According to the National Retail Foundation, consumers are poised to spend an average of $967.13 this year on holiday gifts for friends and family. About one-third of that spending will occur over Thanksgiving weekend, and over 120 million Americans will participate in Cyber Monday sales. Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday allow local businesses and non-profits to get a bigger slice of the gift pie, but every day green products can slip through the cracks. Here are some of the best-designed green items of 2017, with something for everyone on your list.
For Babies & Toddlers
It is 2017, and hedgehogs are still hot. Finn & Emma have jumped on this overload of cuteness with a wood rattle hedgehog teether made from untreated Indian hardwood, finished with non-toxic vegetable seed wax, and filled with cooking beans for a lovely sound. They retail for $19 online. Their site is worth poking around for other meme-worthy finds like a stuffed Viking rattle for a brawny baby.
JJ Rabbit has been busy experimenting and has come out with a new line of baby cups, spoons, and plates made from a stronger -- still fully biodegradable -- non-toxic bio plastic, with no BPA, no Phthalates, no PVC and adorable "hidden" creatures waiting at the bottom of every cup. Their starter bundles are perfect for toddlers and retail for $35.
Continuing the non-toxic mealtime gift concept, Kiwi Importer is selling an Eco Hero, Plastic Free, Toddler Dinner Set for $25 that is money well spent for parents (and eco-minded grandparents) looking to reduce chemical exposure. This 6-piece sets looks like a little super hero when stacked together. It's made entirely from rice husks and rice resin, and is both BPA free and dishwasher safe.
Everyone loves Christmas socks or Hanukkah Sox™, but it is hard to justify spending $15 for a pair of socks that will quickly be separated. Well, that's not a worry with Solemates, which feature a little magnet sewn into the top to keep them together in the wash. Cute, fun and clever! They also offer adult sizes.
Do you have preciously cute clothing from when your kids were little that you can't bear to give away? Vintage pocket squares from a grandfather who passed away? Instead of stashing these items in a drawer, you can have them upcycled into a custom patchwork bear toy. Sweetly sentimental, it's no wonder these bears, which retail from $60- $120, are one of Oprah's favorite things this year, too.
Green Toys has been creating innovative eco-friendly products for years, and this season's releases are no exception. The Green Toys House Playset ($49.99) features a large, multi-leveled house with a moveable staircase, and a nice assortment of extras such as a bright yellow convertible, two mouse characters, bed, bathtub, table, and two chairs all made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic with no BPA, phthalates, or PVC. All the pieces fit inside the house, which parents will appreciate, as it makes clean-up much easier. Their various Dough Sets ($24.99) include lots of recycled plastic tools by theme -- mealtime, cake maker, flower maker, etc. -- along with their signature non-toxic dough made with organic flour.
For men who love all things wood, watches, and whiskey, Original Grain recently launched their new Whiskey Barrel Watch as part of their "Reclaimed Series" that blends the three manly choices in the most spectacular fashion. These substantial timepieces are truly works of art, and no two are exactly alike. Their partnership with Trees for the Future means they use a portion of the $219 price tag to plant a tree for each purchase -- a nice bonus for the eco-conscious on your gift list.
Urban hipsters will love what Knotzland Artisan Bow Tie Company is up to this year. They take some of the 10.5 million tons of discarded textile waste that usually ends up in landfills each year, and uses them to create super stylish accessories. The packaging includes a snippet of the raw fabric and information about their clever upcycling process. Their statement bow ties start at $65.
Moral Code is a company making footwear and high end leather goods in a certified sustainable tannery (accredited with LWG Gold standard). They have a zero effluence discharge system, their dyes are all AZO-free, they don't us child labor. If their social and environmental standards alone were not enough to sell, their product designs and crafting certainly will. Their Graham bag ($598) is butter soft, yet distinctly masculine, and built to last a lifetime. They have many smaller items too, like leather eye glass cases and wallets, priced under $100.
Shaving can be a ritual, as much as an act of necessity, and the design of Honour Essential's line is so nice, it can make those of us without facial hair downright jealous.. The refillable canisters, which contain paraben-free, sulfate-free shave cream, are industrial chic with a gear-like top -- and the razor is smooth and sculptural. The products are priced accordingly ($95 just for the razor), but if you have the budget, it's a gift to impress. For men who want to keep their beards bushy, California Beard Company has designed a line of handmade eco-friendly men's grooming products including a sustainable bamboo Beard Comb ($15) as well as various balms and oils to keep that bushy beard soft.
