A few years ago, I realized how stressful and expensive it was to buy gifts for everyone on my holiday list. I wanted/needed to show my love for the people I cared about with thoughtful and meaningful gifts. It seemed impossible to shop for everyone and stay within my budget, reducing me to buying subpar junk (non-sustainable and not eco-friendly) that certainly ended up going unused or thrown away. While my intentions were in the right place, it was poorly executed and didn’t align with the values of living a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.
What I did to change…
In recent years I have made some changes to save my wallet and sanity. As a result, I am a much better gift giver. To start, I changed gifting in my friend group- we have opted for time together over gifts. We all spend a day together enjoying delicious food and community in lieu of gifts. For instance, one year we all went to a play followed by dinner and drinks, certainly a more eco-friendly gift idea.
Secondly, I worked with my family and changed our gift-giving traditions. Now my family draws names on a fall holiday to determine who to give holiday gifts to. As a result, each person has only one person to shop for within a defined budget and each person gets the gifts they truly want/need. Thus, drastically reducing the junk we all find ourselves with in the new year.
Although there are a few additional people on my list, work colleagues I adore, and a neighbor or two, my list is much shorter. However, with a much shorter list, I have time and budget to procure a meaningful, thoughtful, and quality gift that the recipient will truly love. Nowadays I avoid buying poor quality, wasteful items that will only add to our landfills.
Things to ask before you try to buy an eco-friendly gift….
When shopping for gifts, I want to ensure I am a conscious and sustainable shopper. I make sure to ask the following questions before making a purchase to help avoid buying expendable knickknacks-
- Is this something the recipient will love and enjoy for years to come (unless a food item/experience)?
- Was this crafted with eco-friendly and sustainable materials?
- Are the people making the gift paid fairly and treated with respect?
A sustainable and eco-friendly gift will answer all of these questions with ease and transparency. If the answers are too hard to find, you have most likely stumbled upon a non-sustainable brand.
Now the 21 Best Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts Under $100
Everyone can use a little self-care. This kit from Botany Barn Canada comes with two handmade soaps, a plastic-free lotion bar, and two eco-friendly lip balms. What I love about this gift set is that you have endless combinations of soaps, lotion, and lip balm, all made with organic scented oils and are 100% palm-oil free.
Ethics: Handmade small-batch products, Organic and Sustainable material
Location: Canada. Ships Canada and the United States
This sustainable Fressko bamboo bottle makes the perfect eco-friendly gift as it is fashionable and functional. It is insulated with a leak-proof lid to keep your hot items hot and cold items cold. It comes with a stainless steel filter nestled inside to easily infuse your beverage with tea, fruit, coffee, and more. the nearly unbreakable bamboo exterior makes it a perfect travel buddy.
Ethics: Safe and Fair Labor standards, Renewable Materials
Location: Australia, Ships World Wide
Materials: Bottle Exterior: Raw Bamboo, Inner Bottle: Food Grade 304 18/8 Stainless Steel
With age I am learning that there are few things as precious as time- so why not treat a cherished individual to a meal together. Pick a place you know they will love and create a custom gift certificate detailing the location- this gives you an opportunity to control the budget while choosing a thoughtful place to spend some time together.
Price: Varies, but controllable based on location
Ethics: Package-free gifting- the ability to choose locally sourced food with care for their employees.
Anne-Marie Bonneau created the beautiful book- Zero Waste Chef, full of plant-forward recipes and tips for a sustainable kitchen and planet. Everything from working with sourdough starters to utilizing what we would traditionally think of as scraps. This is a book you’ll come back to over and over again. Offered at many online retailers. Bonus for giving a digital copy or scoring a second-hand copy online!
Price: $25.00 new
Ethics: Focused on Eco-Friendly kitchen
The Travel Cork Yoga Mat 2mm from Scoria is a winner in our book. This yoga mat is made of anti-microbial and sustainably harvested cork with a natural rubber backing. A great eco-friendly gift for an active person in your life. For something more pair it with a few classes to a local studio!
