A Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide

It is my absolute favorite time of the year. Only out of respect for others do I postpone spreading my holiday cheer until the start of November. It takes all the self-control in my entire being to wait until after Thanksgiving to put up my tree.

November also means that many are looking for the perfect gift for the holidays. Finding eco-friendly, fair trade and sustainable companies can be tricky, so I love reading gift guides from eco-minded bloggers like Sustainably Chic.

To add my two cents, I have created a list inspired by different “kinds” of people- the beauty lover, the minimalist, the chef, etc. All of the items I share are available online. If you can shop locally at handmade or second hand shops, that is an even lower impact option, but we know that can be challenging with all the hustle and bustle.

So onto the gifting...

These ideas could certainly benefit a lover of food as well!


Spices can vary greatly in quality. I treasure good spices and know other cooking lovers that do as well. Many cities have spice shops where you can get a spice gift box or you can package up a few spices yourself. Try to steer clear from the odd spices that stand no chance of use and buy spices in glass jars over plastic if possible.

If you don’t have a local spice shop, Savory Spice Shop and Frontier Co-Op are a few of my online favorites.

Here are a few tips if you are not familiar with the ways of the kitchen:

  • For the baker, here are my top recommendations: Cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla extract, or vanilla bean.

  • For the Italian food lover, here are my top recommendations: Oregano, basil, thyme, or rosemary.

  • For the Indian food lover, here are my top recommendations: coriander, mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin seed, fenugreek, or a curry blend.

Thrive Market

If you are gifting someone who values organic foods, Thrive Market is great! They are aiming to be a zero waste company as well, so bravo for sustainability. Their products are natural and often organic. Shoppers can select products based on dietary preferences, as well. As a gift, you can purchase a gift card and let your food adoring friend or family member shop to their heart’s content.

Vegetarian or Seasonal Cookbook

Meatless and seasonal cookbooks are a great way to encourage lower impact cooking amongst your friends. Here are a few of my favorites (with their links to Amazon):

The Oh She Glows Cookbook

Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking

Isa Does It

DIY Idea

Want to give a less expensive present with a personal touch? Make a quick batch of my Coconut Cashew Granola, package it in a mason jar and add a ribbon for the perfect gift.

These presents are all the necessary elements for a relaxing day of coziness and for that person in your life that likes to spend winter cuddled in a warm bed.


This company makes cozy comforters from recycled plastic and eucalyptus. By sourcing more sustainable materials, each comforter saves around 1000 gallons of water and prevents 50 plastic bottles from being thrown into the garbage (or ocean). It also comes with a 30 day free trial so you or your special someone can see if it is a match made in heaven.


Affordable, ethically made, and organic comfy clothes!? Yessss, all these are finally possible throughPact. I already snagged several pairs of their pants because they are well made, fit great and are super comfortable! They have women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, including sleepwear, undergarments, and workout gear. They also have Christmas socks for that extra hint of organic holiday cheer! Use this link to get 20% off your purchase.

Arbor Teas

Cuddle days are not complete without hot beverages (more on coffee below). Arbor Teas is a company that sells organic and fair-trade teas available in bulk. Tea bags have micro plastics in them (which prevents most from being compostable), so buying tea in bulk is a great way to avoid added plastic waste! You could also include a strainer or a handcrafted mug to round out the gift.


Coffee is the life blood of most early risers. Gift them coffee from a local coffee shop or go with an online purchase from Crema or Four Letter Word, both zero waste coffee shops dedicated to sustainability, ethically sourced and DELICIOUS coffee (my coffee expert husband loves them!).

These ideas are for the person in your life that loves all things beauty- skin care, makeup, hair care and nails. There are many amazing companies out there, but I have included a few of my favorites here:


A friend introduce me to this company earlier this year and I fell in love. They hire women to create unique, natural and responsibly sourced beauty products. My all time favorite product is their Nilotica Goddess Glow. I wear it every day for the perfect touch of glow no matter the season. Their products are pricier, but if you follow them on Facebook, they often have 20-40% off coupon codes.

