‘Tis the season to buy, buy, buy… or at least that’s what the marketing and advertising industries tell us! Last year in the United States, more that 1 trillion dollars were spent on Holiday-related gifts and other purchases. There's a lot of money being funneled into big businesses, many of which are not promoting ethical practices or environmental sustainability. This Christmas season, why not seek out unique and earth-friendly gifts to delight everyone on your list?
Here’s an eclectic collection of gifts under $50 that we love!
Grow Bottle Basil Plant (Amazon.com, $32.94)
Know someone who might get a kick out of dipping their toes into aquaponics? Gift this handy kit that will allow them to grow a low-maintenance basil plant, no messy dirt required! A perfect gift for the amateur cook or health enthusiast. The grow bottle itself is made in the USA from a recycled wine bottle.
High Rise Bee House (Vivaterra.com, $19.00)
Save the Bees! 30% of the human food supply and 90% of wild plants depend on pollination from bees. Hang this stylish bee-home on an exterior wall of the home and create a safe haven in your backyard for these important and at-risk insects. The High Rise Bee House is made by hand from FSC® certified wood and bamboo tubes, then sealed with a nontoxic, water-based finish.
Grow Your Own Mushroom Kit (Earth Easy, $18.95)
Grow your own delicious oyster mushrooms in just 10 days! Not only are food growing kits a fun and sustainable gift idea, they have the added benefit of connecting the grower more deeply to the process of growing and harvesting food. This kit uses 100% recycled materials as the growing medium and is made in the USA.
Reusable Shopping Bags (Life Without Plastic, Organic Cotton Shopping Bag, $8.95 and Produce Bag $5.95)
Why use plastic bags for produce when these amazing reusable mesh bags serve the same purpose and can be used over and over? These solid and mesh bags are made from 100% certified organic cotton. Set someone on your list up to be the most stylish and conscious shopper at the farmers’ market!
Water Bottle (Swell Bottle, $25)
A sleek and stylish water bottle is a practical gift that is versatile enough to cover nearly anyone on your list. Made from stainless steel, Swell bottles keep beverages hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours. Plus, the company practices responsible manufacturing and gives back to clean water initiatives around the world.
Stasher Bags (Stasher Bag, $9.99-$19.99)
Stasher bags make great gifts for students, cooks, travelers, kids, and anyone on your list! For kids, stuff them with healthy snacks or art supplies. They make great stocking stuffers, too.
Gifts to Enjoy the Finer Things… Sustainably, Of Course
Babich Headwaters Organic Pinot Noir (Organic Wine, $42)
Originating in New Zealand, this vegan-friendly and organic-certified wine is a great hostess gift for a fancy holiday dinner party. Winner of many awards, this wine contains strong notes of wild herbs and red berries.
Divine Chocolate Gift Box (Divine Chocolate, $38.99)
The ultimate gift for a chocolate lover! This gift box set includes ten bars of fair trade chocolate from an amazing company that supports women-owned coops and responsible farming techniques. Flavors include 70% Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut Milk Chocolate, 85% Dark Chocolate, 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries, White Chocolate with Strawberries, Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Truffle, 70% Dark Chocolate with Mango & Coconut, Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt and 70% Dark Chocolate with Ginger & Orange.
Confetti Recycled Drinkware (Bambeco, $16-$28)
Soda bottles are rescued from the landfill and repurposed into these beautiful, elegant glassware pieces. Buy a set and pair them with a lovely bottle of wine. It’s a gift anyone can appreciate!
Of course, gifts don’t need to be objects, at all! A gift focused on an experience rather than “stuff” can be extremely meaningful and unique, and another great way to cut down on the environmental impact of your Christmas shopping list. Look for experience-based gifts that do good in the world for an extra something special- perhaps something attached to a cause the receiver cares about- conserving wildlife, supporting the arts, providing education.
A few ideas, depending on what’s available in your area, might include:
- Tickets to the ballet
- A cooking class
- A National Parks pass
- A gift certificate to a nice bed and breakfast
- A museum Membership
How are you planning on choosing eco-friendly and do-good gifts this holiday season?