Eco-Friendly Gift Guide 2021
Updated: Nov 23, 2021
The holidays are upon us and soon we will all be shuffling around trying to get the perfect gift for family, friends, teachers, neighbors, clients, and whoever else you are feeling spirited towards. It's easy to get caught up in the commercialization and just getting something quick for it to be done. But that's not the point, is it? The holidays are a time to slow down, appreciate what you have, and to surround yourself with the people you love. Take that same effort in giving gifts. This is a quick guide on how to re-frame your holiday perspective and how to be more thoughtful in your gifting. And let's be real, now that shipping is a DISASTER- you can't even do last minute Amazon shopping if you wanted to! Planning ahead is a must.
For "the Low-key One": Over the past year and a half, we all had to modify our lives and adapt to a MUCH more low-key lifestyle. However, as the world begins to open up, we all have the friend/family member who still prefers to hang on the sofa than mingle at happy hour; and would rather read a novel than run a 5K. They crave comfy/cozy and chill. This hoodie fits the bill - every purchase =10 trees planted. (*hint hint babe).
This gorgeous alpaca throw, from Shades of Green, offers a lightweight, hypoallergenic, and durable twist to a classic woven throw. Sustainably made from small batches of alpaca yarn sourced in the Highlands of Peru, this throw is the perfect blend of artisanal appeal and chic simplicity.
For "the Chef": Consider yourself lucky if this person lives in your home! The one who wants to make delicious meals (but probably doesn't like to clean up). The one whose love language is good food and wine.
And definitely check out this Round-up of Best Non-Stick Frying Pans.
For "the Likes Pretty Things": Remember the Love Actually quote, "I don't want something I need. I want something I want - something pretty." Although, Mia was inappropriate temptress- she nailed it. Who doesn't love something pretty? I will NEVER not recommend giving a wreath for Christmas. Gift early- right after Thanksgiving and it will give all season long!
Also- fun jewelry. I could go on forever about how great the company Noonday Collection is. They design and sell an inspired collection of jewelry and accessories made by artisans around the globe. Empowering women, support adoptive families, and provide dignified jobs for people worldwide.
786 has breathable nail polish that supports refugees.
For "the Outdoorsy one": Being outdoorsy and a pyromaniac go hand-in-hand. Check out Solo Stoves. Smoke-free fire pits in all the sizes. I can attest to their quality!
And if you are outside, you need something to hold all your stuff- so here is a roundup of ethically made and sustainably sourced backpacks. Every backpack is made with plastic pulled from the ocean and every purchase removes an additional 5lbs of plastic from the ocean! Their backpacks have solar charging capability and anti-theft protection. Whoa.
The "Sentimental One": My mom recently was gifted a skylight frame. It's fun because you can email the frame pictures, so they will get surprise photos from the ones they love! A huge hit.
Frame something special! Take that sweet doodle your kid made, their handmade collage, concert tickets of your first date, or that marathon bib- and get it professionally framed. Send it to Framebridge and let them make magic happen!
For "the One You Want to Gift But Not Spend Much": A bag of homemade, frozen cookie dough balls- ready to bake. Who doesn’t want access to fresh baked cookies at the end of the day?? Our sister-in-law gave us a bag of frozen cookie balls just because, and it was magical- because I dislike baking. (Another hint put out into the universe).
Also, don't underestimate thrift stores. Find a pretty vase/jar and put some fresh flowers in it. A thoughtful, sustainable- REUSABLE gift.
For "the One Who Takes Care of/Teaches Your Children": I am going to be real with you- your teacher does not want a homemade gift from your child. They have at least 20 kids in every class every year, and are not saving that macaroni necklace or bedazzled pencil holder. Quite honestly, they want and need money. Any amount is going to be helpful and will never be discounted. Write a sweet note and slip 5, 10, 20 bucks or as much as you feel charitable in the envelope. And save that “vase” for grandma 😉
For "Literally ANYONE with a child": A date night; a few hours to run an errand, a card with a date of when you will drop off dinner.
For "the ones who wake up before 6AM on Christmas morning": They are young and the holidays are and should be magical. That’s the fun of it! As much as I would love my kids to not want every single plastic, commercialized toy in Target, it's not realistic. Just try to focus on quality, not quantity and remember the reason for the season- whether that’s religion or family or traditions. The holidays are a special time, where you should try to slow down, put down your phone (reminder to myself), and enjoy the moment. Bake cookies, make art, play games, and cuddle on the sofa watching your favorite movies. Start a beautiful family tradition: maybe that's ice skating and hot cocoa OR camping out under the Christmas tree. Try something more philanthropic- like adopting a child off the Angel Tree and letting your child shop for them. They won't remember the lists of toys received over the years or every single activity- but the memory of the holidays will always bring joy :)
Stocking Stuffers: Eco-friendly toiletries! Bar beauty products to reduce plastic- shampoo/conditioner, soap and of course the soap saver to go with it; toothpaste tablets, and bath bombs! And if that isn't fun enough, my family tradition growing up was lottery tickets... for a few bucks, everyone can enjoy a little Christmas morning gamble!
And let's be real, masks are still in the height of need and fashion- so throw a new on in the stocking!
Wrapping Paper: We have been using the same gift bags in our house and within our family for years! We will wrap the gifts from Santa, but everything else gets put in a bag- and you better believe the tissue paper is saved too. Growing up we used the comics or kraft paper from grocery bags (before we BYOB)…but not sure how many people actually still subscribe to a newspaper. If you need to wrap, try this company, Wrappily. Their paper is made with recycled content and is recyclable!
The wrapping paper from the Parks Project, support the National Park Foundation's Open OutDoors for Kids program. The program creates pathways for kids to enjoy, understand and connect with nature in exciting ways by facilitating outdoor activity, experiential learning, and cultural heritage exercises.
Holiday Cards: We all send them, we all love them. Why not plant a tree in the process? Check out Paper Culture as a great alternative to shutterfly or minted.
Bottom Line: Before you troll Target for quick grab gifts- take a second and think about who you are gifting and what they really need or when the last time you really connected. Take this holiday season to reconnect with them and yourself. That is a gift in and of itself. <3
(Oh and shop local - art festivals, pottery sales, pop-up markets. It's always more sustainable when you skip shipping.)