For my second gift guide, I wanted to recommend items that I actually own or have gifted before and can verify for the awesomeness of. These are clothes I love, neat random things I use in my house, my favorite books to recommend, sauces I buy obsessively, and so on. I hope they’ll provide some inspiration!
For a long time now, I’ve been slowly working to make my home and life more sustainable, one swap or adjustment at a time. We have a kitchen compost bin, I thrift clothes whenever possible, we use wool dryer balls and eco-friendly powder laundry soap, among many other things. And while not every sustainable swap makes for a good gift, there are plenty of amazing options you can gift to someone this year that will do more good for the earth than harm. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.
Shampoo bars! I swear by switching from bottled shampoo to a shampoo bar. Not only do you eliminate plastic waste, but they last longer, travel better, and oftentimes have better ingredients for your hair.
Try some from LUSH, The Earthling Co, Bar None, or Meow Meow Tweet.
Body scrubber. To replace your plastic shower loofah, try one from Boie. They’re completely recyclable and can be sent back to the company to be recyled properly.
Plastic-free or vegan cosmetics and beauty supplies. This is a wide category, but there are a lot of places to find cruelty-free cosmetics, or beauty products that come in more sustainable packaging (for example, compostable, glass, or recycled materials). Try brands like Axiology, We Are Paradoxx, Thrive, or anything from EarthHero.
For the Home
Blueland Cleaning Products. One of my favorite things I’ve swapped recently, Blueland makes the last bottle of cleaning products you’ll ever have to buy. You get a kit, for hand soap, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and so on, and they send their endlessly reusable container, along with several tablets. Add a tablet to the bottle with warm water, let it dissolve, and you’ve got a bottle of soap or cleaning product. No plastic waste, ever, and in time you’ll save money, because refill tablets are only $2 each.
A growing candle. These beautiful candles solve the problem of throwing away your candle containers once you’ve burned them down. The unique ceramic holders double as planters, so once you’re done with the candle, plant the wrapper, and watch flowers bloom from the seeds embedded in it. Practical, beautiful, and sustainable.
A reusable, infuser water bottle. Make sure they never have to use disposable water bottles again. This bamboo water bottle is endlessly reusable, and comes with an infuser insert, so you can also use the bottle to make iced tea, coffee, or fruit-infused water.
For the Kitchen
Vegan or sustainable sauces and spices! I’m a huge fan of gifting sauces, spices, and condiments, because the majority of people love a good sauce and don’t tend to go for fancier options. If you go this route, just opt for things like infused vegan mayos, fancy mustards, hot sauces, spice blends, and other vegan options. It’s a small, unnoticeable swap that does a little good for the environment. Or, try choosing brands that package in glass instead of plastic bottles or jars. Much more recyclable and better for the planet!
We love HLTH PUNK for healthy vegan sauces in amazingly cool packaging and Brooklyn Delhi for delicious hot sauce in glass packaging. Or try Yo Mama’s sauces, Primal Kitchen, and Sir Kensington’s.
Coffee and tea supplies. For those who drink coffee or tea all day, there are some sustainable gift options on the table. You can gift reusable coffee filters and a reusable coffee mug. For those who prefer tea, this iced tea brewing tumbler is one of my favorite things I’ve ever owned. Or go for some t-sacs, for filling with loose leaf tea.
Gift Cards & Subscriptions
If you prefer to let your gift recipient choose their own preferred items, here are some great places that will let them shop sustainably!
Goodfair, for thrifted vintage clothing bundles: https://goodfair.com/
Arbor Teas, tea subscription box. Ethically and sustainably sourced teas: https://www.arborteas.com/tea-of-the-month-club/
Causebox subscription: https://causebox.com
Driftaway, sustainable coffee subscription: https://driftaway.coffee/
EarthHero, always a classic where they can shop for anything: https://earthhero.com/
Reformation, a pricier clothing brand, but highly sustainable: https://www.thereformation.com/
Girlfriend Collective, sustainable activewear: https://www.girlfriend.com/
Pact, earth-friendly clothing: https://wearpact.com/
A giftcard to their local plant shop or nursery! Plants are great for people and the world.
Succulent Studios, subscription box for monthly succulents: https://succulent.studio/
Earth Love, eco-friendly subscription box: https://earthlove.co/?sscid=c1k4_fesey&
This has one of the more expert “turn society on its head” premises I’ve ever come across. One day, young women around the world begin to discover an ability to create electricity with their bodies. In the days that follow, it spreads to women and girls everywhere, all of whom now have the ability to hurt, manipulate, or kill with the power in their bodies. But in a foundationally patriarchal world, what does that kind of power do to the way we live our lives?
This is Naomi Alderman’s answer to that question, and it’s gritty as hell. She pulls no punches, she strays away from no violence or rawness. This is a bleak, but honest narrative of what happens when the state of the world changes in a week. It follows several primary characters, whose stories are each stark and powerful within this new world. One is a formerly abused foster child who becomes a face for the new world. Another is the incredibly powerful daughter of gang members, who has enemies and influence in equal portion. Another is a political leader, trying to turn the tides of the changing government in her favor. The last is a Nigerian man who finds himself becoming the world’s lens for the spreading conflict and violence.
As a whole, these characters and their stories form an exquisitely paced, emotional gut punch of a book that will force you to ask a lot of questions about society and our roles in it. What happens when the world shifts overnight? This book comes to plenty of conclusions to answer that by the end, and they’re not quite what you’d expect .
This is a story about gender and humanity and visual culture and war and desperation and human connection. It’s wide in scope, which can feel overwhelming in times. However, it also feels like a proper expression of the magnitude of the story Alderman sets out to deliver. And deliver she does.