17 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Writers This Christmas

If you’re like me, you may have already spent a lot of time this year searching “eco-friendly gifts for writers” or “eco-friendly gifts for book lovers.” If you found the available suggestions a little wanting, never fear. This year, I have a roundup of fun suggestions for writing- and book-themed gifts that are also mindful and eco-friendly.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is buying meaningful gifts for the loved ones in my life. But one of the most challenging parts of Christmas shopping is keeping it in line with my personal desire to make low-waste and eco-friendly choices.

Before we get down to the good stuff of the actual gift ideas, here are my top tips for responsible shopping and gifting over the holidays:

1. Buy Secondhand

These days, you can find all kinds of top-quality stuff without needing to buy new. Not only can you save a few bucks by shopping Goodwill, eBay, ThredUp, thrift stores, and vintage stores, you can also give new life to resources that are already in play. Almost half the gifts I chose for others this year were purchased secondhand. If you plan ahead, you can shop garage sales all year long to find unique items.

2. Shop Upcycled, Handmade, and DIY

Upcycled items are repurposed from already existing resources—so you get the best of both the new and used worlds. Mindfully-created handmade items from shops on Etsy and Amazon Handmade are usually more eco-friendly (but not always, so read the specs). Of course, if you make something yourself, you have total control over the materials you use and where you source them.

3. Choose Experiences Instead of Items

Experiences are hard to wrap but often some of the best gifts you can give. Paying someone’s way to a writer’s retreat, class, group, or conference can be a huge gift—no wrapping required.

4. Buy Digital

Although digital resources aren’t without their own footprint, they are usually a greener alternative. Consider buying e-books, audio books, courses, or digital software (like my Outlining Your Novel Workbook software).

5. Search for Eco-Friendly Materials and Ethical Companies

When buying new, try to find natural materials that are ethically sourced. Linen and wool are better than synthetic fibers and bamboo and cork are better than plastic.

6. Buy Things People Will Actually Use

Avoid gags and throwaway gifts that only last the day (I admit I’ve been terrible about this in the past). Try to be realistic about whether or not the recipient will actually use what you’re giving them. Buy the best quality possible so they can reuse the gift for years to come rather than needing to replace it shortly down the line. Most of the gifts I’m going to suggest are intended to be fun and useful but only for the right person. Not everyone will need or want these things. (It’s worthwhile to apply this criteria to your own wish lists as well. Sure, a new mug or tote is always fun. But if you already own useful editions of these things, why not stick with them until they’ve worn out their usefulness?)

7. Watch the Wrapping

I love wrapping paper. It’s one of the prettiest parts of Christmas decoration. I have rolls of it left in my own closet that I’m trying to use up. But it’s worth thinking about more sustainable ways to package gifts than in paper that will be admired for a month (at most) and then trashed.

Last month, I shared my thoughts on creating a zero-waste office. Pretty much all the products I suggested in that post would make great gifts or stocking stuffers for the fellow writers in your life. (These highlighter pencils were a particularly popular suggestion.)

17 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Writers

1. Plantable Graphite Pencils With Inspirational Quotes

2. Organic Cotton Book Tote (Featuring The Little Prince)

Green Gifter Tip: The average plastic shopping bag is used for something like 15 minutes before spending the rest of its (very long) life in the landfill. Give your writer friends (or yourself) the gift of an endlessly reusable shopping bag or book tote that shows off a unique literary style!

3. Organic Cotton Canvas Tote Bag,”Write (Blank), Edit (Blank)”

4. Walnut Wood Book Page Holder

5. Upcycled Book Letter Art

6. Cotton Tea Towel – “Write Your Own Story”

Eco-Gifter Tip: Most kitchen clean-up can be executed just as easily with a reusable towel as with a trashable paper towel. Plus, it can double as statement-making decor.

7. Edgar Allan Poe Lunchbox

Green Gifter Tip: Replace paper lunch bags with a sassy retro lunchbox. (Or find a stainless steel tiffin that can double as a take-out container.)