Ethics: Ethically and Sustainable materials, Giveback: for every mat sold, Scoria donates 10 meals to those in need through Feeding Children Everywhere, Plastic Free Packaging, Shipping package is recyclable.
Materials: Made with naturally anti-microbial cork, Backed by natural tree rubber unlike other mats with synthetic TPE/PVC, Carrying strap: 50% polyester, 50% organic cotton
Aura Que designs create a fashionable unisex Fairtrade felt slipper that makes a perfect eco-friendly gift for anyone on your list. Made from 100% raw sheep wool, your gift will be sure to bring the joy of cozy feet to the recipient for years to come.
Ethics: Fair Trade Certified, Water waste reduction in place, Recycled Shipping Materials
Location: Made in Nepal, Shipping worldwide from the UK
Size Range: Women 5-12, Men 6- 13
Materials: 100% Raw Sheep’s Wool, Natural Buffalo Suede
Full Circle Home prides itself on sustainable products to bring friends and family together and that is exactly what you get with this apron. A perfect eco-friendly gift for the individual who loves to cook, or just hates to get their clothes dirty in the kitchen. A great idea to pair with Zero Waste Chef Cookbook (#4 on the list)!
Materials: 100% organic and weighted cotton and colored with plant-based dyes
Ethics: B-Corp Certified, Recycled Packaging, Organic and Sustainable Materials
Size: One Size
Aplat makes a beautiful double-layer organic cotton tote in San Francisco, CA. A perfect gift for the eco-conscious wine lover (although you could carry not only wine). With pockets for a wine key and cups, this makes a great gift alone or perhaps with a favorite bottle of sustainable wine – perhaps from Benziger Family Winery
Ethics: 100% 100% GOTS certified cotton, Made in USA, Carbon Neutral shopping.
Materials: 100% Organic Cotton
I always have aspirations of packing my tiny toiletry bag for a trip, needless to say, it is never big enough. Tiradia Cork solves that problem with the Room for Two Dopp Kit, made of natural cork with natural dyes, this eco-friendly gift would be well-loved by all.
Ethics: Vegan PETA-approved, Plastic Free, Handcrafted in small batches, 1% for the Planet
Materials: Made of natural cork
Size Range: 1 Size, 3 Colors
Everyone could use more time in nature- with this sustainable Coalatree double hammock, your gift recipient will have a cozy place to enjoy while relaxing outside. Coalatree makes all its products in green facilities using recycled materials. This unique gift is sure to bring joy for years to come.
Ethics: Recycled materials, Bluesign® certified facilities, All shipping packaging is recyclable and made from recycled content
What is better than a gift that everyone in the family can use. This wobble board by Bunny Hopkins is a family-friendly favorite. This toy can be used by the young and young at heart to improve core strength and balance, or as a place to let a little one’s imagination go wild. A toy to last many seasons of life.
Ethics: Made in the USA, Eco-Friendly shipping materials, Free of Toxins, Sustainably harvested wood
Range: Two sizes, Starter and Regular
Maggie’s Organics makes this organic cotton throw (along with many other items) and is known for high quality and exceptionally soft and heavenly feel. The person to receive this gift will be sure to appreciate the fully transparent supply chains as they cozy up in this throw.
Materials: GOTS certified cotton,
Ethics: GOTS Certified Cotton, Fairtrade Certified, Responsibly and ethically made, Ships in recyclable packaging
Screen time is not something that many of us are lacking these days, and that is why a pair of blue light glasses from Swway would make the perfect sustainable gift. Healthy for the receiver, blocking out harmful blue light, and great for the environment with their eco-friendly production and closed-loop business model.
Ethics: Climate Neutral Certified, B-Corp Certified, 1% for the Planet, Closed-loop shopping
Range: Multiple Unisex Styles
**For Kids Blue Light Glasses, check out these amazing ones by Parafina!
We spend lots of money on our high-tech phones, why not buy an eco-friendly phone case to protect them. I have personally had a Pela Case for my last two phones, each lasting longer than the phone did. These cases are fashionable, easy to clean, and protected my phone from more falls than I could count. Getting this eco-friendly gift would make my holiday season!
