The holiday season officially starts this week with Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. We wish everyone A HAPPY HOLIDAY!
Before sharing our seven great sustainable gift ideas, it’s important to address the truth about gift-giving. Gifting or receiving things you don’t want or will not use for a long time is not sustainable. The “Holiday return period” happens at the beginning of every year, where people return the gifts they don’t want or don’t use anymore, especially for clothing gifts.
We need to rethink how we buy gifts and be thoughtful about our actions. Maybe instead of buying to cross off a checklist, ask for a wishlist beforehand. If you’re planning on shopping sustainably for the holidays, we share with you seven amazing sustainable and ethical brands to help reduce the carbon footprint of your shopping list.
1. Let’s Make the World Sprout
Sprout is the Danish company behind the original plantable pencil. Once you’ve ended your Sprout pencil’s lifetime value, you can plant it instead of throwing it out and watch it grow into herbs, flowers, and even fresh vegetables!
“By planting a Sprout pencil instead of throwing it out, you can make sustainability visible to others and inspire them to make changes in their daily life.” – Sprout.
All aspects of the Sprout pencil are sustainable and non-toxic – from the biodegradable seed capsule to the 100% natural clay and graphite core and natural wood. The Sprout pencils are also safe and harmless to kids and pets. There is no need to worry if a child or pet eats the pencils!
2. All-in-one Presents
The OLSEN+OLSEN Zero-Waste Gift Box comes with a pack of 3 beeswax wraps and wool dryer balls. The brand offers a variety of beeswax wraps. The wraps are fully biodegradable after only 28 days. Plus, you can wash them in the washing machine more than 300 times!
The OLSEN+OLSEN dryer balls are handmade with organic wool without any of the chemicals of conventional fabric softeners. Unlike the plastic dryer balls, they save time and energy by cutting down on drying time by an average of 25% per load. If you’re just shifting towards a zero-waste lifestyle, the OLSEN+OLSEN gift box could be a great start!
3. Crocheted Masterpieces
“We exist to empower people to rise above poverty.” – The Krochet Kids.
Since 2007, the company has been committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in developing countries by teaching people how to crochet. They have employed hundreds of people in Uganda and Peru to create their headwears and give back to their communities for the past decade.
Each Krochet Kids product comes with a signature from the incredible artist who crocheted your hats – making them the perfect sustainable gift for the holiday season. To learn more about the person behind your Krochet Kids product, you can check out their online profile page from their website.
4. Giving Experiences rather than Things
The past year was the year of reconnection. Many people finally got the chance to physically reconnect with their families, friends, and loved ones. It’s also the time to reconnect with our nature and its beauty.
The “America the Beautiful” National Park Pass, a pass with free entrance fees at more than 2,000 federal recreation sites including National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Forests is not only a pass to explore the beauty of nature, but also a pass to reconnect, learn and heal with our Mother Earth.
5. For Those Lovely and Cozy Nights
Coyuchi is a company that follows the highest environmental and ethical standards to create comfortable, luxurious, and sustainable bedding products. All Coyuchi products are made with 100% organic fibers and a traceable supply chain.
The company is involved in multiple circular initiatives. The “2nd Home Take Back” and “2nd Home Renewed” programs allow them to receive, clean, and repair used products instead of going to waste. Since the programs began in 2017, the company has diverted more than 43,000 pounds of textile waste from landfills.
6. Tea Time
Tahmina is a WOC (women of color) owned brand with a mission to build ethical markets for Afghanistan communities. Through their ethically produced teas, they hope to bring changes for farmers and women who live in the region.
When you visit an Afghan household, the host will often welcome you with a cup of tea. The most prized of these teas is the popular saffron tea. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. Saffron has been widely used in culinary and medical practices around the world.
80% of the jobs involved at Tahmina’s saffron production involve women. The company creates economic opportunities for a country where only 19% of its female population participates in the workforce.
7. Fashion and Sustainability
Purse for the People is a female-owned company committed to creating both beautiful and sustainable fashion products.
“The fast-fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry.”
Unlike fast-fashion companies, Purse for the People focuses on making one bag at a time and reducing the waste of mass production. The company invests in indigenous artisans and their communities. These artisans’ multi-generational skills and knowledge have added more tastes to their handcrafted bags.
Check out the Purse for the People if you are looking for a one-of-kind gift to your loved ones and better the environment.
This Holiday Season, Choose Sustainable Gift-Giving
Well, the most sustainable way of shopping is probably… to buy nothing. Exchanging or giving away unneeded things like books or clothes is a great start to creating your own “circular economy” in your neighborhood or at home this holiday season! Also, don’t forget to celebrate your Buy Nothing Day this weekend too!
Today, businesses need to be more sustainable, but consumers need to be more mindful about what and how we shop things. More and more brands have been labeled as “sustainable,” “organic,” or “eco-friendly” by a large number of certification programs.
As the director of the Sustainable Supply Chains program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alexis Bateman, said: “It really requires the consumers to do their homework.” Consumers need to look deeper and closer to know if a brand or product is truly green to our environment.
By choosing products that are made sustainably and ethically from companies committed to bettering our environment and supporting the local communities, it is possible to make a difference and heal our environment. This holiday season, we encourage you to choose sustainable gifts to make your presents even more special!