8. Upcycled Unicorn Anatomy Poster

9. Books Travel Mug

Green Gifter Tip: Bring Your Own Cup (BYOC—it’s a thing!) to the coffee shop instead of drinking from a throwaway cup. Check with your local coffee shop; some, like Starbucks, offer discounts when you BYOC.

10. Book Lover Ceramic Travel Mug

11. Recycled Decomposition Notebook

Green Gifter Tip: Buying recycled paper when possible is an easy way to one-up your personal sustainability game.

12. Upcycled Spoon Bookmark – “Fell Asleep Here”

13. Upcycled Typewriter Key Earrings

14. Cotton Typing Gloves – “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

15. Cotton Typewriter Napkins

Green Gifter Tip: Cotton napkins do the job just as well as paper napkins—and they can be reused endlessly.

16. Stainless Steel Water Bottle – The Great Gatsby

Green Gifter Tip: If you’re wanting to switch over to a more sustainable lifestyle, this is probably the top (and easiest) step. Instead of drinking bottled water, bring your own. You can filter it easily by dropping in a few charcoal filters.

17. Upcycled Movie Reel Clock

Bonus Christmas Gifts for Writers: Writing Books

Don’t forget about books! Secondhand books and e-books are always eco-friendly choices, and even brand-new books have the advantage of being made from good ol’ biodegradable and recyclable paper.

For ideas, you can check out my full list of Recommended Reading for Writers, as well as my own series of writing books below. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What eco-friendly gifts for writers have you added to your Christmas list? Tell me in the comments!

Sign Up Today

hwba sidebar pic

Sign up to receive K.M. Weiland’s e-letter and receive her free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life.

About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. Eric Troyer says

    Great ideas, Katie. When our kids were young and at home we used to do a variation of #3 (experiences). We would make coupons of things we would do with the kids, like go to a movie, go sledding, play a game. Then the kids could use those throughout the year. Of course, those times ended up being a gift for all involved.

  2. How about gloves for writers whose fingers and hands get cold? Is there such a thing?

  3. Wow! I did not know that BYOC was a thing! I love my ceramic mugs with silicon lids, although I would be a *little* nervous about breakage. Have you brought your own cup before?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      My awesome local coffee shop gives you $.50 off every drink when you purchase one of their stainless steel travel mugs. I use it all the time when I’m out, even at other coffee shops.

  4. Sheela Chattopadhyay says

    An older style gift I gave myself was a good quality fountain pen with the proper ink and ink converter so it could be infinitely reused in an effort to stop buying more disposable pens. Plus, fountain pens are a bit better on the hand, so it’s a win all around.

  5. So many wonderful ideas! Thanks for the great tips!

  6. Alexa Santi says

    One way to avoid wrapping paper (especially with multiple gifts) is to put them in a reusable shopping bag (which is also a gift in itself). This is especially good here in California where most grocery stores have gone over to charging 10 cents per bag, so everyone always needs another reusable bag. World Market (Cost Plus) has some really cute ones that stuff down into a small size, like these:

    https://tinyurl.com/sddrcxp

  7. Great and ‘novel’ ideas

  8. Emily Stephan says

    I’ve seen some people use fabric wrapping as an alternative to throw away paper. It can look very beautiful and be re-used!

  9. David Snyder says

    Hey Katie,

    These are great suggestions, but I was wondering if we could add a few more male-friendly ones.

    How about a refurbished snowmobile that was only used by some Nebraska kids for a few seasons, then outfitted with some nifty Helping Writers Become Authors mudflaps made out of reclaimed materials, and a free tank of gas?

    Or maybe a wicked cool old refurbished Underwood typewriter, a bottle of single malt scotch, and an amazing signed copy of Structuring Your Novel from Ms. Weiland herself?

    Just thinking out loud here. Happy Holidays!

  10. Thanks for the article! Wonderful recommendations.

Trackbacks

  1. […] As the holidays barrel towards us, gift-giving is on people’s minds. Sandra Beckwith has 29 gifts authors and writers will love, Aycia W. Morales suggests 19 unique gifts for writers and readers, and K.M. Weiland lists 17 eco-friendly gifts for writers this Christmas. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.