Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts

gift decorated with twine, pine cone, and evergreen sprig
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On the hunt for that perfect gift this holiday season for your eco-conscious loved ones? We have some eco-friendly holiday gift suggestions for everyone on your list.

For the Animal Lover and Wildlife Preservationist

You can give the gift of protecting wild animals and habitat through the Sierra Club’s Adopt a Wild Animal — the recipient will receive an adorable plush animal. World Wildlife Fund also offers Symbolic Species Adoptions, with optional “adoption kit” for the recipient. Or, give the gift of trees through the National Forest Foundation and help restore National Forests. Alternatively, search for cruelty-free cosmetic or cleaning products on Cruelty Free International or look for products with the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free label in the store.

For the Person with a Green Thumb

Satisfy the urban gardener with Eartheasy’s gifts For the Gardener, and be inspired with ideas like an herb growing kit from Grow Bottles or a Vertical Gardening Wooly Pocket that lets your favorite gardener grow plants on walls in tight spaces.

For the Outdoors Enthusiast

Surprise your outdoorsy friend with the gift of an adventure that takes them into nature for a day or overnight trip. Some great options include a gift of the entrance fee to your nearest National Park for a hike, or a future camping trip that you plan — including transportation and meal preparation. Let them plan their own adventure by giving National Parks America the Beautiful Passes.

For the Artisanal Appreciator

If you hope to support independent artisans, check out the handcrafted gifts at The Little Market, a nonprofit whose social impact model helps artisans abroad transform their communities through poverty alleviation, women’s empowerment, and cultural preservation. Similar sites that help you support artisans worldwide through your purchases include Serrv and Ten Thousand Villages.

For the Recycler

Find a gift made that reinforces your appreciation of a friend’s recycling, such as these notebooks crafted from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Or search Uncommon Goods, a Certified B Corporation with a focus on sustainability, where you can find items like beautiful stemless wine glasses made from recycled glass and this upcycled cotton sari robe. Through its Better to Give program, Uncommon Goods donates $1 to a nonprofit organization with every purchase you make. 

For the Eco-Fashionista

Environmentally aware fashion labels are becoming more commonplace as awareness grows about the negative environmental and social implications of fast fashion. Check out this list of 35 fair trade and ethical clothing brands from The Good Trade that includes leading sustainable fashion brands like People Tree and Eileen Fisher.

For the Thrifter

Hit up your local charity thrift store and track down something unique and quirky that you know your re-use fanatic friend will appreciate. While some may consider this taboo or regifting, the thrifter says, “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.”

For the Philanthropist

Offer to donate to your loved one’s favorite nonprofit instead of buying them a gift. If they simply don’t want you spending your precious cash on them, give them a gift of your time. Volunteer for a day at their favorite local charity or give a card that includes chore vouchers like “valid for one afternoon of raking the yard, cooking dinner, or dog sitting.”

For the DIY-Friendly

DIY Natural has endless inspiration for making natural gifts at home, like this how-to on making soap. Or peruse this handy list of handmade green gift ideas from Totally Green Crafts. Finally, get inspired with our own collection of DIY ideas. Host a craft party with your friends and bust out that stack of old magazines and art supplies to make silly collages. After all, who can say no to a thoughtful, handmade gift?

Feature image: rawpixel on Pixabay

Editor’s note: Originally published on December 8, 2015, this article was updated in November 2018.

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Lesley Lammers

Lesley Lammers is a freelance sustainability consultant and journalist, focused on the intersection between the environment, food, social impact, human rights, health and entrepreneurship.

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