2020 Guide to Eco holiday gifts

As we’re getting closer and closer to the huge holiday in December – you know, the one where a chubby and jolly old man with a white beard and red suit comes down the chimney to drop off some packages- or whatever holiday you celebrate this winter season, it also comes down to gifts and celebrations. But this year has been a strange and tough one for most of us. With the pandemic restricting traveling and gatherings, we really have to decide what is safer, smarter, and better. I’m here just to give you some ideas for an eco-friendly holiday season. And while most of us are hunkering down for the holidays, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy ways of celebrating while also giving back to our planet.

Below I’ve listed 20 ways to go eco-friendly this holiday season. As times change, so do our options for buying responsibly. There are a wonderful assortment of companies that sell products and services that also supports the environment.

STOCKING STUFFERS:

If you prefer giving stocking stuffers as main presents or just looking for something fun for your family, stocking stuffers are always a great way to bring some cheer.

1 – Fairtrade chocolates. Fairtrade isn’t a new term, but it’s a word that a lot of people don’t fully understand. Fairtrade simply means companies create a partnership with those in third world or developing countries to ensure they get a fair trade in equity and practices. So, whenever you’re buying chocolates, try to buy from companies that support fair trade. Great companies to support are Equal Exchange, Divine Chocolates, and Theo Chocolates.

2 – Reusable straws. Reusable straws should always be in your purse or backpack. Single-use plastic straws are so 2018. Try supporting brands such as Mermaid Straw, and Young CEO Squad.

3 – Mini or small tins of tea, cocoa, and coffee. Who doesn’t love a cute metal tin filled with something uniquely delicious? These metal tins are infinitely reusable and recyclable due to their materials. Great companies to buy small tins of goodies are Tea Drops, Clarks Cubes, and Mountain Rose Herbs. 

4 – Lip balms. Who can’t use a lip balm now and then? They’re extremely useful during colder weather, climate changes, and when traveling. Plus, lip balms are great for any age and gender. Great companies to support are climbOn, Eco Lips, and Burt’s Bees.

5 – Bar lotion. Lotion in bottles are great. But what’s even better and more eco-friendly are lotion bars. They’re basically concentrated lotion set into a specific shape, usually a round disc or a square. They are usually held inside metal tins or compostable containers. And they last a whole lot longer than liquid lotions. Some of my favorite brands to support are climbOn, and Moon Valley Organics.

6 – Reusable utensils set. Whether you are a germaphobe or just like using your own utensils when eating out or at the office, there’s nothing like a shiny set of utensils. You can find some really nice looking ones that everyone will surely envy! Great companies to support are Mermaid Straw, and United By Blue.

FOR KIDS:

What is the holiday season without spending some money on kids? Whether they are your kids, your relatives, or friends, giving kids what they really want for Christmas or the holidays is the best form of gift giving. If you can find out what the kiddoes enjoy, then find eco friendlier options.

7 – Gift cards. Back in the olden days, a wrapped gift might bring a shine to a child’s eye. But, in the new age of self awareness, kids might want gift cards or cash instead. That’s because there are so many options to choose from nowadays. And if they prefer buying something that’s more unique and can’t be readily found in brick and mortar stores, then they might have to purchase online. And quite honestly, wouldn’t you rather give them gift cards or money so they can buy something that they really want instead of things that’ll just end up in their closets? You can always place the gift cards in a reusable box or tin or bag. Better option is to send an e-gift card to reduce plastic waste.

8 – DIY kits. There’s just something unique and satisfying when you’re putting together your own project. DIY or Do-It-Yourself kits are all the rage. Plus, they can be enjoyed anytime of the year and offer great assortments for any age and gender. They can range from DIY baking kits, to birdhouses, to jewelry. A great company that makes fun and educational DIY STEM kits is Green Kids Crafts.

9 – Reusable beverage bottles. With kids in school most of the day for at least 17 years of their lives, they sure could use their own reusable water bottles. Having their own reusable water bottle prevents germs from spreading and they can carry it wherever they go. Most teachers allow reusable water bottles in classrooms so students don’t have to get up to get a drink of water. Find some fun and unique bottles from Mermaid Straw, Kleen Kanteen, and Simple Modern.

10 – Books. Okay, okay, I know I always suggest this, but I love books and that’s because I started reading at a very young age. The joy of reading started when I was gifted with some really fascinating titles which led to my love for writing. Most kids will like reading so there’s always a book or two to find for them. If you know what authors or genre the child likes, it’ll make it easier to gift them the books they want. If not, you can always give them a fun and thick book about their favorite pastime or hobby.

And for great book ideas, check out Great Schools.

*** Parents: For some awesome book and merchandise gifts, check out LuvBooks. Use code: LUVSUZAN at checkout for 10%off! (this website is great for parents as they are more geared towards adults!)