Price: $39.95-49.95(varies by style and color)
Materials: Flaxstic®, which is comprised of compostable bioplastic elastomer and flax straw materials
Location: Canada- ships worldwide
Ethics: Climate Neutral Certified, B-Corp Certified, 1% for the Planet, Shipped in recyclable packaging
This is one of those super practical gifts that almost everyone could use in their life. Different cables, cords, and headphones make for such a tangled mess. Tiradia has solved that with this eco-friendly gift- the best cable organizers sustainably made in Portugal. Whoever receives this is sure to thank the giver!
Price: $30 (4 pack)
Ethics: Certified Cruelty-Free, Recycled packaging, PETA Approved Vegan
Range: 3 Colors
Ground Truth takes bags seriously and as a result, makes them stylish and durable. Their Shopping tote 3.1 is made from 100% recycled felt. It has superior functionality with long shoulder handles and cut-out grab handles and bonus points for the pockets. This bag would make a great eco-friendly gift for anyone on your list.
Ethics: 100% Recycled materials, Ethically Manufactured, Carbon Negative productions.
Materials: 100% recycled PET Ballistic 1200D and 100% recycled PET dense non-woven felt.
17. Slider Belt
The timeless slider belt from the incredibly sustainable UK-based Elvis and Kresse is handmade from genuine decommissioned firehose giving the recipient not only a fashionable accessory but a story to share.
Ethics: Donates 50% profits to charities, Vegan, Upcycled Materials
Location: UK, Ships worldwide
Range: Unisex one size fits all, two buckles Antique Silver or Antique brass,
18. Etiko Sneakers
Etiko’s makes a versatile, classic unisex style sneaker that is easy to dress up for an evening out, or down for running errands around town- upgraded with added arch support and a focus on the environment. These thoughtfully made sneakers are sure to please anyone lucky enough to receive them.
Ethics: GOTS Cotton, Certified Fairtrade, Vegan
Location: Australia, ships worldwide
Size Range: Men 4-12, Women 5.5-13.5
Who wouldn’t be thrilled to be gifted a Colorful Standard Recycled Wool Scarf for Christmas! Not only is it incredibly soft and stylish, but it is ethically made with 100% *RECYCLED* Extra Fine Merino Wool. Modern, simple, and everlasting. A “zero waste” garment knitted from luxuriously soft, extra-fine, Italian-spun merino in 29 stunning colors.
Ethics: 100% Recycled Extra-Fine Merino Wool, Environmentally Friendly Dye – Oeko-Tex®, Woolmark Certified Yarn, Made in Portugal
Range: One Size, Various colors
Cozy soft socks are the name of the game for Conscious Steps. These Fair Trade Certified and Vegan Certified socks are made from a high-quality organic cotton fabric blend and feature a seamless toe closure for a comfortable fit. Not only will the recipient get long-lasting wear from these, but for each pair purchased $1($3 for this set) is donated to Keep A Breast and their work to educate young people on breast cancer prevention.
Price: $40 ( 3 pairs)
Ethics: OEKO-TEX Certified, Fairtrade Certified, Donation for every purchase
Materials: 75% Organic Cotton, 23% Polyamide, 2% Spandex
Size Range: Women’s 5 – 9, Men’s 4 – 8
Nomadix has transformed the way adventure towels look, feel, and function. Not only are they sand and slip-resistant, but they are also soft and durable. I would also add from personal experience, they seem stain-resistant- no idea how my red wine spill left not a trace after it was washed. Nomadix focus on sustainability makes their towels a great eco-friendly gift for anyone on your list.
Ethics: Made with recycled plastic, Member of 1% for the planet, Ships plastic-free in packaging made from recycled content
Materials: 60% Recycled Polyester, 20% Polyester, 20% Nylon