Wooden Spoon Herbs

I grew up with the amazing founder of this company. They have a variety of products from elixirs to teas to beauty balms. I included them under this category for their toners, moisturizing cremes,serums, masks and oils, but check out their other products while you peruse. Everything is naturally crafted and beautifully packaged!

100% Pure

I love everything I have tried from this company devoted to all natural and sustainably crafted beauty products. Their headquarters are solar powered and they are devoted to reducing their carbon footprint at all stages of the production chain. They are pricier, but if it’s in your budget, I have been very impressed. They even have gift sets ready for holiday purchasing!

Ella + Mila

This company sells wonderful cruelty-free and vegan nail and lip products. I have only used their nail polish so I cannot vouch for the lip products, but I really enjoy their polishes. I am also in love with their lavender nail polish remover that is natural and gentle on the nails. It only takes off their polish, but I LOVE it. You could also gift Organic RoseHip Oil with a polish as it is a wonderful cuticle oil (and can be used on the hair, body, and face).

The Unwrapped Life

I love the Unwrapped Life. They are a Canadian company that aims to help people live sustainable, low-waste and plastic free lives. I have enjoyed their soaps and shampoo bars and think theirBergamont and Blood Orange Sugar Scrub would make a great gift! Until the end of the year, they have free shipping on Sundays if you use the code “SundayFunday.”

DIY Idea

You can also make your own brown sugar scrub. Blend a one to one ratio of nourishing oil (I use avocado oil) with brown sugar in a mason jar. You can add essential oils of your choice for scent. Add a bow and it is a beautiful, low-cost gift!

As a minimalist, I only have one purse and the basics for shoes. This means when I buy accessories, they really have to be the perfect item. The following are two of my favorite companies that create stunning and sustainable products.

Matt and Nat

This company sells simple and beautiful accessories for men & women including shoes, bags, and small accessories. Definitely more expensive, but absolutely lovely!

JW Pei

This company sells luxury vegan handbags and wallets as well as gorgeous watches. Many of their products combine vegan leather and recycled plastic. They are also a bit more affordable than Matt and Nat.

Dear Survivor

This California based company makes sustainably sourced earrings and necklaces. The founder donates part of their profits to GenerateHope, a non-profit devoted to helping the survivors of sex trafficking. They are beautiful statement pieces!

For your friend who values a natural and minimalist home, check out my favorite shops for home goods (and some have beauty products as well). Devoted to reducing waste and plastic, these options will spread eco-friendly Christmas cheer.

The Good Fill

A Nashville based small business devoted to all things zero waste. I am in absolute love with their safety razor (and so are the men in my life). They offer refillable house and body products as well asgift cards. I find them much more affordable than many zero waste shops and have had a wonderful experience purchasing from them.

Wild Minimalist

This shop is devoted to helping people along their zero waste journey. They have a wide array of home and beauty essentials. Some of my favorites include this market bag, lip and cheek stain, and theirpostcard set. They also have a few adorable gifts for children.

Package Free Shop

This Brooklyn zero-waste all star store has cleaning and office items and beauty products. While you may not want to buy that special someone a toothbrush, beard balm, body salt scrub, candles, and lip repair balm are all good gift options.

DIY Idea

Beeswax wraps are a fantastic kitchen gift for storing food and packing food to go. Store bought beeswax wraps can be pricy, but you can make a big batch of them for friends and family for much less. Follow this tutorial for step by step instructions. I recommend purchasing a pretty, thin, 100% cotton fabric to boost the wraps’ holiday cheer (versus mine made from old pillowcases).

Want To Give an “Experience” Instead?

Want to go the experience route over purchasing gifts? It can be a wonderful way to spend quality time with others, especially that person who “has everything.” I recommend checking out Going Zero Waste’s comprehensive idea list on “Experience Gifts” for a wonderful list of ideas ranked from least to most expensive.

If you have more ideas or sustainable favorites, please share in the comments!