People generally fall into one of two categories when it comes to shopping for the holidays; they either consider it good fun, or a terrible chore. Whichever category you fall into, it’s easier than ever to find really great, useful, interesting gifts that are also have a smaller environmental footprint than traditional gifts.
These “green” gifts could stand out in many ways – from befitting those in need, to featuring earth-friendly ingredients, to keeping the lifecycle in mind with recycled or upcycled materials.
Oftentimes, eco-friendly gifts combine two or more of these elements (and almost always come in recyclable or reusable packaging). These online stores are all excellent resources for finding “gifts that give back,” taking out some of the impact of the resource-intensive holiday season.
For the Fashionista
Green with Glamour’s tagline is “Go green. Stay stylish,” and actress-turned-filmmaker Nealy Glenn is the site’s inspiration. A fabulous, modern woman with exact tastes is who GWG will appeal to. This site is ideal for those women on your list you might feel intimidated to buy for as it has a carefully curated selection of gifts that would fit most hard-to-buy-for women (don’t worry, it’s perfectly affordable!).
For an easy shortcut, check out Kat’s Must Haves for classic with a twist, and don’t miss Deana’s hit list for gifts with a style that’s “global, with a yesteryear vibe.” From organic camis from Only Hearts (sexy and classy) to dlc brooklyn’s perfectly au courant metronome bracelet, to recycled rose stud earrings, you’re sure to find something you won’t anywhere else.
For the Person Who Has Everything
Oxfam America offers plenty of gifts at various price points, and they are ideal for the person who has everything or someone who really, truly doesn’t want a gift. That’s because the gift actually goes to a person in need. Common items include a dozen chickens, a grove of trees, mosquito nets or maybe a school desk. While these gifts may not seem appealing to your personal holiday tastes, they can mean that difference between life or death for the people that receive them.
If you want to cross off every name on your “To Buy” list, you can do that too! Made in the name of your recipient, there are gifts that benefit women and children, perfect for your mother, grandmother or sister. You can also choose “Emergency Essentials” like blankets, cooking stoves and medical kits – ideal for the tool-loving Dad or volunteer fire-fighter cousin. After all, who could be disappointed that instead of another scarf, they helped save someone’s life?
For the Vegan/Animal Lover
Alternative Outfitters is the place to go for vegans; nothing on the site is animal-derived or contains anything that once had a face. And they are already ready for holiday shoppers – the site is organized into sections for Gifts Under $25, Gifts Under $50 and up to Gifts Under $100. While the focus is on clothes (and great accessories in faux suedes and leathers), there are also vegan skin care, hair care products and cosmetics, too.
For the Young and Penniless
Sustainable NYC bills itself as “Local, Organic, Fair Trade, Recycled, Re-purposed, Biodegradable, Alternative Energy products and gifts for women, men, kids, babies and pets!” And no, you don’t need to live in the Big Apple to take advantage of its wide variety of gifts, they ship.
Like any store on this list, don’t forget to look beyond the ‘gifts’ section of the site and into the ‘baby’ area for new parents (or parents-to-be who are stockpiling) or the ‘home’ section which will give you great ideas for college students or young folks who have moved out; those two groups always need kitchen/cleaning/useful stuff as they tend to spend their money elsewhere (dance clubs, cough!).
The gifts section does have some cute items, like graphic wallets made from old airmail envelopes- perfect for the traveler in your family! And one of my favorite gifts on the web, a hands-free device for mobile phones that’s made from recycled and natural materials. It will keep your giftee safer on the road and green too.
For the Purist
ABC Carpet and Home’s “Home and Planet” section features gifts for those who value health and cleanliness, but still enjoy a hint of luxury. Organic bed linens, for a toxin-free nights’ rest, air purifiers, mini-fountains for at-home relaxation, organic wool shawls, beautiful hand-woven baskets, aromatherapy and the most attractive water filtration systems you’ve ever seen are sure to please the picky purist.
For the Homebody
Green Depot offers much of what Home Depot does, just greener. If you know a couple who has just moved into their first home, or a retiree who is in the midst of a massive renovation project (or just someone who always happens to be in the middle of some kind of DIY home-improvement project!), Green Depot is a fantastic resource.
Great gifts could include non-toxic cleaners, insulation made from recycled denim, forest-friendly cedar shingles, low- or no-VOC paint, or even something as simple as a solar-powered lantern or flashlight – and if you’re not sure if you will get it right, you can always try a gift certificate to the store. Green Depot is based in NYC, but ships worldwide.