There’s no doubt you’ve seen some extravagant wish lists for this year—TikTok and Instagram are teeming with people hoping for the newest fashion finds or tech gadget that promises to change lives. Everyone wants to see their loved ones light up as they open their gifts—but why not make these thoughtful gestures have a positive impact as well? With environmental consciousness on the rise, the topic of sustainable gifting is gaining more and more attention. If you’re new to sustainable gift-gifting and wondering how to participate, we’ve created a guide to lend you a hand in adding a little eco-consciousness to your holiday season.
So what makes a sustainable gift? A few attributes to note are that they are reusable, that they are made from recycled or repurposed materials, or they are sustainably and ethically sourced. Many brands will throw around labels like “green” and “eco-friendly,” but it’s up to us consumers to go beyond good marketing and ensure that such products and how they are created don’t hurt other people or the environment. While some truly eco-friendly gifts might be difficult to find or out of budget, there are some details you can look for to ensure what you’re paying for doesn’t also have a hidden price for the planet.
Our everyday tools and items can easily be replaced by more sustainable ones. For a beauty lover, think of gifting bamboo brushes, like these from EcoTools that are lightweight and help blend products seamlessly. If you know someone who is always jotting notes or thoughts down on paper, the Rocketbook Reusable Notebook lets you scan your writing to a phone and then wipe it clean for a blank slate. Another idea is to gift these stylish glass cups with bamboo lids or a S’well water bottle for added everyday sustainability. You also can’t go wrong with a zero-waste kit with reusable bags and straws for someone you might know who is also interested in sustainable products.
We know—places like Shein make cute, affordable clothing that either you or someone on your list is hoping to receive as a gift this year. But thinking practically, these clothes don’t usually last more than a few turns in the washing machine, and also might not be made with ethical or sustainable practices in mind. Look for brands that make their clothing from sustainable and organic materials, such as Girlfriend Collective, whose clothes claim to be 100% biodegradable. For sustainable shoes, check out these cute sneakers from Allbirds that are made from eucalyptus tree fiber. Your accessories can always be more eco-friendly as well! Both this sea glass necklace and BAGGU purse made from recycled nylon would make great gifts. If you have extra, you could also thrift your gifts!
Especially with their packing, many beauty products we love aren’t sustainably made from eco-friendly materials. One great alternative is this body and facial cleanser duo from Blueland made from planet-friendly ingredients. Juice Beauty is another great brand with skincare offerings made from natural and organic ingredients. Many brands such as Glow Recipe and Youth to the People are also switching to refillable products, so be sure to check those out. For makeup, Kjaer Weis has stunning products from blushes to lip balms that are refillable and consciously made.
Your gift for someone doesn’t always have to be a thing—why not make it an experience you both could share? Think of gifting something you could do together, like concert tickets to a favorite artist or even a cooking class. A non-physical gift ensures it doesn’t just sit on the shelf collecting dust while also letting you and your loved one create lasting memories. If you do, however, want a physical gift with more purpose, gift something like a book, magazine, online course, or perhaps a New York Times subscription. Choose one that aligns with the recipient's passion, or even something that could encourage them to incorporate sustainability into their life and gifting as well.
Remember to think outside the gift box! Choose wrapping paper that is recycled, wrap your gift in reusable fabric, or even use old newspapers or magazines. You could even give your gift in a canvas bag or tote that the recipient can use for years to come. Get creative with it! With a little extra care, your gift can be both stylish and good for our planet.