Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift Guide for 2020

Christmas in 2020 is going to look a lot different than any Christmas we’ve seen before; from where we do our shopping to how we celebrate, there’s a lot of change coming. Things are moving online as we adapt to a new normal.

Let’s use this opportunity to have a green Christmas! I’ve put together this Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift Guide to help you find the perfect present for your loved ones. I’ve included links for many of the gift ideas since most of us may not have the opportunity to do any in-person shopping.

I’ve broken my Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift Guide for 2020 down into 3 categories:

  • reusable items,
  • food and drinks, and
  • experiences. 

Reusable items will help save money in the long-run while also introducing the recipient to the world of sustainability. Food and drink items make great gifts for those stuck at home. Experiences are a popular gift-alternative and I’ve found some great online options.

Something to Use (and Reuse!)

Send your loved one down the path of low impact living by showing them the convenience of reusables that are staples for sustainability. Your gift will continue to bring value every time it’s used, and will help the recipient save money in the long run.

Reusable Napkins and Handkerchiefs

Reusable cloth towels, napkins, and handkerchiefs “replace” their single-use paper counterparts (I say “replace” because cloth is what our grandparents and great-grandparents were using long before single-use paper products.)

These not paper kitchen towels are from a shop located in the United Kingdom. They’re in a cute floral design, and there are other fabric options from this shop. For something more plain, I really like this 6 pack of unbleached cotton unpaper towels, from a shop in Ontario, Canada.

Some cloths are made extra soft for a luxurious-feeling handkerchief. The Pocket Rag has a corner sewn on it so it can be folded in to itself and keep your pocket clean. Or, pick up a set like these 8 organic cotton handkerchiefs.

Reusable Grocery, Bulk, and Produce Bags

The thin plastic bags stores offer for produce and bulk are one of the least recyclable plastics, making reusable bags a no-brainer.

Me Mother Earth in Nevada, United States offers plastic free shipping. They have organic cotton bulk bags and cotton mesh produce bags which are both available in packs of 3 or 6.

I think this grocery and produce bag set from My Eco Bag Store in the Ukraine is SO cute there’s no way you could forget to bring it to the store.

Net grocery bags, like these naturally dyed cotton expanding net bag from Canada are really popular right now. They can hold a lot of weight (this one holds up to 11 kg), and take up very little storage space when not being used, so they’re great for the person who always forgets their reusable grocery bags.

Reusable Silicone Zipper Bags

These silicone food storage bags come in packs of 3 and 6. They claim to be dishwasher safe and the shop, Me Mother Earth, uses plastic free shipping and is located in the United States. They also have a website where they sell a full range of zero waste lifestyle products and I also have a coupon code you can us to get 10% off (code: TENACIOUSTHINKER).

Beeswax Wraps (with Vegan Options!)

As far as zero-waste swaps go, wax wraps are one of my favourites! They replace most uses of plastic wraps and work so much better.

Prairie Minimalist in Canada sells a 3 pack beeswax food wraps (1 small, 1 medium, 1 large) or a 5 pack beeswax wraps (2 small, 2 medium, 1 large). And, if you’re shopping for multiple people (or really love wax wraps) they offer Four 3 Packs of beeswax wraps, which is 12 wraps for a great price!

If you’re shopping from closer to the UK, check out this 4 pack of beeswax wraps. From the US, this 3 pack of organic beeswax wraps is a great option.

If you prefer vegan options, there are wax wraps made with plant-based wax. La P’tite Fabrique is located in Quebec, Canada and sells a 3 pack of vegan wax wraps.

Eco Homemade GB, in the United Kingdom, also has a 3 pack of vegan wax wraps.

Something to Eat

Food gifts are always appreciated, and can be a great way to introduce someone to an eco friendly and ethical brand. Love-filled, homemade food also makes an excellent gift that is sustainable and can be made on a budget.

Organic and Fairtrade Brands

Coffee, tea, and chocolate; they’re some of life’s greatest pleasures, but too often come at the expense of ethics and sustainability. Purchasing from certified Fair Trade brands ensures you’re supporting farmers and communities in the global south who produce our little luxuries.

Fairtrade Coffees

Fairtrade Chocolates

Fairtrade Teas

Homemade Treats

If you’ve got a little talent in the kitchen, you may consider gifting some home baked goods or prepped freezer meals. Cooking and baking from scratch pretty much has a lower impact than shopping. Plus, you ensure the quality of ingredients going in.

Unique Flavours

Local artisans and small brands craft smaller batches and experiment with interesting combinations; the results are tasty and unique and make great gifts.

Enjoy Worthy is based in Calgary, Canada. They have some really unique jam flavours like  their Earl Gray lavender peach jam and their strawberry cardamom jam. They also have salsas like their hot pineapple turmeric salsa.

Wildcraft Mustards Organic makes a handful of unique flavours and the whole mustard seeds lend an interesting texture. For condiments, I also like Inglehoffer mustards, which can be bought in some stores. They make a bunch of delicious gourmet flavours.

Latasha’s Kitchen Store Indian and Southeast Asian flavoured sauces and pastes made in Australia. These are a quick way to make a tasty meal. For more spice, check out a gourmet hot sauce like the one’s from Sriracha Revolver that come in unique flavours such as mango, ginger avocado, cilantro lime, and tequila beet.

Consider getting a gift set so they can try multiple flavours; such as this assortment of 4 Greek sea salts with herbs. This barbeque set comes with 2 vegan BBQ sauces and 2 salt-free spice mixes. And check out this set of 4 natural peanut butters in gourmet flavours! They also have the same set with mini jars.

Something to Do

Gifting experiences is probably not a novel idea at this point, but it is still a good option for environmentally friendly gifts.

