Good Gifting

December 8, 2021 at 4:11 PM


Giving gifts is a great feeling, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Use the power of your dollar to vote for the kind of world you want to live in. We’ve written down a few of our favourite gifting options that can apply all year round, not just during the silly season.

1. BUY LESS- choose experiences not more stuff

  • A Zealandia membership gives your gift receiver unlimited access to the Zealandia ecosanctuary for 12 months. That’s 12 months of walking amongst native tress and birds in the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary. Members also get to bring up to five mates in for half price. Best of all, the funds go towards supporting the conservation of Aotearoa’s native biodiversity.
  • Give an experience. Maybe it’s a massage voucher for someone that needs some rejuvenation, café or restaurant voucher (try SOS Business) for your foodie friend, or a ziplining voucher for your adrenaline junkie in-law. Depending on the person, the options are endless! Think of what your receiver enjoys doing, or think back to something they may have mentioned wanting to do, but perhaps don’t have the time/money to do so.
  • There are so many great classes and courses around for every niche and interest. Whether it be surfing, cooking, pottery, learning a new language or instrument. Give someone the gift of learning! Jump onto WHS Community Education Centre or Auckland Community Education.

Zealandia Ecosanctuary


2. BUY SECONDHAND- op shops, TradeMe, regifting

  • Participating in a closed-loop marketplace is good for the soul as you are giving another life to something that already exists and has more ways to be useful when the alternative may be clogging up a landfill. We need to challenge the assumption that new is better – it’s usually not for the environment. More and more second-hand shops are popping up around Aotearoa. Wellington alone has a plethora to choose from. Check out this New Zealand op shop directory. TradeMe or Facebook Marketplace are also good places to pick-up great deals.
  • Regifting can be a tricky one, but if you’re trying to lower your environmental impact it’s worth considering. There is a good chance someone out there will truly love or need your unwanted gift. If you’re not sure and the item is new or in new condition, consider donating it to an op shop.
  • If you are concerned about looking ‘cheap’ add cash to the gift (the difference in cost perhaps) to show this really is about saving the planet not saving your wallet.


3. MAKE- bake, craft, fill a recycled jar with treats

  • The Zero Waste Chef has a great blog, ’13 Gifts in Jars’ including loose-leaf chai tea blend, cookie mix and kimchi.
  • At Commonsense we sell a number of beautiful She Universe NZ organic loose chocolates. Grab a jar and pop a few in for sweet present! We have some listed on our online store.
  • Make chocolate bark by following these simple steps: Melt a block of chocolate bain maire style. Pour onto a baking tray with baking paper. Sprinkle with your choice of seeds, nuts, dried fruit (we recommend Fresh As dried raspberries or strawberries) and chill in the fridge. After a couple of hours, the chocolate should have hardened. Using your hands, snap large bite-sized pieces off. Easy!

Our easy-peasy chocolate bark

4. BUY LOCAL- support your community to thrive

  • 27 Seconds Wine- Not only is their NZ wine certified organic, but 100% of profit goes to supporting survivors of the slave trade. The name comes from the shocking statistic that every 27 seconds somewhere in the world, a vulnerable person is trafficked or sold into slavery. Available at all Commonsense stores and they also have fantastic gift bundle options on their website.
  • Similarly, Common Good Coffee are a social enterprise who produce premium organic, Fair Trade coffee. $5 for every kilo of coffee sold goes to their partner organisation Joyya in Kolkata who are working to combat poverty, human trafficking, and degradation in the area. Available at Commonsense.
  • Common Property Seedlings are grown on our organic farm in Te Horo on the Kapiti Coast. Seedlings range from vegetables to herbs and flowers. Grab one for just $4.99 or enjoy our year-round 3 for $13.50 deal and you can sort out three Christmas presents at once! Ask one of our lovely staff members to tie a ribbon around it et voila. Make sure to tell your gift receiver that we take-back the plastic pots and return them to Common Property for re-use.
  • Common Unity are a pillar amongst Lower Hutt locals through their collaborative work with community, schools and organisations in the area. You can help fund a primary school child through hands-on learning in the veggie garden. They also have a great shop of homemade treasures like beeswax wraps, local honey and tote bags. Check out their goodies in Lower Hutt or on their website.

Common Property organic seedling. Common Unity Inspire A Grower Gift Card

5. BUY ETHICAL- buy organic, fair trade, plastic free

  • The Trade Aid store should be everyone’s go-to place for ethically made gifts! High quality household goods made by producers in developing countries who have all been paid a fair wage through Fair Trade certified partnerships. Check out this teapot made in North Vietnam, wooden kids toys made in Sri Lanka and cushion cover from India. We have a selection of these in stores.
  • Good House Keeping is a colourful and quirky eco store on Wellington’s Cuba Street that encourages you to ‘’Make Do & Mend’ and has an emphasis on sustainable, recyclable, recycled and biodegradable products household products.
  • Hopper Home- Plastic free and bulk shopping, with locally made eco gifts.
  • The Sustainability Trust eco shop for functional gifts such as gardening, personal care, stationery, kids toys and other larger sustainable home fixtures like heaters. We love the upcycled bike tube O Te Motu Earrings famously worn by our Prime Minister!
  • And of course your local Commonsense store is stocked with gift hampers, drink bottles and other homewares plus lots of New Zealand handmade soaps, candles, raw honey and so much more. BUY ETHICAL- buy organic, fair trade, plastic free.

    Good House Keeping, Wellington

6. GIVING BACK- donating to charities on someone’s behalf

Giving donations as gifts isn’t for everyone. Receiving a thoughtful gift brings a lot of people joy and for some people these gifts are needed in their lives. On the other hand, there are a number of people that acknowledge that they don’t need more ‘stuff’ and greatly appreciate that you’ve donated on their behalf.

  • Fund the planting of a native tree with conservation charity Trees That Count. For just $10 you can give a thoughtful, waste-free gift that will sequester carbon from our environment and contribute to millions of trees being planted in Aotearoa. Planting native trees is one of the most powerful actions we can take to combat climate change, protect our beautiful landscapes, waterways and forests for future generations. Trees That Count say it perfectly- ”Send your love while making a conscious choice to grow our land, not our landfill.
  • The Good Registry - Our CEO, Anna Pitches and her family opted to use the Good Registry last year for Christmas, but you could use it for any occasion like a birthday or wedding. “In my family, we decided this Christmas that we didn’t need more ‘stuff’. Instead, we used Good Registry to gift each other vouchers, which then get redeemed on the same platform – the value of your voucher is gifted to the charities of your choice. There's almost 70 New Zealand charities to choose form, including Kaibosh, Wellington City Mission, Women’s refuge, Bellyful and many more awesome charities”.
  • The Gift of Off-setting- Ekos carbon offset gift packs. Gift carbon offsets which fund the reforestation and protection of restorative forests here in Aotearoa and the Pacific Islands, especially at the time of year where domestic travel will be at a high.

    Trees That Count



  • Make a simple fabric gift bag or try furoshiki (Japanese style gift wrapping with fabric)
  • Use newspaper or newsprint and twine or string
  • Try Zero Waste Chef’s plastic-free glue and homemade paper tape recipe


    The Zero Waste Chef's plastic-free wrapping