animals and the environment are given all the love in the world! 



Well, if it isn’t, then let’s make it. 

Here’s a Zero Waste Christmas Gift Guide – offering a few ways to get into an eco-friendly mood this festive (consumer-driven) season. Remember – the key is to reduce usage of new/fresh resources. Make things last as long as possible, buy second-hand as much as possible, and go around spreading love, affection and all those good feelings that somehow seem to be getting uncommon as we deal with an increasingly angry and impatient human populace.

Side note: Has our anger and impatience led to this damaged world? Or has the recent state of the environment indirectly led to more anger? Or are we caught in an endless cycle of anger, impatience and disregard for the environment – all feeding each other as we totter in despair at the edge of complete destruction?

Well. While we think about that, I thought I’d also reminisce a bit about how life used to be just a couple of decades ago. I’m no Luddite, but a simpler life was so easy before technology took over our mindspace. Possessions seemed more precious, time seemed to stretch on forever, and it didn’t seem shameful to take an evening off from doing your office work. The kind of stress and always-on mentality that technology has given rise to are everywhere. And while technology has certainly made many things much easier, it seems like human greed has led to us pushing ourselves further in order to reap more wealth from all the time saved and the possessions bought and the riches already acquired. Where is this going to lead? 

zero waste christmas gift ideas for things that last

We may want to slow down, but to simplify life in today’s world is not easy. Our boss wants a reply to that 8:30pm email immediately, and while we’d like to tell him to take a hike, we cannot. There are no other jobs available. Our landlady may hate our cat, but fighting with her every now and then about prevailing animal laws that allow cats in apartments is a part of our life. Frustration at the state of the world, fear about the direction it’s going in, and cynicism regarding any “good” news: these emotions are our best buddies now, keeping us company every night as we attempt to fall asleep.  

Given this situation, there isn’t much that would cheer us up. Except, maybe, good food? Adorable animals? Cute animal videos? And, if you’re like me, beautiful vintage items might also do the trick (sometimes).

Apart from that benefit (of cheering me up), vintage items can be wonderful for many reasons: they are eco-friendly, relatively inexpensive, and likely to have an interesting backstory that gives them that extra character. Plus, they can last for almost all your life!

So, when you’re hunting for gifts this season, do give these vintage items a consider. If you’re not on the lookout for gifts, just check out the sheer beauty of these items – and perhaps give the sellers and makers a quick note of encouragement. They would love that! 



Vintage Kitchen Items

Who remembers the smell of freshly baked bread from years ago, when bread was baked locally (if not in our own homes)? If you are into baking, or into food photography, or even like cutting vegetables on a bread board, check out this gorgeous bread board by ChaseVintage:

vintage bread board from Etsy for Christmas


How about a grand rouleau à pâtisserie en bois massif (a large French rolling pin made of solid wood)?:

vintage french rolling pin for christmas


Vintage Dansk Kobenstyle 4.5-inch Mini Dutch Oven, turquoise-enameled steel by TheLionsDenStudio:

Vintage dutch mini oven for Christmas


Something bigger? The vintage Dutch oven (orange-enameled steel), also by TheLionsDenStudio:

Vintage Dutch oven for Christmas


Vintage Wagner Ware Sidney Ohio No. 8 cast iron skillet by BrassOwlGoods:

Vintage Wagner Ware Sidney Ohio No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet from Etsy for Christmas


Vintage Gorham Sterling Silver 5 Teaspoons by rustyvintage:

Vintage Gorham Sterling Silver 5 Teaspoons from Etsy for Christmas


Antique Books

If you love books – real books, that smell and feel like pure magic – you should consider these treasures:

A limited-edition antique book of Elizabethan poetry about fairy Queen Mab. Nymphidia by Michael Drayton by TheBohemianBookstore:

Nymphidia limited edition antique book

In the seller’s words: There were only ever 250 copies made of this book. This book was printed on handmade paper and is number 45 of a limited, numbered print run of 250 books. It is blue cloth covered boards with gilt detail and white spine. The pages are crisp and clear with some rubbing to corners. In great condition for a 100 year old! The book celebrates its centenary this year. 


