The big green gift guide

Eco-friendly and sustainable gifts take centre stage this year, with design and desirability at the forefront.

Eco-friendly and sustainable gifts take centre stage this year, with design and desirability at the forefront

There once was a time when eco-friendly gifts were top of mind for eco-conscious friends only. Often style and design were sacrificed for sustainable products at a high cost. As we sourced the internet for the best green gifts, we found entrepreneurs and designers who are not only forging a new path in the way they manufacture, sell, and transport products, but are doing so while creating high quality, desirable designs at a reasonable price point.

Better basics

Is there anything better than a new t-shirt or hoodie made from the softest Egyptian cotton? How about one that promotes ethical manufacturing, and social impact without costing a fortune? Canadian brand KOTN is known for their premium designs and quality, as well as their work with cotton farming families in Egypt, and have partnered with pro-literacy organizations in the Nile Delta to stop child labour.

Hooded Sweatshirt, $85, kotn.com

Dependable denim

Great fits, and fun washes are the perfect gift for the friend who lives in their jeans. We particularly love this girlfriend jean by Outland Denim. All jeans are made with organic denim and tailored in the Outland facility in Cambodia. The facility (created by founder James Bartle) has opened its team of seamstresses to offer positions to those at risk of falling into poverty, and is committed to sourcing ethical and environmentally sound raw materials.

Abigal Denim, $235, outlanddenim.com

Knowledge is a powerful gift

With fast fashion brands being one of the top polluting industries in the world, brands like Reformation have made it their mission to provide "need it now" designs, while sourcing beautiful and sustainable fabrics and practices. Every single product available on the site has information on its environmental impact. For the friend that appreciates well-crafted accessories, and figure flattering designs, this is a great place to start.

Parisa Wang Bucket Bag, about $390, thereformation.com

Sustainable fashion at your feet

In the world of sneakers sustainability is far and few between. Despite no experience in the shoe game, French brand Veja has built up quite the cult following, and with not a dollar spent on marketing. Instead, money goes toward the materials and production of each shoe. Transparency is key at Veja, with a focus on fair trade, organic materials, and cooler than thou designs.  

SDU B-MESH Flower Shoe, about $148, veja-store.com

The straw for all seasons

Mola Sasa's eco-friendly collections aim to promote the management, sustainable use, and long-term preservation of Colombian native natural resources. Mola Sasa collaborates directly with Indigenous communities of Colombia to make unique capsule collections. They have currently created sustainable employment for more than 80 families

Mola Sasa VIJA Tote, $295 (on sale for $207), holtrenfrew.com

Winter is coming

Technology is rapidly changing when it comes to winter wear. Give the gift of eco-friendly warmth this year with synthetic fillers, recycled fabrics, and vegan outerwear. Lolë's packable jacket (left) is made 100% animal free and is filled with LOFTech insulation, the closest insulation to natural down ever developed. The Patagonia puffer shell (middle) is made from 70% recycled polyester, with 100% recycled down. Burton's "warmest jacket" of 2018 (right) is filled with responsibly sourced down, and is bluesign® approved.  

Lolë Packable Vegan Jacket, $159, lolelife.com; Patagonia Silent Down Jacket, $299, patagonia.ca; Burton Bixby Long Down Jacket, $349.99, burton.com

Precious metals

                                                                                                                                                         

Fine jewelry can certainly break the bank, but investing in gifts with timeless designs for yourself and others will last years instead of months. Brands such as Bluboho (left) and Sofia Zakia (middle) use recycled and ethically sourced materials, including conflict-free diamonds.         

Bluboho Little Crescent Threader Earring, $98, bluboho.com; Sofia Zakia The Magician Tarot Card Necklace, $690.33, sofiazakia.com; Laurie Fleming Aedis Hoops, about $783, laurieflemingjewellery.com

Handmade heaven

Want to gift your friends and family with something unique and handmade but don't have the time or the skills? WOOLN has partnered with senior women of NYC who lovingly hand knit accessories using luxurious yarns. All the pieces are labelled with the knitter's name, who you can read about on the biography page of the site. All the fabrics are made of the finest natural fibres responsibly sourced in Peru.

The Tuileries Beret, about $166, wooln-ny.com

A design that lasts a lifetime

Oddbird Co. believes that even a small business can make a big change. They focus on small-batch slow fashion, made with the high quality 100% natural fibres, designed to last a lifetime. Their collection of Turkish textile robes have been made with a versatile functionality. A single piece could be worn and styled in several ways, depending on the customer's own personal style.

