Gift for the woman who has every "thing" she wants
October 22, 2019 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Looking for meaningful gift ideas for someone who leads a low-waste lifestyle.

I'm stumped on a gift for a friend and colleague who is retiring her successful career of 15 years to do environmental work full time. She's been passionate about leading a low waste lifestyle for the past few years and is already quite successful in her part time work in the field thus far.

Googling eco-friendly or low waste gifts comes up with things like reusable straws, which is not what I'm looking for. Since my friend does not like to acquire new "things" she doesn't need, gifts I've given her in the past have been more service/experience based or consumables. Things such as fitness class passes, an audible membership and restaurant gift certificates have been appreciated, but none of these things seem right for this gift.

I'm having a hard time coming up with a gift that isn't a thing and is suitable for such a big milestone. I'd like something meaningful to mark the occasion. Any ideas? We're in Toronto in case you have any local suggestions.
posted by legendarygirlfriend to Shopping (19 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Season subscription to the symphony, opera, or acting company's theater?
posted by BostonTerrier at 4:08 PM on October 22, 2019 [10 favorites]

I topped out on things a long time ago. I collect experiences now. That would be a show or a museum or something else. A good meal if you’ll be good company.

Best gift I’ve been given so far was a chance to ride in a rice picker (I’m a city boy).

Or if you’re more comfortable a gift to a charity I like is always nice.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:09 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

A good meal if you’ll be good company.

In retrospect personal involvement by the giver is what makes a gift extra special for me.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:15 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is the kind of situation where something like some trees or a garden planted in her name, or a donation of an animal or some other kind of charitable thing seems like it would fit. Something usable by the public, like a park bench or water fountain with a name plaque makes sense, too. You'd still be getting her an object, it would just be an object that she shares with the world and doesn't live in her house.
posted by Mizu at 4:16 PM on October 22, 2019 [15 favorites]

A weekend or overnight in Stratford or Niagara-on-the-Lake, including a nice dinner and a theater ticket. I think their seasons run a few more weeks.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 4:18 PM on October 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

Give to an environmental charity that she supports. It's incredibly meaningful and personal and appropriate for the occasion.
posted by bluedaisy at 4:18 PM on October 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

When my mother died her sister donated to our local library with instructions to use the money for Mom's favorite, mysteries. The library added a bookplate with an "In memory of" inscription. A gift to her library of books, "in honor of" on environmental topics would be permanent but not a possession.
posted by Botanizer at 4:39 PM on October 22, 2019 [18 favorites]

Spa day! The rest and relaxation she has earned after her time in the trenches.
posted by ejs at 4:45 PM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Bake her a cake, or put together a nice fruit salad and take her on a picnic.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:08 PM on October 22, 2019

A handwritten letter or card - take some time to recall a special memory, let her know you will miss her and wish her well/respect her choice to do environmental work. Include a photo of the two of you if you have one to share.

About 7 years ago, I gave a card to a friend that detailed "11 things I admire about Julie" - she still mentions it.
posted by augustinetill at 6:58 PM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Donate to something like a community garden where there will be a brick in their name. Something lasting occasion seems like. But also, if the relationship allows this, and they've given you gifts of a "thing" in the past, re-gift one back, bonus for it being from a long time ago.
posted by ixipkcams at 7:24 PM on October 22, 2019

Toronto Botanical Gardens membership or the combined Credit Valley/TRCA conservancy membership, or you can gift to The Great Trail (Trans-Canada Trail) in her name, or an annual bike share membership.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:08 PM on October 22, 2019

I’d say anything purchased secondhand is fair game.
posted by delight at 8:28 PM on October 22, 2019

We're in Toronto in case you have any local suggestions.

Has she seen Come From Away? Get her tickets to see Come From Away.
posted by kate blank at 2:00 AM on October 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

If there's some environmentally-friendly change you've been wanting to make in your lifestyle, could you take the plunge in her honor? As in, "Dear friend, in honor of your career, I am finally going to stop buying bottled water. I'll think of you every time I pull out my reusable flask."
posted by yankeefog at 3:29 AM on October 23, 2019

Definitely an experience. Something like a short weekend away and plan some things together to do. I've stopped asking for things recently as well so thoughtful things like that make me really happy.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 7:30 AM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

If they own their own land, a garden store gift certificate to buy plants?
posted by metasarah at 10:58 AM on October 23, 2019

A card where you talk about how inspirational she is, plus a gift certificate to a thrift store.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:40 PM on October 23, 2019

Thank you all for the fantastic gift ideas! I'm going to go the route of a donation to a local environmental charity and a handmade card/letter.
posted by legendarygirlfriend at 5:47 AM on October 24, 2019

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