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An Ethical Holiday Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List

An Ethical Holiday Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List

The holiday season is well underway, which, for the most carefree among us (young children, pets, and perhaps people in Scandinavian countries, for whom universal healthcare and hygge aren’t just pipe dreams but lived realities) means presents, hot cocoa, and general good cheer in the face of worldly evils. Sounds pretty nice, right? Unfortunately for the rest of us, the holidays can be a vicious cycle of anxiety and rampant consumerism and outright stress, wrapped up into one big, prettily concealed (albeit rapidly fraying) package. It’s all enough to leave you frazzled and empty and badly in need of whiskey-spiked eggnog by the time the new year rolls around.

One surefire way to minimize holiday stress, though, is to focus on giving sustainable, socially conscious gifts. No more mind-numbing trips to the mall! Purchasing items from companies or brands that support workers, give back to our communities, and protect our planet is a concrete way to feel better by making a positive difference. In addition to being good for the world, this type of gift-giving is just plain good for the soul. Trust us, it’ll at least temporarily distract you from your go-to Grinch tendencies that tend to flare up during this time of year.

Rather than getting bogged down in the mindless consumerism of the season, close out those twelve Amazon tabs on your computer and, instead, give ethically sourced gifts to your loved ones. Here are some ideas to get you started:   

For Mom. Your mama will love the Miranda Bennett Studio Nail Color Collection – plus, consumable gifts are always great because they don’t lead to clutter. MBS has a zero waste sensibility and uses plant-derived materials for their dyes; they also partner with New Leaf, a social enterprise that creates agricultural jobs for Austin’s refugee population.


For Dad. Hey, dads like nice-looking skin too! Give your dad an extra-special treat this holiday season by gifting him with Jack Black’s MP10 Nourishing Oil, a pre-shave facial oil (that doubles as a beard conditioner) that promises intense moisture and essential nutrients. Jack Black is a vegan and cruelty-free skincare line.  

Into the Gloss Men's Skincare




For your cool aunt. For the token cool aunt in your life – the one always draped in a fabulously patterned Anthropologie sweater who’s been letting you steal sips of her rosé since you were 12 – the classic Adra slide is the perfect shoe. Handcrafted and sustainably sourced from Peru, the Adra is both stylish and fair trade.   


For your grandparents. Bird-loving grandparents will undoubtedly adore a gift like the Audubon Recycled Plastic Bluebird House, an attractive, natural-looking birdhouse that’s made from up to 90 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. Reducing waste in landfills and nurturing bluebird populations – talk about a win-win.   

backyard bird house  

For the kids in your life. Art supplies are always a fantastic sustainable gift idea for kiddos. Take it a step further this year by purchasing your supplies from Glob Colors, whose paints are all sourced from natural, recyclable, and biodegradable materials.  

kids arts and crafts


For the family dog. Want to reduce your pooch’s carbon pawprint? Biodegradable, compostable poop bags are all the rage! Get on board with this eco-friendly trend by purchasing Cycle Dog Earth Friendly Pick-Up Bags – they’re corn- and plant-based bags that decompose in just 10 to 45 days, as long as they’re kept within a controlled composting environment.   

Dog holiday gifts

For a best friend. Rather than buying more stuff, give your BFF the gift of an experience, donation, or class. If they’re into hot yoga, purchase a pack of classes from a nearby studio. Take them out for a nice dinner to their favorite restaurant. Or, you could always consider donating to a nonprofit or special cause that your friend holds dear.

Fortress of Inca Shoot

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