Alem Robe, about $198, oddbirdco.com

Natural beauty

Canadian beauty brand BITE (left) has based their entire line on the premise that "what you put on your lips should be as good as what you put in your mouth." We are especially loving BITE's Sweet Treat's party prep set featuring a mini agave lip mask, agave lip balm, and agave sugar lip scrub. BITE is cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified. A perfect stocking stuffer idea! Plume Science was created by founder Lauren Bilon, who through extensive research achieved dramatic eyelash enhancements from a host of natural ingredients. Plume Science's Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum (right) is an all-natural, long-lasting, preservative-free, safe, and effective formula.

Bite Beauty Sweet Treat: Party Prep Set, $12, sephora.com; Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum, $95, thedetoxmarket.ca

Get green clean

While some hand soap may not be directly harmful for the environment, its packaging often is. In addition, commercial brands often include harsh chemical additives that create that soapy lather and can be harmful to our skin. Luckily there are tons of local small-batch soap companies popping up, who use 100% natural ingredients and recyclable packing, and make for a great hostess gift, and stocking stuffer.  

The Good Bar's The Good Box, $62, thegoodbar.ca; Anto Yukon Small Batch Soap, $10 per bar, holtrenfrew.com

By candlelight

Conserving energy probably isn't top of mind when it comes to the holidays, but setting the mood definitely is. You can have both with Luci ​inflatable lights (left) by MPowered which run completely on solar energy. They're a great gift for anyone who loves a good lighting setup inside or outside the house. For more traditional candles, brands like Lightwell Co. (middle) use a custom blend of 100% soy and coconut wax, and a braided cotton wick for an environmentally friendly clean burn. Prosperity Candle (right) has taken it one step further by creating job opportunities for women artisans to thrive in. Every candle is hand-poured by a woman artisan using all-natural waxes, cotton and wood wicks, and premium fragrances made with essential oils.

Mpowered Luci Inflatable Solar Light, about $26.50, mpowered.com; Fireside Lightwell Co. Candle, $32, junehomesupply.com; Dunes Candles Prosperity Candle, about $45, prosperitycandle.com

Every little gift counts

Chapters' self watering flower pot (left) uses only the amount of water needed for your plants with a recyclable glass pot. Perfect for the person with a green thumb… or not. And this Ecocube (right) is already filled with seeds and fertilizer, just add water and the wild roses will start growing. When they become too large for the cube, simply place it in a pot with soil and the wooden cube with compost and act as fertilizer for the plant.

Self-Watering Flower Garden Jar, $25, chapters.indigo.ca; Ecocube Wild Rose Grow Kit, $10, chapters.indigo.ca

The eco chef's table

Abeego's beeswax food wraps are the perfect replacement for plastic zip bags. Reusable and easy to clean, they come printed with adorable designs. 

Set of 3 Abeego Beeswax Wraps, $18, abeego.com

Down the earth gifts

For some of us, a relaxing night in is a gift in itself. These thoughtful presents might just make the experience all the more comfortable. Give the gift of 100% comfort with a 100% baby alpaca throw, which is a 100% eco-friendly sustainable fibre and hypoallergenic. Blacksaw's stylish designs (left) and high-quality production make this a gift that will be loved for years on end. All bedding from Parachute (right) is made in a family-owned factory, located in Portugal and run by the founders great grand children keeping their cultures time-honoured techniques alive.

Blacksaw Rattlesnake Baby Alpaca Reversible Throw, $395, holtrenfrew.com; Washed Sateen Top Sheet, about $132-145, parachutehome.com

Gifts for the hard to shop for

Bordahan (left) creates gifts that help disadvantaged women provide for their families, as well as scholarships and school supplies for children in need. If you are struggling with ideas on what to get for someone, CAUSEBOX (middle) will handle the guessing work for you. This subscription-based gift provides 6-8 hand-curated products for women. Every product has a story and makes the world better. Lastly, these sock sets are perfect for anyone on your list, cat lovers especially. People Tree (right) is a pioneer in ethical and environmentally sustainable fashion by partnering with Fair Trade producers, garment workers, artisans and farmers in the developing world to produce ethical and eco-friendly fashion collections.

Bordahan 2019 Hand-Embroidered Calendar, about $22.55, bordahanembroidery.com; CAUSEBOX Annual Subscription, $49.95/quarter; People Tree Set of 3 Organic Cotton Socks, about $47.80, peopletree.co.uk

Gifts for kids

For the little chef on your list this apron from Good Gifts (left) is handcrafted by an international artisan. The philosophy of skateboard brand Aluminati (middle) is "less waste more fun." So each board is made to order, which means less landfill waste. The boards are made from recycled aircraft aluminum, which make them durable and forever recyclable. Eco-Finger Paint from Earth Easy (right) is made with all-natural ingredients handmade with natural fruit, plant, and vegetable extracts.

Good Gifts Whale Print Little Chef Apron, $32, goodgifts.ca; Aluminati Beta Max Cruiser, about $173, aluminatiboards.com; Earth Easy Finger Paint, $15.95, eartheasy.com

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