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Food: The Ultimate Low Waste Holiday Gift!

Household waste increases by about 25% during the holiday season. Avoid contributing to that statistic and give a low-waste gift instead. Our favourite low-waste gift idea is always food! It’s cost effective, package-free and gives you an opportunity to show someone special that you really care. Whether you give someone their favourite snack, a secret family recipe, or a jar of your favourite holiday cookies, food is something they can enjoy right away and best of all—won’t end up in a landfill. 

Here are 5 different ways to give food this holiday season: 

1. Homemade Baking or Cooking

Giving food can be a fun way to share your holiday traditions with your friends and community. Bake your family's favourite cookie recipe, make your own peppermint bark or a signature spiced nut mix! Homemade jams or preserves are also a fantastic zero-waste option that also helps divert food waste.

My mom, sister and I usually make sugar cookies together during the holidays and decorate them with royal icing.  We often get carried away and make more than we can eat, so they make a perfect gift. Deliver them in a tin, jar or fabric wrap to avoid unnecessary packaging.

2. DIY Mixes 

If baking isn’t your thing, maybe it’s theirs? 

Add all the dry ingredients for a cookie recipe to a jar, or try out one of susgrainable’s pre-made cookie mixes. Pancake mix from The Acorn or bannock mix from Bangin’ Bannock are also a great gift option for them to make at home. You could even add a jar of maple syrup, jam or make your own cinnamon sugar mix to accompany it!

While on a budget in university, one of my friends invented a bunch of custom popcorn seasonings to give to her family—they were a big hit. DIY flavoured salts (rosemary salt, truffle salt, sriracha salt, smoked paprika salt) or custom spice rubs would also be a great idea.

A DIY lentil soup mix or bean chili mix is also a classic option that looks colourful all layered up in a mason jar. Put your own spin on it with a fun recipe card or unexpected flavour combination!

3. Something to Indulge In

Everyone has got that one friend who is a total chocolate fanatic, or is obsessed with pickles… or peanut butter…. or hot sauce! Whatever it is, they’ll love knowing that you remembered their favourite food and you’ll rest easy knowing it won’t go to waste!

Just in case you can’t think of anything specific, something sweet like candy, chocolate and fruit or something salty like roasted nuts and chips are usually a sure bet!

4. Something New to Try

Are they a foodie? Do they love trying new ingredients? Or maybe they are just impossible to buy for… give them a jar of something new to try!

Fun and special ingredients like crystallized ginger or coconut ribbons might get their creative juices flowing. Or how about a jar of mulling spice or dried kiwi and pineapple chips? One year I was given matcha powder and it has become one of my favourite hot drinks to enjoy!

5. Something Classic

Sometimes a classic pantry staple is just what they need. 

A selection of loose leaf teas or a jar of coffee are perfect gifts for cozy winter mornings and a simple jar of delicious maple syrup and honey will spruce up any breakfast table. 

A jar of antarctic salt and whole black peppercorns are a household staple for any home cook, and can be put to use right away in their kitchen. 

These no fuss gifts are just good classic ingredients that can fit seamlessly into anyone’s routine, and when given in a package-free container—they are the best zero-waste gifts of all!

- Claire

Claire Lester is the Marketing Manager at Jarr, she is a graphic designer, avid crocheter, and has a background in biology. Claire loves zero-waste DIY projects and recipes that keep you crafty in the kitchen. She lives in Mount Pleasant with her partner Alex and their grumpy cat Sylvia. 

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