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Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts

It happens every year – the temperature drops, the smell of a wood-burning fireplace wafts in the air, and I break out my favorite boots and leather jacket for the first time of the season. These are just a few of the triggers that make me want to begin my holiday shopping! Throw in a few Christmas tunes and an eggnog latte, and my Visa begins to see more action than it’s seen in months. 

And then comes the guilt brought on by the pile of cardboard boxes at my front door and the shopping bags exploding from my pantry. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that reducing unnecessary waste — like ordering an excess of single use boxes, plastic bags, or non-reusable products — is beneficial for all of us. 

Thankfully though, we still have an entire month to make sustainable shopping choices and help curb our holiday carbon footprint! And, with so many of us working from home, we might have a little extra time on our hands during the month of December. Why not use this time to make some smart shopping choices that will have little or no impact on our environment. So, without further ado, here are some eco-friendly gift options that are sure to keep you off (Clean) Santa’s Naughty List:

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ANNUAL PASS – $80 – Who doesn’t need to spend more time outdoors? The America the Beautiful Annual Pass to the National Park Service is the ideal gift in a year when we are encouraged to spend more time outside. There are more than 400 national parks in the USA, so there is somewhere close to everyone.  Be sure to check the website for specific visitation guidelines for each park.

HYGGELIGHT’S GROWING CANDLE – $30 -What do you usually do with your candle jars after use? Why not grow a plant adding (some oxygen) to your home’s atmosphere. This low waste produced candle comes with wildflower seeds included in the purchase price; all you need is to find some dirt!

NO BOUNDS PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER – $59 – The House of Marley brings an ecological POV to this year’s technology gifts. It’s waterproof, dustproof, and made from sustainable cork. You will be the celebrity gifter in the eyes of your teen if you buy this one!

GROVE SUBSCRIPTION – Grove Collaborative is an ecologically minded company that offers subscription programs for home and beauty. The company lives by the Grove Standard, which is, “Everything available at Grove has met our standards for non-toxicity, efficacy, and sustainability, and is cruelty-free.” Some products will be familiar to you, and others will be new. The great thing is that each month you are given the opportunity to see what items are included, and you can pick and choose which items you want. Who wouldn’t want a gift like this!?

PUBLIC GOODS LOTION – $5 – Feel good about the plastic you use – or don’t use any at all! This inexpensive luxe lotion is packaged with sugar-cane based plastic and is tree and petroleum-free. The lotion itself is made from sustainably sourced oils. And, if you don’t want another plastic bottle, it’s only $6 extra for a 34-oz refill pack, which allows you to pour the lotion into any bottle you may already have. Sounds like a great stocking stuffer to me!

DIGITAL GIFT CARDS – Those of us who are old fashioned may have an aversion to digital gift cards, but anyone under the age of 30 will thank you ten times over for such a well thought out gift! Millennials and younger have grown up in the digital age. This is the currency they love the most! For bonus points, skip the physical gift card (do we need more plastic?!). Either send the gift via email or print off a gift certificate on paper and slip it in an envelope. The best thing ever, you never have to set foot in a store.

LIVING COMPOSTER – $199 – This counter-sized composter looks more like a Danish sculpture than a composting ecosystem! This fully-contained composter sits on your counter and works its magic. It processes up to 2-pounds of food waste per week and delivers luscious, nutrient-rich soil for your garden.

SOFi CLASSIC STRAWS – $12 for 200 – Paper straws are so nice…until they get soggy, that is. Well, SOFi fixed that problem by utilizing a sustainable material that resembles the durable component of a paper bag found at the grocery store. Although strong, the straw is able to decompose within 60 days.  

DONATE TO A CHARITY – In a world where many of us have “too much stuff,” why not gift your friends’ donations to charities that would have special meaning to them? This win-win solution tells your friend that you are thinking about them without cluttering their mantelpiece. 

THE ZERO WASTE COOKBOOK – $22.99 – The Zero Waste Cookbook gives you 100 recipes to help you utilize all parts of the ingredients you use. This guide not only gives you immediate recipes, but it also instills life-long habits to help you reduce food waste overall.

BOLL & BRANCH FLANNEL ROBE – $95 – Boll & Branch is known for some of the most luxurious sheets this side of the Atlantic, but did you know they have some other high-end gifts that satisfy your ecologically minded shopping list? This women’s flannel robe is 5-star rated, and like a fine wine, it improves with age.

THE WORLD WILDLIFE FUND – $55 – For a donation of $55 to the World Wildlife Fund, you can select a specific animal to “adopt,” and you will be gifted a matching stuffed animal. The WWF also has a complete catalog of gifts for all ages – some charitable and some actual gifts that support the mission of the WWF.

MUSEUM MEMBERSHIPS – Experiences are the perfect, eco-friendly gift for anyone for whom it is impossible to shop. Museums, zoos, and arboretums have been hit hard by coronavirus fallout. By gifting memberships to your favorite non-profit museums, you are hitting two birds with one stone: helping an organization in need as well as giving your Secret Santa recipient a great experience. The Smithsonian is a great option for anyone within driving distance of Washington DC.

AVOCADO GREEN PILLOW – $89 – We all sleep. If we are lucky, we sleep 30% of our life. So help your loved ones sleep better by investing in quality sleep accouterment. Like its counterpart, the Green Mattress, the Green Pillow by Avocado is a quality product that has the eco-minded folks raving! The pillows are made of organic, certified latex, and certified organic kapok. These pillows are GREENGUARD Gold certified, vegan, and handmade in Los Angeles. Better yet, they are easily adjustable (they are sold with additional filling so you can adjust the firmness of your pillow yourself!).

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