My family and I do a secret Santa each year, where the “kids” (everyone under 50) each get assigned one person to whom they give a present. The person that everyone wants, year after year, is my cousin Sam. He’s not only the most enthusiastic person I’ve ever met and would be thrilled if you wrapped a piece of coal in an old sock, but he creates the most extensive wish list anyone of us has ever seen, so you literally can’t go wrong. Included in his list every year are at least four BBQ sauce kits, New England Patriots paraphernalia of all kinds (this year, it’s a cornhole board), ties (because who doesn’t need more ties when the next formal event is probably in 2022?), and plenty of food and drink gear (this year: a quesadilla maker, margarita machine, and a DIY Moonshine Still Spirits Kit). I hope everyone in their family has a Sam for lots of reasons, not the least of which is the ease of finding something they’ll absolutely love. In case you don’t have a Sam, we’ve pulled together a list of some of our favorite gifts.
An average of one million extra tons of trash are generated per week from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. That said, we all need a little bit of joy right now, so we’re hoping you can use the guide below to enjoy the gift-giving tradition while supporting some awesome companies that won’t leave you with a wasteful or consumerism hangover (which, let’s be honest, might still be better than the hangover Sam’s going to get from his DIY Moonshine Kit.)
FOR EVERYONE, BECAUSE GENDER BINARIES ARE SO 2000:
BYO cups may not be allowed at Starbucks for the foreseeable future, but you definitely don’t have to grab a new straw every morning. These come with an awesome squeegee tool and are made out of nearly unbreakable borosilicate glass, intended to help you stay caffeinated for hundreds of (Zoom) morning meetings.
This stylish water filter reduces over 90% of chlorine and 99% of sediment, giving you fresh water in under a minute. One filter can keep 300 plastic bottles out of the ocean. Bye bye, Poland Springs, hello, kitchen goals.
4Ocean takes a pound of plastic out of the ocean for every bracelet they make. You can join the club and get a new one every month.
How often have you realized you were out of drinks and wished you could get a cocktail out of thin air? Well, Air Co. actually makes vodka out of air. They transform the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into impurity-free ethyl alcohol. (This company also quickly pivoted their facilities to start making sanitizer at the beginning of the pandemic, so they’re basically angels). Move over, Tito. You had a good run.
For a brief moment, Avocado fell out of our good graces when they partnered with Goop to sell a $38,000 mattress. We still love you, Gwyneth, but pricing like that will never be sustainable, regardless of how many certifications or threads of organic cotton used. That said, these mattresses are the absolute best. They have about a million environmental certifications and are worth the (regular, non-Goop partnership) cost.
We can’t stop chirping about this brand, which was one of the trailblazers to start carbon-labeling all of their products, and try to be ethical at every turn. People buy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream because it’s the tastiest, and Patagonia jackets because they’re freaking trendy and timeless. They buy Allbirds because they’re comfy AF and look really cool. These companies do the right thing anyway without needing to gain more customers. That’s why we love them.
Pashko employs and empowers displaced garment workers to embrace sustainability and make the coziest athleisure out there. Their Serene Pants made it on Oprah’s Favorite Things list. If it’s good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for us.
Odele has a line of affordable shampoo and conditioner that’s vegan, cruelty-free, and made without all the nasty chemicals found in conventional shampoos (think: parabens). When you clean out your bathroom, these products are the only ones you need to keep.
If you’re tired of seeing so much food waste in your trash, look no farther. This at-home composter is odorless and turns food scraps into fertilizer. It’s also made out of materials like cork and recycled plastic, which is cool…if you’re into that sort of thing.
These soft gloves are made out of plastic bottles and scraps from the apparel industry. Great for text(ile recycl)ing!
Everyone needs a little extra zen these days, right? These mats are made out of cork, which is naturally biodegradable and grows quickly, so it is rapidly renewable. Ooohhhhmmmmm.
By 2025, the home essentials brand Grove Collaborative will be plastic-free. You can customize a subscription box with cleaning products packaged in reusable bottles. Cleaning in a pandemic has never been sexier.
OUTERKNOWN was founded by surfer Kelly Slater and became popular for their board shorts made from water bottles and recycled fishing nets. They’re now making jeans in what they claim is the world’s cleanest denim facility, using less water and fewer chemicals. Since jeans are one of the most popular garments in the world and the denim industry is one of the most polluting, we’re always looking for a cleaner pair.
Even if you don’t spend at least 15 minutes post-shower having “towel time” like us, you’ll love this robe. Coyuchi holds an impressive number of environmental certifications such as GOTS, Fair Trade, and 1% for the Planet.
We don’t have partnerships with any of these companies and don’t receive anything if you buy their products. Truly, we just really like them!