Discover Something New

Airbnb launched their online experiences, which has multitudes of unique and diverse live experiences. They have everything from culture walks and farm visits to game nights and theater. You can buy an Airbnb gift card if you’re in the United States.

Another fun way to share the gift of discovery is an Audible membership; audiobooks are great for days when you’re too tired to focus on reading, and for people who aren’t big readers! An Audible membership comes with access to all the Audible Original podcasts.

Eat Local

Take-out or delivery can be great option on “lazy” days. A voucher for an online delivery service like UberEats or DoorDash provides multiple restaurant options.

You could also buy a gift card to a local restaurant. Not only does this support your community but it creates an opportunity for the recipient to try somewhere new.

Learn a New Skill

Give the gift of learning with a giftcard or membership for a service such as Skillshare or Creativelive.  (If you want to check it out first, you can use my Skillshare link to get your first 2 months free.)

Airbnb’s Online Experiences has some unique classes from people all over the world. These would be a fun experience to do together and would make a great a gift for a couple.

Relax and Unwind

You can gift a home spa day by making a gift basket of body and skin products in favourite scents. Include a movie (or a gift card for a streaming service) and some sweet treats and it’s perfect.

If that’s all a bit daunting, go ahead with already curated gift sets to get great value:

Some great options include this 5 pack of vegan bath bombs or this Christmas scent gift pack that include soap, lip balm, and soy candle. This natural skin products gift set includes a body balm, lip balm, bath salts, and natural soap and was made in Canada.

Final Thoughts

I hope this helped you find the perfect gift or at least gave you some ideas! If you want even more inspiration, check out some of my favourite sustaianble Etsy shops.

10 Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Etsy Shops

At home online shopping? Etsy, the e-commerce site specializing in handmade and vintage goods published its list of Editors Picks. Their marketing campaign, #StandWithSmall is encouraging shoppers to support small, local businesses.

I’ve been scrolling through Etsy looking for zero-waste, natural products. In the spirit of the #StandWithSmall campaign, check out these 10 sustainable and eco-friendly Etsy shops I found!

  1. Handmade Habitat
  2. Phoenix K Creations
  3. OG & Me
  4. Change Toothpaste
  5. Eloise Et Moi
  6. Spirit of Vera
  7. Vegan Viridity
  8. Vita Beata Boutique
  9. Zerra & Co
  10. Beego Handmade

Handmade Habitat: 100% Vegan Soy Candles

The candles Handmade Habitat make look beautifully minimalist, and their ingredients are minimal as well. They are all-natural, vegan soy candles with wicks made from cotton and recycled paper. Handmade Habitat also has bath salts made from pink Himalayan, dead sea, and Epsom salts.

Phoenix K Creations: All Natural Cosmetics and Herbal Remedies

If you’re looking for organic raw vegan beauty and herbal remedies Phoenix K Cosmetics may have what you want. They have masks, washes, scrubs, and oils for your hair, body, and face. They also sell all-natural remedies for athletes foot, psoriasis and eczema, and poison ivy and oak. I think shops like these are great because they provide natural alternatives to products whose drugstore alternatives have long lists of ingredients.

OG & Me: Reusable Cloth Products

If you enjoy well made and aesthetically pleasing products and are willing to pay a little more for them, check out OG & Me. They sell a variety of reusable cloth products and are certified by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Their products are 100% cotton so they can be decomposed when they eventually reach the end of their lifecycle.

Change Toothpaste: Handmade Toothpaste Tablets

Everyone probably already knows about bamboo toothbrushes, but have you heard about toothpaste tablets? This eco-friendly zero-waste alternative to tubes of toothpaste was formulated after consultation with a dentist and are handmade.

Eloise Et Moi: All Natural Plant Dyed Products

Eloise et Moi has a variety of products made from natural fibers and they are plant dyed. She has bags, napkins and hair bows, wraps, and ties. Her products are all stunning, high quality, and natural.

Spirit of Vera: Sustainably Sourced Sterling Silver Handmade Jewellery

If you’re looking for pretty jewelry either for a gift or yourself, Spirit of Vera (or SpiritOV) has something of you. All her pieces are made from sustainably sourced sterling silver and are handmade.

Vegan Viridity: Vegan Eco-Friendly Handmade Bed, Bath, and Beyond

If you want handmade, cruelty-free, vegan, and eco-friendly products be sure to stop by Vegan Viridity’s Etsy shop. Her products include shampoo and soap bars, soy candles, and crocheted baskets, cloths, and scarves.

Vita Beata Boutique: Handmade Natural Planatable Stationary

These cards from Vita Beata Boutique are seriously pretty. They’re handmade and biodegradable. The best part is they’re also plantable as the paper has seeds in it! I’ve received a plantable card before and I absolutely loved it! It feels bad to throw away a card, but keeping them can create clutter so I think plantable cards are an awesome solution.

Zerra & Co: All Natural Eco-Friendly Cosmetics and Skincare

I recently had to move home from University without a lot of time to pack. I ended up during a half-assed Mari Kondo -esque declutter, and ended up finally throwing away (almost) all of the expired makeup I never used.

As a result, I’ve been thinking more about the quality of the products I use. What draws me to Zerra & Co is how natural the products are; their handmade products are also vegan and preservative-free. They have a huge assortment of cosmetic and skincare products and a wide range of foundation shades. Zerra & Co definitely deserve to be checked out.

Beego Handmade: Reusable Waterproof Cloth Bags

Beego Handmade makes really high-quality, washable, reusable snack bags. If you’re looking for an alternative to plastic ziplock bags look no further. The waterproof lining they use is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and is free of lead, phthalates, BPA, and other harmful chemicals.

Another bonus is the wide variety of gorgeous fabrics to choose from. These would make a beautiful gift for a friend or family member you’re trying to convert to a zero-waste lifestyle.