25+ Non-Gift Ideas For An Anti-Consumerist Christmas

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Looking for some non-gift ideas this Christmas time? I’ve come up with a load of ideas for a more anti-consumerist Christmas, for both kids and adults.

Christmas can always easily turn into a consumerism fest, but as an alternative to the eco gift guides that I have shared on the blog, I also wanted to share some non-gift Christmas ideas.

I hadn’t really understood the excesses of Christmas until we had our daughter. Prior to having her, our Christmases were always quite modest. Our budgets for Christmas have always been small. We didn’t spend a great deal on each other – typically less than £50 – and for us Christmas Day had mostly been about spending it together. And the food – all the food!

Then we celebrated my daughter’s first Christmas and then her first birthday a couple of days later. Our tiny house was like an explosion in a toy factory, packed to the rafters with thoughtful gifts from well-meaning friends and relatives. My one-year-old was completely overwhelmed and my partner and I fretted about where to store all of the stuff in our tiny flat.

What Can I Get For Kids That Aren’t Toys?

Christmas stars with a blue text box that reads 25+ non-gift ideas for an anti-consumerist Christmas.

Since then I’ve started to think about non-Christmas gift ideas for both kids and adults that are still full of thought and love and will be seriously useful without taking up space or that will eventually contribute to landfill. Some of the ideas won’t even cost you any money!

Here are my ideas but I’d love to hear yours, and add them to the list!

Free Non-Gift Ideas For Kids

  • A day at ______’s house
  • A trip out to feed the ducks
  • A trip to the park
  • Pass along a skill day – e.g. teaching a musical instrument, sharing a craft, teaching a kid to bake cakes, teaching a kid to sew/knit. Whatever your skill is it’s always fun to pass on. Some of my very best memories are of my gran teaching me to knit, sew, bake and play cards. My gran is no longer with us, but every time I make scones or sew anything I think of her, and there really is no gift greater than that.

£ Non-Gift Ideas For Kids

  • A trip to the zoo
  • A trip to the cinema
  • A picnic
  • A trip to the swimming pool
  • A trip to soft play
  • A day out at the local museum
  • An afternoon out bowling
  • Contribute to an after-school activity they do – swimming, dancing, football, karate, or whatever they enjoy doing. These things cost a surprising amount of money so a small contribution towards their cost would probably be well appreciated by the parents.
  • Zoo membership
  • Cinema membership
  • Money for savings accounts
  • A magazine subscription (I’ve always liked the idea of Okido Magazine!) – kids will appreciate this every month!

The ideas are all about sharing experiences and making memories that will hopefully last longer than some toys!

Anti-Consumerist Christmas Ideas For Adults

Of course, we shouldn’t forget the adults. I’ve got some anti-consumerist ideas if you’re wondering what can you do instead of physical gifts for Christmas, or what you can give for Christmas without spending any money.

Completely Free Non-Gift Ideas

  • A card offering your babysitting services for a few nights over the course of a year
  • A card offering your pet-sitting services for a few days over the course of a year
  • Home maintenance help. Got some friends who have just moved into a new place? A card offering to help strip wallpaper, paint, put up shelves, tile, or whatever fits your skillset will be warmly appreciated!
  • Access to your skills – whether it’s photography, web design, gardening, or whatever you’re great at, why not offer a day of your skills?

£ Ideas

If you’d like to spend money, then here are some gift ideas for experiences, not things:

  • Certificates to a favourite restaurant/cafe
  • Make a meal for their freezer
  • A spa treat
  • Cinema tickets
  • Concert tickets

 Any you want to add? Let me know in the comments below!

If non-gift Christmas ideas aren’t up your street, and you’d rather go down the traditional Christmas gift route then don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Check out my ethical Christmas gift ideas on the blog. And here are some zero-waste Christmas decorations you can make. Top tip, they’re more fun if you make them with a friend!

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