Without a doubt, one of the most difficult parts of the holiday season is finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. There’s a lot to consider between budgets, taste, and time. Don’t know what to get? Fortunately, there are enough sustainable and eco-friendly gifts out there for everyone on your nice list.
Make Sustainability a Theme
If you have a large family that does a Yankee Swap or Secret Santa each year, propose setting up a sustainability theme for your gift exchange. People often set rules regarding price, and having a particular theme is a fun way to make gift giving more creative.
There are a lot of different theme options that fit the bill like: no plastic, recycled materials, locally made, from a small business, organic, clean, or fair trade certified. Some gift exchanges, like a White Elephant, specifically have you re-gifting items you already have instead of buying something new!
Remember sending a wish list to Santa every year as a child? Or going through all the toy catalogs and circling what you like? These were common practices when we were children, but they fall out of favor when as adults. Why? Wish lists are a great way for everyone buying for you know your values and likes.
If making lists isn't your style, to communicate your desire for sustainable gifts, be a champion for it where people will see. It may not be the most subtle way, but dropping hints on social media and in conversation will boost the visibility of sustainable holidays. And you might even inspire others to ask for green gifts or for them to give sustainably to others!
Finally, the best way to communicate your desire to live more sustainably is to lead the way yourself! Giving sustainable gifts is the best way to increase their exposure and spread the sustainable movement. Start small with our Nourishing Lip Balm, or shop on the aggregator Made Trade for more premium, fair trade jewelry items.
Expand Your Shopping Circle
While there are some great, ethically sourced brands that can be bought off sites like Amazon (Hydroflask being one - stainless steel water bottles), local stores, artisans, and small online businesses are truly the way to go for sustainably sourced gifts.
When you shop in person, you don’t have the added environmental cost of shipping. For all of the other reasons why it’s good to shop small, read our post from a few weeks ago all about it! Holidays are an especially important time for small businesses, and a gift from a small vendor is bound to be more unique than anything bought from a big box store. It’s a chance to shop around a find something truly bespoke for the important people in your life!
Even if you do like to shop around on Amazon, (and to be fair, we all do) use the site as simply a guide (or even as a wish list, as we mentioned earlier) to things you might want to buy or have bought for you. Then when you go out to the stores or find smaller stores online you’ll have an idea of what you’re looking for.
Go for Needs, Not Wants
Don’t know what to get someone? Buy them something they really need, a thoughtful gift and not just a cute trinket. This approach also helps decrease waste, because you’re paying for something they would buy a version of themselves anyways. Cleaning products, local grocery gift cards, and plants all count here.
Here are some of our specific gift ideas selections:
A Blueland startup kit and refills: Blueland is an eco-friendly cleaning supply company that exists to help reduce people’s use of plastic. For their Essential Startup Kit they send you four reusable bottles that you use forever and their cleaning solution tablets that you just drop in water. This way, you just purchase the refill tablets instead of continually getting single use plastic bottles. And the cleaning solution itself is green!
A Rent the Runway subscription: Fashion is a big contributor to pollution, especially in Southeast Asia where many of our clothing is made. We all like to look fashionable, but it doesn’t have to be wasteful or expensive. With Rent the Runway, the recipient can lease cute outfits and then return them for continuous wear.
Or just shop the Package Free shop, which is filled with different sustainable gifts! This is perfect for smaller stocking-stuffers or Yankee Swap gifts (like these glass coffee cup). The great thing about shopping from this store, as implied by the name, is that they take into great consideration packaging waste when sending you your purchase. No styrofoam here!
A subscription to Public Goods, a similar online store with a Costco-like membership system is a similar, long-lasting option.