Earth friendly gifting is important to my husband and me, but we also have two princess-loving, fashion-obsessed, plastic-playing little girls in our home. Last Christmas morning, we looked around at the amount of stuff everywhere and shuddered at our carbon footprint.
It was eye-opening enough to set us onto a year-long course of being more mindful every day. This time of year, there are simple things you can do to cut down on your waste and be kinder to the earth. Using recycled gift wrap is a perfect start. I actually save gift bags and reuse them again and again — you can also swap those out for canvas totes or other reusable containers. Cook a meat-free meal on Christmas morning. Light a fire and turn down your Thermostat. You get the idea.
But another great way to be environmentally conscious at the holidays is with green gifting. Your kids probably have a list of things they want that don’t fall into this category and that’s fine. But filling in with sustainably produced and packaged, all-out recycled or refurbished, and DIY items can make a huge difference. Check out this roundup of the best green gifts for the whole family:
My kids opening their box from Kids on 45th!
Recycled Kid Clothes Subscription Box
The retail industry is a big culprit in waste, but any tiny fashion maven will tell you they want clothes under the tree or beside the Menorah. I am obsessed with my latest discovery, Kids on 45th, an innovative company that delivers a box of gently used kids’ clothing to your doorstep for the kiddos to pick through and “shop.” Prices for what you keep start at $1.99. You fill out some info about your children’s sizes and preferences, and bam! Our first box contained Janie & Jack, Gap Kids, and more awesome name brands.
Your kids might not know it, but rocking second-hand clothing is an absolutely incredible choice you can make for our earth because it reduces packaging and production waste and makes clothing less likely to end up in landfills. A Kids on 45th box is a gift you’re giving Mother Earth too! Use code MOMTASTIC at checkout for $10 off your first box.
Earth-Friendly Beauty Products
Got a mom, dad, grandparent, friend, or neighbor who could use a little love this time of year? Earth-conscious beauty basics make sweet stocking stuffers or lovely gift sets for the grownups in your life. I am partial to brands that think about waste and make a serious effort to cut that out.
Take My Face Off has a ton of fun gift for moms, teenagers, or anyone who wears makeup. Their reusable facial cleansing mitt eliminates the need for disposal cotton balls and wipes, and it’s gentle on the skin. ($26, purchase here). Other things your favorite beauty buffs might like include Lush’s Dirty Toothy Tabs which are vegan and clay-based with minimal waste; Bee You Organic makeup & skincare; and just about anything from Dirty Hippie Cosmetics.
Green Toys for Kids
What’s in a name? In the case of the company Green Toys, quite a bit actually. Our family absolutely adores this toy brand, not least of all because they’re super fun to play with — and visually appealing, too! But beyond the fact that the kids love it, environmentally minded parents will, too. The entire product line is made of recycled milk jugs*, the packaging is made of 100% recycled cardboard**, and nothing they carry is battery-powered, so you won’t make excess waste with use. Powered on imagination? Yes, please!
*To date the brand has recycled over 84 million plastic milk jugs.
**Each recycled Green Toys box saves one gallon of water.
Other “green” toy brands & items the kids on your list will adore:
- Personalized name puzzle on Etsy (from $11).
- Kids’ quiet books: these handmade gems are way better for hand-eye coordination and attention span than screen time, and are made in the US of environmentally conscious materials. From $70.
- Eco-Dough: the sustainably made answer to every kids’ favorite past time. $15.
- Pretend Play doll feeding set ($29.99) by PlanToys. This set is made of non-toxic, earth-friendly materials and the company donates a portion of sales to a children’s museum in Thailand and to reforest nearby cities.
Teens & Tweens: Cool Stuff that Loves the Earth
The current crop of young adults is hugging trees and saving turtles, and they deserve holiday gifts that do the same. Reusable straws like the ones shown (Etsy, from $2.50) aren’t just trendy: they’re wonderful for the earth. Check out these other ideas for teen stocking stuffers and bigger gifts over Christmas, Hanukkah, and into the New Year:
- Personalized reusable water bottle reduces plastic waste and looks cute, too! Around $19.
- Environmental Wish Bracelets are such a special way to help your budding fashionista give back this season.
- Bamboo toothbrushes are all the rage — and won’t end up in a landfill! From $5, Amazon.
- F*ck Plastic Book; $13.
Environmentally-Friendly Hostess Gifting
Headed to a holiday dinner party or drinks with a gal pal? Green hostess gifts are the trendy way to say, “I love you and the planet!” Etsy has lots of fun finds, including these beautiful zero-waste kitchen towels, (from $27). I also love these reusable bread bags, this take on green coffee filters, and these adorable recycled cork coasters at under $3 each! Just type “sustainable hostess gifts” into your Etsy search tab and let the fun begin.
Eco-Conscious Baby Gifts
New bundle of love in your arms this holiday season? Look into recycled, upcycled, handmade, and organic baby clothes and toys for the best green gifts for babies. I’m expecting a little niece or nephew right around Christmas, so my research on this topic has been extensive of late! Top finds include:
- Wood baby grasping toys by Clover & Birch at Maisonette, $22
- Eco-friendly organic diapers from Made Of (Check out their newborn Organic Essentials bundle for only $50)
- Reusable squeeze bags for baby food and toddler purees — saves all those other squeeze pouches ending up in a landfill! Use code OURLIFEINROSEGOLD for 20% off your order at Twistshake. (From $5)
- Bamboo tableware for babies & toddlers (around $20/set) on Amazon
- Handmade baby & toddler wear by Charlie & Will on Etsy: no overhead, environmentally-conscious packaging, and hand-making for the win! (Prices vary and start at $8 for baby accessories).
- Crocheted broccoli teether for babies because why the heck not? ($6 each)
My hands-down favorite unisex baby sleeper is this Egyptian cotton outfit ($32), from Under the Nile, an incredible Cairo-based company that partners with local farmers to create ethically conscious fabrics and baby goods that are extra-soft on baby’s delicate skin. And the fruit and veggie print? I die!