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5 Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

From eco-friendly ski wax to an organic cotton duvet, these creative gift ideas give back to both your loved ones and the planet


The holiday season is almost upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about the perfect gifts for your loved ones. This year, why not give to your buddies and the planet? Thankfully, there are many ways to participate in the gift-giving season while still making sustainable decisions. To help get you started, we rounded up some of the best environmentally friendly gift ideas for everyone in your life.

For Your Friend who Skis or Bikes: MountainFlow Eco-Wax

When you take your skis to get a tune-up, the typical wax that’s used is made from petroleum. The petroleum then sloughs off into the snowpack (in 2019, some 2.5 million pounds of ski wax did just that). And when that snow melts? It goes right into local rivers. MountainFlow Eco-Wax makes the first-of-its-kind plant-based ski wax. It offers a range of both bike (almost all bike products are also made from drilling oil too) and ski products: quick wax, skin wax, race wax, bike lube, and bike wash. 

For Your Friend who Loves to Cook: Stasher Bags

The kitchen is an easy place to make sustainable replacements. We love using 100 percent silicone reusable Stasher bags to replace single-use plastic bags. Ranging in size from tiny snack bags to sandwich bags and half-gallon bags, they’re nontoxic, self-sealing, dishwasher safe, microwave ready, and freezer-friendly—making them easy to use without any hassle. By the company’s count, Stasher has prevented some one billion single-use plastic bags from going into oceans and landfills. Plus, you can feel extra good about your purchases because Stasher donates a portion of sales to Surfrider and 5 Gyres, nonprofits that work to protect and rehabilitate our oceans.

For Your Friend Who Needs Some Shut-Eye: Avocado Organic Linen Duvet + Alpaca Insert

The holidays are stressful, and stress can take a bite out of sleep, so give a gift that makes sleeping easier and better. The 400-thread-count Avocado Organic Linen Duvet is made of organic cotton that’s both nontoxic and highly breathable, so it helps modulate body temperature. “Natural fibers help with thermoregulation. If you overheat at night, that can put a damper on your melatonin production,” says sleep coach Kelly Murray. “Our body temperature has to fall by two degrees in order to be able to fall and stay asleep.”

For the ultimate gift duo, add the Alpaca Insert—it’s made with both alpaca fiber and organic cotton percale, making it both luxuriously soft and breathable. It’s nice for you and for the planet—Avocado’s cotton is grown without pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. This is important because you want to sleep on something that doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that can add physical stress, which increases your cortisol levels and troubles your sleep. The best part: Avocado’s products are in compliance with the Global Organic Textile Standard—the gold standard for environmental and social responsibility. 

For a Tight Budget: Plants and Books 

You don’t need money to give a thoughtful gift. If you have plants, start propagating now and give a nice dose of greenery away. Plants purify air and help reduce stress (the ultimate gift, in our opinion). If you don’t have any plants, buy a tiny one from your local nursery and let it grow until it’s time to give it away. (Just make sure it’s not grown with peat—peatlands are some of the earth’s most valuable ecosystems and the houseplant industry is fueling their destruction.) If you’re in a pinch, wrap up a favorite book from your shelf (especially if you have a copy of Braiding Sweetgrass or Merchants of Doubt).

For Your Friend who Doesn’t Want Anything

Give a charitable gift in your friend’s name to an organization doing work to save the planet. You can use 1% for the Planet’s search tool to find a great nonprofit in your loved one’s backyard or favorite place to visit.

Avocado is redefining what it means to be a sustainable, ethical brand. They practice radical transparency and a “farm-to-bedroom” approach; they co-own a latex farm, factory, and wool collective in India—from which they source and process raw materials that are handcrafted into organic mattresses and bedding in their Los Angeles factory.