This was originally posted for Christmas, but these ideas are great year-round so I’ve updated the list a bit, enjoy!
On gift giving and receiving occasions, some people really enjoy just getting gift cards, handmade gifts, special food items that their Grandma only makes once a year, or tickets to their favourite show. However, sustainable gifts don’t have to be crunchy, and lots of people do want a new material gift for their birthday or Christmas, which is totally OK!! It’s a time of giving, of anticipation of what’s inside those beautifully wrapped boxes, and it’s a lot of fun!
So if you’re looking for a shiny new gift for a special someone and aren’t sure where to start your sustainable present shopping, look no further. Whether they like organic goods, fair trade items, products that give back with every purchase or are all about being totally natural and chemical free, I guarantee there is something in this list for them!
I have put together a list of items and brands that I love, use, have tried or have followed for a while to help you choose that perfect gift for your loved one! Some of these are just cool brands with items that would be good as gifts, some are actual gift suggestions. Whatever, you’re smart. You can figure it out haha.
BTW: Because there are so many items, they are divided into sections – Clothing & Apparel, Shoes, Accessories, Health & Beauty, Eats & Treats, aaaaand random cool crap that I didn’t have a tidy category for, haha!
Sustainable Gifts For Him & Her
Clothing & Apparel
1. People Tree. Fair trade apparel for men and women, made of organic cotton. They carry trendy clothing for casual and professional wear.
2. Beyond Beanie. Cute, everyday wearable toques for men and women. For every beanie purchased, the company provides for a child in need.
3. Slumlove Sweater Company. Fairly traded clothing made in Nairobi, Kenya from organic and natural materials. Think comfy, basic sweaters that will match everything.
4. Ten Tree Apparel. 10 trees are planted for every item purchased. I love how these tees and hoodies look. Think like Roxy type hoodies and cool tees you’d find at West 49 or Boathouse or whatever. IDK I don’t shop at those places but I do love these tops.
5. Brain Tree Clothing. Super cute everyday clothing for men and women made of sustainable fibres like bamboo and organic cotton.
6. Noctu Organic Pyjamas. I’m pretty sure everyone loves getting cozy new PJs for Christmas! Check out Noctu for minimalistic, elegant organic cotton nightwear.
7. Oliberte. The world’s first certified fair trade, free-range leather footwear. I personally own these shoes and love them! They’d be an awesome gift for someone who likes funky hipster-esque shoes
8. Inkkas. These shoes are actually pretty similar in looks to Oliberte, but with more South American type print on the sides. Also a really cool option for someone with funky style who likes shoes. The website claims that the shoes are hand made by local artisans, and with each purchase, a tree is planted in areas affected by deforestation.
9. Fortress of Inca. Similar looks to what you’ll find at Aldo, although these shoes can be a bit more pricey. However, that’s because these shoes are made by artisans in the developing world who are paid fair wages.
10. TOMS. Pretty sure you know what these are, but if not, TOMS are the one for one footwear. You buy a pair, they give a pair to a person in need. Pretty awesome, if you ask me! I’ve owned these shoes and destroyed them (because they were so comfy I wore them every freaking day haha), and totally recommend them as a fun Christmas gift!
11. 31 Bits. OK. This jewellery is SO CUTE and is made of recycled materials and provides meaningful work for women in Uganda. This would be a perfect gift for your sister, friend, mum or aunt who likes trendy statement jewellery.
12. Tree Hut Watches. This would be a really awesome gift for the difficult-to-buy-for guy on your list. Wooden watches often made of sustainable wood (bamboo). You can even have the person’s name engraved on the watch!
13. 1:Face Watches. Each watch you purchase gives to cause. The styles could suit for both men and women, and you can get analogue watches or digital ones that look pretty much identical to the Apple watch.
14. The Tote Project. This brand carries such cute, water colour painted totes and clutches with BEEEAUTIFUL graphics and inspiring words and quotes (I may be buying myself one. IDK. Haven’t decided yet.
15. Mat & Nat Vegan Leather Handbags. Classic, sleek designs. Durable, luxurious vegan leather. Several of my girlfriends have these bags and wallets and loooove them. This is a great option for someone who loves handbags and purses that look really classy!
Health & Beauty
16. Cruelty-Free Makeup Sets. Most girls I know love makeup. Or at least like it. If she’s careful about buying safe makeup that’s also good to animals, look for holiday gift sets or palettes from one of these brands: Smashbox, Tarte, The Body Shop, Bite Beauty, Urban Decay.
17. LUSH. What’s not to love at LUSH around Christmas? Natural body washes, face masks, bath salts, etc. Pamper your SO with Christmas themed bath bombs or one of their holiday gift sets.
18. The Honest Company. So Jessica Alba has created a company of safe, natural products with two “sections,” if you will. A health and wellness “section,” and a makeup/beauty “section.” You can bundle items or just buy items by themselves. This is another great option for a girl who loves makeup but doesn’t love the chemicals that often come with it.
Eats & Treats
20. Oh She Glows Cookbook . Well you can’t really eat this… but it’s a very popular vegan cookbook that’s been talked up by just about everyone I know. If your SO likes alternative food or cooking or is just interested in going vegan or vegetarian, this book is a great place to start!
21. Fair Trade or Organic Coffee or Tea. Fair trade coffee and tea are available just about everywhere now, if you look in the health food or gluten-free aisles at the grocery store. Some brands to get you started:
Tea: Numi, Yogi, Mauka Tea, Amoda Tea.
Coffee: Saltsping, Level Ground, Ethical Bean.
22. Fair Trade Chocolate. Having an office Secret Santa? Need a last minute stocking stuffer or something to fill out a gift basker? Grab a bar of Fair Trade Chocolate from the health food or gluten free aisle of the local grocer (that’s often where you’ll find the fair trade goods, for some reason!)
Random Cool Crap
23. Ten Thousand Villages and the Oxfam Shops carry beautiful handmade gifts around Christmas. Have a look online or in-store.
24. Rusticlub curates beautiful wooden accessories (mainly watches) from around the world. Every item purchased = 1 tree planted.
25. Vancouver Candle. Made locally in small batches, there’s one for every major neighbourhood in Vancouver. You can find these candles for sale all over the city in the little local shops.
26. Camping gear. This is a bit of a strange one, because in and of itself, camping doesn’t really help save the planet or people. HOWEVER, I believe that the more time one spends with nature, the more one wants to help protect it. Plus, you’ll be helping your friend or family member stay active, which is vital to living a happy, healthy life! You can also find earth-friendly camping gear at EarthEasy.com.
27. Sackcloth & Ashes blankets. For every blanket you purchase, one is donated to a homeless shelter near you.
28. Specialty Beer From a Local Brewer. If your SO is into craft brewing (as are many on the West Coast), I suggest picking up a couple bottles of interesting and/or obscure beer for your honey to try out. Some places to start: Four Winds, Driftwood, Bridge Brewing.
29. BottleCloth. Tablecloths and placemats made from recycled bottles. The designs are modern and deliciously interesting.