The first edition of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Scribner’s 1980 Limited Edition of 3000 for Scribner’s Bookstore Grand Opening). Sold by RareBookBuy: 

First Edition of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald First Edition of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


One of my favorite books! Vintage copy of Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens from the 1800s. Sold by TheGildedLionBooks:

Vintage copy of Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens from the 1800s

Description by the seller: This is a gorgeous antique copy of Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. This book is ornate and textured, with a deep burgundy cover, and black & gold accents. There are illustrations throughout the book that fit the style of Dickens perfectly. The end papers feature an intricate floral design. This is a wonderful addition to any Charles Dickens collection.



Vintage Stationery Items

Have you tried writing with a fountain pen? Also known as an ink pen? Well, not only are the pens zero waste (no plastic!), but they work wonders on your handwriting. I use a fountain pen to write with. The ink is messy, yes, but you get used to filling it in without making a mess.

I got mine many, many years ago, and retrieved it out of storage last year to begin using again – I was so fed up with buying pens over and over, and this was before I even realized the extent of the plastic waste problem. 

If you plan to get a fountain pen, browse through the options on Etsy first, like these ones:

The Swan leverless model L60 sold by FountainPenEmporium:

Swan leverless model L60 fountain pen vintage 

Description by seller: A 1920s robust size Swan leverless model L60 by the Mabie Todd company having the larger size 6 medium point nib. Made in black vulcanite and finished with a lightly chased pattern, complete with the original Swan case.


If you’re into calligraphy – or know someone who is – check out this dip pen and the nibs below. Both sold by VintageCuriosityShop.

Wooden dip pen handle with vintage nib:

Wooden dip pen handle with vintage nib from Etsy


Brass gilt nibs:

Beautiful brass gilt nibs for dip pen - from Etsy

Description by seller: English nib manufacturer C. Brandauers Co. Ltd. in Birmingham, the dip pen nibs are marked with a distinctive J, listing is for 6 unused nibs.



Vintage Storage & Organization

How much would you pay for quirky but useful vintage items such as these? You’d probably end up paying much less than for brand new items, for sure.

Vintage clothes hangers circa 1960s:

Vintage clothes hanger from Etsy


Vintage knitting needles case:

Vintage knitting needles case from Etsy


Vintage laundry bag:

Vintage laundry bag from Etsy


Vintage handmade basket:

Vintage handmade basket from Etsy


Midcentury Fifties laundry basket stool chest of rattan with lid:

Midcentury Fifties Laundry basket stool chest of rattan with lid


Our hunger for novelty and that shiny new object that we can fawn over has quite nearly already destroyed our world. We really need to change the way we live – and for that we need to change the way we think about things. Old isn’t bad. New isn’t necessarily better. Expensive isn’t ideal. And cheap isn’t free of suffering.

This isn’t really a question of depriving ourselves of shiny new things just for the sake of it. This is about enjoying the beautiful things that already exist in this world, and getting the maximum usage out of them. It’s about respecting each other, and therefore respecting others’ time and effort. 

It’s about being gentle on the planet, and limiting out consumption as much as possible.


Also read these related posts:

CLASSY Christmas Gifts for the Environmentally Conscious

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy Secondhand Clothes

Why Minimalism is Great for the Environment

Documentaries to Watch, Part 1: Compulsive Consumption


Did you like this post? Do you have any ideas about how we can gift items that are less of a burden on the environment? Should we stop gifting altogether?

Please share this post! It would mean a lot to me. Thank you:)

The Zero Waste Christmas Gift Guide of Things That Last. Leave less of a footprint on the environment this Christmas, and buy vintage items if you must. #vintage #secondhand #treasure #kitchen #zerowaste #ecofriendly


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