11 – Building sets. At one point or another in their lives, kids will have had at least one building set. It could be blocks, logs, or robots. Building sets are great for hand-eye coordination, flexibility, and creativity. One of the biggest and most well known building set brand is LEGO. Aptly named “play well” in Danish, LEGO bricks are akin to childhood as apple pie is to ice cream. They last a lifetime, can be passed down to future generations, and they created a new “take back” program where you can send your used LEGO bricks back to the company to be donated to charities. LEGO are great for any age, gender, and experience.

FOR TEACHERS:

Our kids have some pretty hard working teachers, especially for this year. The best way to thank them for their dedication to their occupation is to gift them something that they’ll really love. Most teachers appreciate gifts that aren’t classroom related. They’ve probably received many “Best Teacher” mugs or photographs of your kids in homemade frames. Instead, try sending them something that they’ll use and is environmentally friendly. You’ll also be sending a message that you care about the environment too.

12 – Reusable beverage bottles. Depending on the grade they teach, most teachers are unable to leave their classrooms to use the bathroom or get a sip of water. Give them a nice, sturdy, and elegant water bottle that they can put their fresh water in.  Companies to support are Mermaid Straw, Kleen Kanteen, and Simple Modern. The best ones are made from stainless steel, glass, and bamboo. They last for many years and are easily recyclable once they break down.

13 – Hand lotion/bars. Teachers are constantly using their hands, whether they’re turning pages, writing on whiteboards, or tying shoelaces. Give them the gift of soft and supple hands. As mentioned above, lotion bars last a lot longer than liquid versions and you can find ones made with soothing and uplifting scents. Try companies such as climbOn, and Moon Valley Organics.

14 – Fairtrade and Organic Coffee and Tea. Give teachers great tasting hot beverages that are made sustainably, organically, and fair trade. Try brands such as Equal Exchange, NumiTea, and Lavazza Coffee.

15 – Plants. Nowadays, you can find a plethora of plants for all kinds of people. Whether you have a green thumb or a black one, plants are fairly easy to take care of after years of cultivation and research. Plus, plants are adorable sitting in a classroom or on a table and they bring a wholesome quality to every room. Potted plants are best to start for those who are beginners. Great choices that don’t require a lot of care are succulents, Philodendron, herbs, violets, and cultivated bamboo.

ECO-FRIENDLY AND BUDGET-FRIENDLY GIFTS:

This holiday season might mean less spending for many people. But if you still want to pick up a gift or two for a loved one, then here are some suggestions that are low budget but still pack a lot of heart and soul into them.

16 – Homemade gifts. If you love to cook or are really crafty, then you’ll probably enjoy making your own gifts. Bake delicious holiday-shaped cookies and put them into a nice tin. The recipient can in turn reuse the tins and might possibly return it with their own creation! Or make homemade candles. Be sure to use soy wax(for vegans) or beeswax to prevent chemical toxins emitted into the air while burning. You can make a big batch of candles to give as gifts and place them in glass jars to be reused later on. Check out a great resource from Mother Earth Living magazine.

17 – Hand drawn artwork. Whether you are a professional artist or just like to dab in paint or pencils, you can create some really unique and one-of-a-kind artwork. Put them into a pretty glass frame and if you’re inclined to make it extra special, make a drawing of the family members or family pets.

18 – DIY food kits. Sometimes you’ll find great curated food gift boxes but they’re usually at a hefty price. You can create your own food gift boxes by buying products that you know the family or person will like. Some great ideas are cookie kits where you add a couple of cookie cutters, a glass jar of flour (measured), chocolate chips, a cotton towel, and instructions. Also try soup kits where you can add bags of beans, lentils, salt, pepper, and croutons or crackers. Place your carefully created food kits into a nice wicker basket or wooden crate for reuse later on.

19 – Board games and puzzles. With technology in practically every household these days, it’s nice to be able to have a couple of old fashioned board games and puzzles. Plus, they can bring hours of fun for the whole family. Try board games such as Monopoly and Clue and puzzles that have at least 1000 pieces to start with. These board games might stay in the family for years or can be easily donated later on.

20 – Monogrammed gift. You might think that a monogrammed mug or sweater might be expensive. But depending on what it is, you can find an elegant monogrammed mug that’s as low as $8. Better yet, buy a nice quality scarf or cotton tote bag and embroider or sew their initials on it. These gifts create a personal touch and help your recipient from getting their stuff stolen.

No matter what your holiday preferences are this year, you can make it fun, relaxing, and memorable. If you’re mailing gifts, be sure to check the shipping deadlines so your gifts will arrive on time. If you’re delivering in person in a safe way, then dropping your gifts off at the doorstep or a smaller get together is another option.

We can all be safer this holiday season if we just try and remember that the holidays are about being safe and peaceful. Even before the pandemic hit the world, we still wanted our family and friends to feel safe during the holidays and to have less stress and worries. And if you can’t travel or give extravagant gifts – your recipients will most likely understand this time of year.

From my family to yours – we wish you a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season!

*photo credits to BHG.com and Mermaid Straw.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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