Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide 

Whether you’re shopping for the eco-friendly people on your holiday list or just want to be a little friendlier to your budget this season, it might be the year to add more “green” gifts. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck wrapping packages of granola or just giving potted plants. Green gifts can be stylish, memorable and very personal. Here’s a guide to some sustainable holiday gifts that might be perfect for people you’re celebrating this season. 

What are sustainable gifts? Green giving is becoming more popular. It covers several different kinds of gifts, from handmade creations to regifting new or little-used items that you know a friend or loved one would treasure. It also describes gifts that are produced with little impact on the Earth. Sustainable gifts are typically biodegradable or reusable items, or those made from recycled or upcycled materials. Examples are bamboo silverware or dishes, or a beautiful pair of mittens made from old wool sweaters. These types of gifts are typically easier on your wallet, too.  


Here are some ideas for easy, sustainable gifts that will get everyday use: 

Grocery totes: Shopping trips don’t need to be boring, or rely on those flimsy plastic grocery bags that rip and are tough to recycle. Give your favorite shopper a few reusable grocery bags. These bags are easy to fold up when empty and keep stashed in the car for the next trip to the market. Pick cloth, string bags, canvas or sturdy, washable vinyl.  

Swedish dishcloths: Put these on the list for your favorite foodie or amateur chef. These thin, super absorbent little cloths look like hefty paper towels but soak up water and spills like a thick towel. When they’re dirty, wash them in a little sudsy water and let them dry – or throw them in with the next load of laundry. They are great for cutting down on daily paper towel waste.  

Windowsill herb garden: This is truly a green gift that can flavor someone’s meals all year long. Whether you give a long planter filled with herbs or a trio of separate little pots, this gift is delicious, useful and self-sustaining with just a little water each week.  

Travel or thermal mugs: Help people cut down on the number of plastic water bottles they use by selecting a reusable drink container that fits their personality. With so many designs, it’s easy to personalize these gifts. Want to be extra green? Toss in a couple steel, reusable straws they can travel with and use in place of plastic straws.  

Reusable lunch bags. These days, everyone seems to be packing lunch or snacks, whether it’s for a day at the office or for a quick pick-me-up before heading to the gym. Go one better than brown bags and give your favorite people their own reusable lunch bag. They’re easy to keep clean and lead to a lot less paper waste. 

Recycled, upcycled or handmade: This time of year, artists’ holiday markets are overflowing with an array of handmade gifts. From jewelry and fashion accessories like handmade hats and scarves to hand-carved wooden boxes and specialty food items, there are unique gifts to fit everyone on your list. Don’t forget to find a little something for yourself. After all this sustainable shopping, you deserve a treat.  

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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