Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide

Hey y’all, welcome back to the blog! ‘TIS THE SEASON of gift giving and receiving. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably just now really starting to get in the mindset of Christmas shopping. Between classes, finals, travel and packing, I generally tend to wait until I get home to actually start thinking who I need to shop for and also what I would like to get them. Honestly, the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season hasn’t even set in for me yet.

We all have those people in our lives who are just hard to shop for because either they have everything or are just one of those people who will literally love anything you get for them. You obviously don’t want to not get them anything at all, yet you also don’t want to just take the easy way out and grab a last minute, thoughtless gift card either. You want a gift that has some thought behind it, right? So what do you do??

With Christmas in just two weeks, at this point, time (and funds – let’s be honest lol), are limited. If you’re drawing a blank on gift ideas, look no further my friends! I have curated a holiday gift guide with practical, inexpensive, eco-friendly gift ideas! This collection of products originates from things that I personally own or have bought for others as a gift in the past. The older I get, the more practical I become in not only the gifts that I want, but also those that I purchase for others.

Instead of wasting money on a gift that’s going to end up in someone’s goodwill pile by Valentine’s day, why not use this holiday to be more intentional with your gift giving and encourage someone to make a lifestyle change for the better all while doing good by Mother Earth?

By opting for an eco-friendly gift, you are helping a loved one jump start, or continue, on their journey of going green. These gift ideas are a great way to help others, or even yourself, incorporate sustainable practices into their lifestyle, without feeling like they’re going out of their way or being inconvenienced. I find that when it comes to going green, most people don’t do things simply because they are unaware, which is why I like to take opportunities like the holidays to teach them. You can use these gifts to spark up conversation at Christmas dinner. By no means do you have to shove environmentalism down your family’s throats at the table. Please don’t be that person, that’s no fun for anyone lol. What you CAN do is give an eco-friendly gift that is tailored to the lifestyle and routine of the person you’re buying for. This way it is something they like, will use (whether they know it’s better for the environment or not) and fits into their everyday routine. You’ll have your family out here being sustainable without even realizing it and before you know it, they may decide to take it step further and partake in other sustainable practices by their own merit! The point is, do your loved one, your wallet, and Mother Earth a favor by giving a gift that takes the first step for them and once you’ve familiarized them and gotten them started, you never know what could come of it. Even baby steps are a step forward. Direct links to purchase each item are included in the list – just click and enjoy!

1. Eco Tote (Reusable Bags)

ecototes.PNG

Reusable bags are inexpensive, versatile & a great way to make that first step toward living green in your everyday routine. Plastic bags are major source of pollution in our world’s oceans and often kill wildlife as they ingest them mistaking them for jellyfish. On top of that, plastic bags aren’t conveniently recycled. I use reusable bags for basically everything;  grocery bags, overnight bags, carry-ons, you name it. These totes make a great gift and can even be used as a gift bag for another Christmas gift — a sustainable alternative to paper gift wrap. That’s like 2 gifts in one! These can be purchased in a variety of sizes and design just about anywhere. My favorite place to buy them are Aldi and TJ Maxx (pictured – only 99 cents at TJ Maxx).

2. Reusable Water Bottle | Hydro Flask

water bottle

Whether glass or stainless steel, a reusable water bottle is definitely a must-have. This would make for a great stocking stuffer. A water bottle is a practical gift that everyone can use. Carrying around a reusable water bottle makes it easy to stop buying single use plastic bottles.

FUN FACTS:

  • Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year. (BanTheBottle.net)
  • In the U.S., public water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires multiple daily tests for bacteria and makes results available to the public. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates bottled water, only requires weekly testing and does not share its findings with the EPA or the public. (BanTheBottle.net)

3. Reusable Coffee Cup | Hydro Flask

coffee mug

This gift idea is in the likeness of the reusable water bottle. Encourage your coffee drinking loved ones to keep a reusable cup with them & stray away from the disposable paper cups. I find that stainless steel coffee mugs are often better insulated.

