Two toys - a reindeer and santa, looking out at the wastebusters shop from behind, which is covered in festive decor.


With the festive season upon us, we’re exploring creative and sustainable present ideas to make your holidays both more sustainable and affordable. From the charm of secondhand treasures to the thoughtful ‘Gift of Time’ (think personalised IOU cards for services like babysitting or a home cooked dinner). And the joy of connection to the endless realm of the imagination.


Secondhand treasures

Choosing to shop secondhand first is not only good for our planet, it’s also good for your wallet. Not everyone enjoys the art of op shopping, or has the time to sift through everything to find the good stuff. Utilise your thrifting skills to discover something that’s unique for them. A $20 budget can stretch a lot further at Wasties than buying new. You’re also far more likely to find something that’s better quality. Plus, you might just convert them into an op shop lover too!

A christmas display of gift ideas in the Wastebusters shop, including baking items. display of secondhand items in Wastebusters shop, including kids toys.

Gift of Time

The Gift of Time is a fantastic idea for the busy bees in your life who may not always prioritise themselves. It’s about giving up your time to help them make time for themselves, this can be done in a few different ways:

  • Baby sitting voucher: An excellent opportunity for parents to have a-well deserved break!
  • Home cooked meal: Do you have a secretly awesome lasagne or chicken pie recipe? There’s nothing better than a night off from cooking! Bonus points if it can be frozen and saved for later. Wastebusters’ freebin is a gold mine for casserole dishes – a two-for-one present, they can choose to keep the casserole dish, or even pay it forward!
  • Odd jobs: Tick off a job on their to-do list, like painting a fence or putting up some shelves. Again, a great option for busy bees who just haven’t gotten round to these tasks.
  • Skill sharing: If you have a certain skill or talent, maybe you could use this as a gift idea. For example, a photographer could gift a wee photoshoot.

Wastebusters free bin area. Colourful retro fridges with a chalk board sign that reads 'free stuff' A freshly baked pie in a nice green casserole dish.


What better gift is there than spending time with those you love? The idea of gifting ‘connection’ is presenting opportunities to hang out with your nearest and dearest. This could either be in the form of a voucher, or perhaps you may agree with your friends / whānau / colleagues to do the following rather than exchanging physical presents:

  • Potluck: Share the love with food! Organise a fun potluck evening where everyone brings their own dish to share. Add a theme for a fun twist, such as, national dishes, food from the garden or nostalgic dinners.
  • Tea party: Similar idea to the potluck, make the most of summer by arranging a fun tea party in the garden! There’s heaps of beautiful mix and match china at Wasties. Have everyone dress up and enjoy baked goods and garden games together.
  • Outdoor : disc golf, overnight hut, bike ride…
  • Your favourite book: A simple, but classic gift idea. What better way to show someone how much you care than to gift them your all-time favourite book.

  A funky frame with text that reads 'Time for tea' on a funky looking high tea display in the Wastebusters shop A picnic set in a picnic basket with two rackets. 

Get Creative

Whether you have an artistic flare, kitchen skills or green fingers, tap into your creative side and add a personal touch to any gift…

  • Homemade treats: Who doesn’t love a jar of homemade chutney? Especially when it comes in a reusable jar! Perfect for cheese lovers!
  • Get crafty: Create something unique while on a tighter budget. Head to Wasties and find a pair of wooden salad serves, a ceramic dish or a pair of wine glasses. Now, with just a brush, a touch of paint, and a quick search on Pinterest for some inspiration …the world is your oyster! This makes for a beautiful, one-of-a-kind gift.
  • Repair therapy: Fixing someone’s broken treasure as a surprise is the ultimate ‘act of service’ gift! Careful how you go about stealing their treasure – you may need a distraction!
  • Plants: If you can spare some clippings from your own plants, head to your kitchen cupboard and pull out those empty jam jars (don’t have any? Head to Wasties, there’s loads!). Using a bit of string and a pin board, you have the perfect recipe for a plant wall! Ta-da!

Propagated plants in small reusable jars, tied by string, hanging on a cork board. Jar of chutney displayed beautifully with spoon.

Alternative gift wrapping

Wrap your gifts in style using repurposed materials. Scarves, linen bags, fabric, newspaper & old maps are all great alternatives to wrapping paper. Search ‘Furoshiki’ (Japanese art of fabric wrapping) on Youtube for a simple tutorial.

Three gifts wrapped in fabric, scarves and a linen bag, laid out on a picnic blanket.