If the world is having trouble because we are using too many resources, it’s always a good idea to buy less and give less! But often we still want to give something nice to someone, so then we can do our best to buy something that won’t harm the earth or their bodies and/or is already recycled or made of eco-friendly materials.
These are my top 10 green gift recommendations for Christmas (or birthdays), some of which may help you and your friends and family tackle the goal of greening up one personal product at a time. When buying green, it’s always better to spend a little more up front to save the earth in the long run, in my opinion.
MadeOn Lotions and Lip Balms
With 100% safe (mostly edible) ingredients and really affordable prices, you can get a whole mantlefull of stocking stuffers for under $10.
I’ve been a MadeOn fan since 2010 and can’t even guess the number of teacher, aunts, cousins, babysitters, ETC who have received their products as gifts from our family!
We regularly re-order for our own home and have them in pretty much every room/coat pocket/vehicle/purse. They’re that good!
Glass or Stainless Steel Water Bottles
The classic. The first 3 Christmases I was buying gifts as an adult, I got stainless steel bottles for everyone who didn’t yet have one. 😉 Now I can’t use this gift idea anymore because they last THAT LONG.
Our family uses Klean Kanteen, available through Amazon, and they have truly lasted since about 2006, I’m guessing. Holy cow!
These glass water bottles have a silicone wrap around them to keep them safe from minor bumps drops.
We also have had a few cheap ones over the years from Bed Bath and Beyond or Meijer on clearance. Just look out for trickery and don’t get stuck with an aluminum bottle!
Stainless Steel Containers/Lunchboxes
A kind of pricey item, I love to ask for stuff like this for Christmas for myself. You can see my reviews of a couple here. Find great options at Life Without Plastic and ECOlunchboxes (we keep adding to our own stash of watertight containers for daily yogurt in packed lunches – I think we have 10 now!).
Reusable sandwich bags are also fun – my cloth sandwich bag review may help you get started.
I already have some from Bed Bath and Beyond ready to wrap for TWO people on my list (Shhh, don’t tell). Have you seen all the reasons you should NOT use plastic? We are constantly running out of clean glass containers, particularly of the 2-cup and 1-cup size. I used to prefer Pyrex over Anchor-Hocking because their lids stayed on better over time, BUT I have to say that Anchor’s TrueSeal or TrueFit lids are very good and seem to last even longer! New product innovation for the win!
I am practical enough to ask for and even give such things as gifts. Geeky, I know. Once for a wedding, I gave a tub of natural cleaners and ingredients and recipes to make homemade, and the bride loved it! Check out the comprehensive list of ALL my favorite natural cleaners.
NaturOli Soap Nuts
Geeky again, I know. I actually asked for soap nuts for Christmas one year, and my MIL accidentally got the wrong brand (Maggie’s) so I can conclusively say I like NaturOli better. 🙂 They last forever and wash well, and they grow on trees! Great conversation topic around the tree, if you ask me. Check out my soap nuts review. They also have cute gift sets; see the whole store here.
I’ve since become even more of a fan of Molly’s Suds (quicker and easier for a busy lifestyle and still super green!).
My Green Fills (Laundry Detergent Subscription)
This detergent is a relatively new discovery on my part. I’m in awe over this brand for so many reasons:
- Refillable so you only have ONE jug of plastic, ever, and then you order teeny tiny refills in the mail and add your own water. This is the most eco-friendly laundry I’ve ever seen as far as carbon footprint for shipping.
- Includes a fabric rinse/softener! I haven’t used this in …well, forever, because I used to be too cheap and then I learned about toxic chemicals!
- Committed to giving back, too – their dryer angels are made by members of the Jamaica Deaf Village (a community where the Deaf are provided education, housing, and employment opportunities) and although they smell a little too strong for our family, they’re super cute.
- Non-toxic – this of course is the first litmus test for me, and I wouldn’t even have allowed the brand into my home if I wasn’t sure about their ingredients being safe for my family.
- Make sure you grab the unscented versions if you want to avoid artificial fragrances. Their website claims the scented detergents use essential oils, but upon further investigation, I found that although they are, in fact, plant-based fragrances, they aren’t exactly natural essential oils.
- The scented detergent smells nice but it has some questionable fragrance ingredients. It’s a great option if you miss the fresh laundry scent that conventional detergents have and don’t mind somewhat synthetic “plant-based” fragrance but want to avoid phthalates and SLS in conventional detergent, or just want to reduce the amount of plastic you throw into the landfill.
Microfiber Cloths or Sponge Cloths
Either would make a nice extra addition to a gift or little stocking stuffer. Many say microfiber is not “green” because it’s made of plastic, but I save so many cleaners (and time, another consideration) because of my microfiber that I’m going to make that concession.
One Christmas, my mom got us a shower filter to remove the chlorine in our city water.
After two years we knew it was time to get a new one because my son’s eczema was flaring up big time and ordered replacement filters. You can get shower filters anywhere now, including Amazon, and we swear by this exact bathtub filter – I have a Google cal reminder to buy a new one every two years. Super practical gift for anyone with babies especially!
I’m also super convinced that a Berkey water filter (for drinking water) is the way to go for just about anyone. We swear by ours and can all taste the difference if we drink unfiltered city or well water. Check out Lisa’s ode to Berkey, a fun read, as well as my own initial Berkey review.
I got this Berkey water bottle for a few people (affordable for a normal gift and we love ours for travel!!) and for my brother one year, I got this Go-Berkey kit, perfect for the hunter or fisherman.
I’m sure this would feature more prominently in other green lists, but I can’t say I’ve prioritized it much…yet. I usually choose to prioritize on the youngest, most susceptible members of our family and the time of greatest exposure: sleep.
My mom found Leah some darling organic jammies, and we got her some organic flannel sheets that have held up great.
More and more, you can find organic clothing easily on Amazon as well:
- Organic pajamas
- Hanna Andersson on Amazon or their own brand at Hanna Andersson (they are pricey though, so something we ask grandma for at Christmas)
Online Clutter-Free eCourse for Kids
The ultimate in green gift giving is to give the gift of nothing! Just kidding – our Kids Cook Real Food eCourse is MUCH more than nothing, but “stuff” wise it has no carbon footprint (and you’ll have no toys to pick up off the ground).
Stuck at Home? Great News!
Now is Your Chance to Cook with Your Kids!
They’ll remember this time the rest of their lives…
…and if you do it right, they’ll know how to cook from now until forever, too.
Try the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse – a video cooking class made just for kids ages 2 to teen. Risk-free trial for 14 days, and only $19 for a 2 month membership!
Buy or Make Handmade
There are so many great local options, for kids’ toys, clothing, and food. I don’t even know where to start recommending!
Green Gift Giving Philosophy
Although it’s easy to list the top 10 products to give for a green holiday, that’s really just sensationalism in a way, because the real green gift giving is much more of a philosophy than an item. If you want to help the environment with your gift-giving, give gifts that are
- Needed – no junk that will clutter up someone’s house and ultimately be wasteful
- Consumable – if you can eat it or use it up, it’s ultimately better for the Earth.
- Homemade – especially if you can reuse containers or repurpose some supplies, homemade not only gives a personal touch to the holidays, but can also be earth-friendly. (One year I gave audiobooks and homemade playdough, for example.)