4. Stainless Steel Straws | Groupon

straws

Single use plastic straws are a nuisance and major source of pollution in streams and oceans worldwide. Plastic straws not only clutter our beautiful beaches but also harm wildlife and destroy vital ecosystems worldwide. As a result, more & more restaurants are beginning to provide plastic straws only upon request, which I think is great. You can take someone’s straw game a step further by gifting these reusable stainless steel straws. A lot of them even come with a convenient carrying case, so the next time you or a friend are eating out, y’all can just whip out your fancy sustainable straw & feel good about yourselves and your contribution to environmental movement 🙂

5. Reusable Storage Bags | Art of Liv’n

ziplocs

If you follow me on IG (@leangreenandeverythinginbtwn), you’ve seen me post about these before. Although convenient & cost effective, disposable plastic bags are not recyclable, and as a result end up in landfills and pollute water bodies after a short, single use life cycle. Say goodbye to plastic Ziploc bags & hello to reusable, non-toxic, eco-friendly snack & sandwich bags! Just ONE of these bags can last for as long as the life of 500 plastic baggies!! They keep your food fresh, are dishwasher safe and are free of lead, BPA, PVC and Phthalates. This is a great gift option for your lunch packing friends and family, especially those with school-aged children.

6. Bamboo Toothbrush | Amazon

toothbrush

Toothbrushes are another practical, everyday item that can be easily replaced with a more environmentally friendly alternative. These come in a pack of 4 and make for a great stocking stuffers as well. They are biodegradable and made of natural bamboo and charcoal.

7. Glass Food Storage Containers | Amazon

tupperware

About two years ago, I ditched all of my plastic Tupperware for this set of glass food storage containers and honestly have never looked back. No longer do I have to deal with discolored containers, mismatched/missing lids and all of the other headaches that come with cheap Tupperware. Not to mention the fact that they are plastic and when heated can leach harmful chemicals into your food. Glass food storage containers are more durable and as a result have a longer life than its plastic counterparts. This gift is a great investment for your meal prepping friends and family.

8. Compostable Phone Case | Pela Case

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A few months back, I saw a post on IG that was an image of a dumpster full of a store’s complete inventory of all the older model iPhone cases that would no longer useable/sellable and thus, disposed of once the newest model of the iPhone came out. While staring at this picture, I immediately started to think about how many plastic phone cases I have thrown out over the years with each phone upgrade, or just because I got a new case, without even thinking twice….and then I got sad. Wastefulness is so normalized in our society, that even myself as an environmentalist sometimes doesn’t realize the impacts of my actions, but it’s time to change that narrative. So much of our daily lives revolve around plastic (both intentionally and unintentionally), when it doesn’t necessarily have to, especially with something simple and practical as a phone case. It is so important to bring awareness to these topics and use the power of our dollar to demand change regarding the quality and types of goods that are offered to us. Currently, the vast majority of the phone cases on the market are made of non-recyclable plastic. With that being said, I quickly started to look for a better, more sustainable solution. Surely, someone has invented a recyclable, plastic free phone case, right? Low and behold, I stumbled upon Pela Case. These cases come in a wide variety of colors and designs for different tastes and also support multiple phone styles (iPhone, Samsung and Google Pixel). They are lightweight, flexible, stylish and protective. They are also made of plant-based materials tested to be safe and free of phthalates, BPA, cadmium and lead and are 100% COMPOSTABLE! To make the deal even sweeter, a portion of their proceeds are donated to support various environmental initiatives related to wildlife and plastic pollution. They also ship using minimal packaging, making for a low waste purchase, which is always a plus. I know a lot of times, we as consumers can be deterred from more sustainable alternatives due to cost, which I totally get, hence my budget-friendly eco gift guide. To my surprise, the price of these cases are comparable to the plastic brand that I currently buy (~$40). This gift would be perfect for just about anyone on your list because, I mean, who doesn’t have a smart phone these days and with the way these things are designed (at least the iPhone), a protective case is not an option. So, basically, what I’m saying is, you have no excuse lol Gift a loved one (or yourself) with a conscious phone case this Christmas season!

I hope this gift guide was helpful in providing you with some  budget-friendly ideas and we all scramble to finish up our last minute Christmas shopping. This Christmas, I challenge you to think twice with your gift giving by investing in gifts that are enjoyable, useful and have long-term benefits for our Earth. When it comes to environmentalism, one person can make a huge difference.

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Happy Shopping,

xoJ