Heyy! I know it has been a LONG while since I last wrote on my blog. With completing my final project for grad school, the corporate world’s usual Q4 hustle and bustle, and many other personal reasons, I have not really had a lot of time to sit down and think recently – much less write. Anyway, I’m back now and just in time for the Holidays and ready to give suggestions for some eco-friendly gifts! Whoohoo!
Growing up in the tropical archipelago, you already know I am not much of a winter person. However, I have always loved the Holidays, the coziness, the sentiments, the celebration in many religions, and just the overall sense of gratitude for another fruitful year. Granted, it has not been an easy year for most of us because of the pandemic, natural calamities, and economic downturn, among others. I, personally, have had a tough year. In fact, I am not even sure if I would get to celebrate Christmas with my family and loved ones who are mostly in healthcare.
Okay, self-pity aside (LOL), regardless of whether we get to be with our loved ones physically, I think that we can still send them our love and well-wishes through presents if we are financially able to. So, while I was doing some Holiday shopping this past weekend, I thought of sharing with you some affordable eco-friendly gifts that our family and friends will surely love and find useful. And oh, by the way, I am not paid to write about these products or brands. I have tried most of these products or bought them as presents myself.
- Portable Cutlery Set
Portable cutlery sets have been some of my go-to presents for friends and co-workers these past few years. I especially love giving these to friends who want to dip their toes in sustainable living but do not know how and where to start. These eco-friendly gifts can range from $10 to $20, depending on the material and items included. I personally like those with a straw, a narrow straw brush, a spoon, a fork, and and a pair of chopsticks. Most of these sets also come with little cotton bags, so your loved one can bring them wherever they go and lessen takeout plastic utensils.
These sets are usually available in bamboo or metal. I once gave this sleek, matte black, and super affordable portable cutlery set to my boss one Christmas. I would also vouch for this bamboo set that also includes a toothbrush and a knife.
- Collapsible water bottle or drinking cup
When in doubt, I also highly suggest giving collapsible water bottles or drinking cups. Not only is it eco friendly and portable, but it is also really convenient when traveling. Plus, with COVID-19, it is better that you are sure how clean and hygienic your utensils are. I personally love this really chic and minimalist collapsible coffee cup for $15.
- Coconut bowls
I don’t know about you, but I do love everything coconut. I use coconut oil on my hair; I apply natural coconut lotion on my skin daily; I love eating and cooking with coconut meat, drinking coconut juice or young coconut milk, you name it! So, imagine my delight when I found this set of coconut bowls which just gave me a pang of homesickness because of how much they screamed ISLAND LIFE to me. Besides the coconut bowls, this set also includes two wooden forks, two wooden spoons, two bamboo straws, a straw brush, and a pouch. For just $17, your loved one can close their eyes and pretend they are right by the ocean with these perfect eco-friendly gifts.
- 100% Sustainable Beauty and Cosmetic Products
For friends or family that are more inclined to trying beauty products, why not introduce to them some 100% sustainable beauty and cosmetic products? Contrary to popular belief, not all sustainable products are super expensive and these eco-friendly gifts just prove this. I actually wrote about some of the best eco-friendly brands beauty brands I swear by to prove this to you.
- Cork and Recycled Wheat Straw Retractable Ballpoint Pens
If you would prefer to hand out little goodie bags for Christmas, then I will suggest these 20-pack eco-friendly ballpens as one of the items to put in your goodie bag. These pens are made of cork, which is one of the most sustainable resources on the planet. Another material used for these pens is recycled wheat, which is a leftover byproduct from harvesting grains. Since wheat straws are usually just burned or disposed, it is the perfect plastic alternative for pens! The best thing is it is only $17!
- Juni Essentials Toothbrushes
I have seen and tried many sustainable toothbrushes, but none of them has ever compared to Juni. Juni Essentials’s toothbrush is created with the combined insights and labor or dentists, engineers, and designers. It is ergonomic, which is really convenient for those with carpal tunnel syndrome like me! Plus, it also has unbelievable water-resistance, a product of patented technology. One of the best features of this product is not just its soft bristles, but also how minimalist and sleek it looks. For just $8.99, your loved ones can take their hygiene practices to the next level with this 2-pack deal!
- Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
Speaking of essentials, I have started trying to transition to zero-waste skincare this year gradually. One of the items that I tried and now cannot live without is this reusable bamboo cotton fiber makeup remover facial pads. For just $11, I can clean my face without applying any harsh chemicals. I also use these pads to apply skincare products that may require cotton pads like toners or micellar cleansing water. I am thrilled with it, especially because they come in a laundry bag that makes washing them so convenient. I would usually just put all soiled pads in the laundry bag and throw it in the laundry with my clothes. I cannot rave about this product enough, and I am sure that it will help make someone’s Christmas.
Is it just me or did everyone get obsessed with plants during this quarantine? Since indoor plants are such a hit again this year, why not send your loved ones a little plant? You can opt to give the usual succulent or explore Good Housekeeping’s list of 25 indoor plants that will thrive even without a green thumb’s help. But since we are talking about sustainability, you can also check out this Greatist list of healthy and edible plants that your loved ones can grow indoors!
- Eco friendly Masks
Although the current COVID-19 vaccine development seems promising, I do not think that we will all just be able to return to normal next year. I don’t know about you, but I still plan to wear my masks until I am sure that this virus is at least 90% eliminated. Anyway, it is a no-brainer that a stylish and cute eco-friendly mask set will be one of my suggestions for this list. Maybe you are thinking that cute, safe, and ALSO environmentally friendly masks do not exist. Well, you are in luck because I also wrote my recommendations for some eco friendly quarantine essentials. Aside from masks, I also suggested some sustainable sanitizers and handsoaps!
- The Zero-Waste Cookbook
The Zero-Waste Cookbook will surely be a hit to your friends or family members who not only want to be eco-friendly but also save money! This marvelous cookbook contains 100 simple recipes showing how you can use scraps that you usually throw away. This $20 eco-friendly gift will teach you how to make yummy recipes like cauliflower stem and potato skin soup, apple skin biscuits,and delicious vegetable stock. There is even an entry on how you can regrow your scraps!
- Cork Yoga Mat
Two of most people’s top new year’s resolutions are to be more sustainable and to work out more. Now, you can help your loved ones combine these two resolutions with this cork yoga mat. This yoga mat is sustainably harvested, as well as resists germs and odors! Plus, it also offers a free yoga class with the purchase AND a lifetime warranty. I am sure you will agree with me that $39.98 is such a ridiculous price for this little gem.
- Solar-Powered Phone Charger
For your friends who love the great outdoors, I will suggest gifting them with a solar-powered charger. I would specifically recommend this multipurpose power bank that can also be used as a flashlight, a compass, and a solar panel charger. You can charge this power bank through a regular power source or through green energy using its solar panel. I think that $29.99 is such a steal for this unique eco-friendly gift.
- Sustainable Dog Harness
We all have our fair share of fur mom friends. I know that I am that person in my friend group! I really love the EcoBark Dog Harness that is made from plastic bottles! The harness is double padded, hypoallergenic, SUPER soft, and boasts of a no-choke design. It also comes in six different sizes, from XS to XXL, and in 10 colors! I love this so much that my little pooch has been using this since she was a little puppy.
- Kaleidoscope Play Camera for Kids
Adult time is over and it’s the kids’ turn! This wooden camera from Kiko+ & GG* is one of the mist fantastic eco-friendly gifts for kids. It comes with either a pink or yellow removable lens and strap. As a little magical surprise, if you turn the lens, you are transported into an incredible kaleidoscope world!
- WWF’s Symbolic Species Adoptions
This one is more expensive than the other items on this list, but I think it is arguably one of the most special. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has a little program called “Symbolic Species Adoptions,” in which you can symbolically adopt an endangered animal for $55 for your loved one. Your adoption comes with a 10” plush, a photo of your animal, an adoption certificate, gift bag, species card, and another optional gift bag. You can choose from a wide variety of species, which include snow leopards, three-toed sloths, polar bears, sea turtles, sharks, etc! Truly an excellent gift for a loved one while also making a huge difference.
Bonus tip, I also suggest wrapping or packaging your presents in recycled, biodegradable, or reusable materials. Personally, I am going to be wrapping my presents this year in 100% recycled Kraft paper and natural twine. You can also opt to use adorable burlap bags that your loved ones can reuse later on.