Lillian Daniels is the founder of The Bali Bead Necklace, a line of simply stunning recycled glass multi-strand necklaces that can be paired with everything from high fashion to jeans, and look good on virtually everyone. The beads are silky smooth with rich colors, making these necklaces versatile and timeless. The best part is that each purchase is a social investment, supporting women artisans in Indonesia. The company offers two styles, the "Original" ($79.97) and the "Statement" ($159.50) in a variety of bright, fashionable colors.
Coffee on the go is crucial to many a commuter, but for women trying to avoid plastic cups, the microwave-safe options are limited. That's where the EcoSouLife Travel Cup 2-pack is a great design (2 cups for $19.99). They are made from PLA -- a corn, sugarcane, and cassava root material that biodegrades in 3 years if buried, but can last decades in regular household use and can be microwaved for 2-3 minutes at a time without issue. These cups are very strong and unlike their glass counterparts, can withstand dropping on the floor. The silicone tops are easy to take on and off, but hold well to avoid spills enroute.
Does a lady in your life love bees and beauty? Then this gift is for her. Farmacy Skincare has a Honey Harvest gift set ($45) that includes a moisturizer, mask and deluxe mini renewing night treatment in a cute gift box. All made with natural ingredients and without harmful Parabens, formaldehyde or artificial coloring. A portion of every sale goes to support the CityGrowers program.
For Grandma & Grandpa
Worried your parents might burn their house down this year? You are probably familiar with the Elf on The Shelf, but he now has a cousin who can keep your live Christmas tree from drying out or dying. Evergreen Elf works with all tree stands, and has both a visual and audio alert to let you know when your tree is dry. While not made from eco-friendly materials, this innovative product increases the chance that you can opt to replant your tree, and reduces the fire hazard that dry trees pose. Peace on Earth may not be attainable, but peace of mind should be.
Want to help your grandparents hear their BBC broadcast and midnight symphonies more clearly? If they have smart phones and would enjoy the the unique blending of modern function with historic style, Symphonica's horn speaker dock ($129.99) could be perfect for them. It is beautifully crafted from sustainable wood to look like an old phonograph, and employs natural acoustics to amplify and enhance the sound of iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
Leftovers keep longer when properly covered. Greatusefulstuff.com is selling the cutest set of Holiday Bowl Covers made from cotton and vegetable wax that say "Merry munchies" and "Holiday goodies" on them. They are like shower caps for your bowls - easy to use and machine washable. At $20 for 5, they make a nice gift for parents and grandparents alike.
For The Chef
When it comes to bio-engineered kitchen upgrades, Bamboozle is making their products out of pressed sustainable bamboo fiber, which is both strong and sturdy. Their nesting bowls are beautiful enough to be showcased by MoMA and strong enough to be dishwasher safe. The nesting bowls retail for $69.45, but you can pick up Bamboozle's equally attractive and functional mixing bowls for just $24.74 on Amazon, making them an ideal and affordable hostess gift.
An artisan cutting board is a nice thing to tuck under the tree that all the adults in the house will enjoy. Labell Boards are made recycled Canadian recovered/recycled hardwoods and are true works of art. They offer more than 90 models to choose from, including inexpensive items like paddles and utility boards that all ship worldwide.
KAZI's website is a good place to pick up a hand woven basket or vase. Their craftswomen in Rwanda weave brightly dyed sisal fibers and sweet grass to make stunning one-of-a-kind pieces that are rich in cultural meaning and purpose. You can shop by shape, color or price, with many finds for less than $30.
For The Host/Hostess
You can never go wrong with chocolate, especially truffles. Alter Eco makes fair trade, sustainable, organic truffles wrapped in a uniquely designed compostable foil. They are to
die for. Their bars are great too, and this season they offer gift boxes for just $17.99, including a Milk Chocolate Lovers Gift Set, Classic Gift Set for Crunchy Salted Chocolate Lovers, and a Classic Gift Set for Deep Dark Chocolate Lovers. Yum!
If you don't know what to bring to an event, a bottle of wine is an easy and elegant choice. Menade organic wines are available from wine.com for as little as $10.99. Menade is a winery in the Rueda region of Spain producing excellent quality flavorful certified wines. The sibling winemakers -- Marco, Richard and Alejandra Sanz -- have five generations of winemaking behind them, but they are pioneers in organic viticulture. Their wines are affordable, ship nationally, and pair well with fish, seafood, salads or even grandma's famous holiday apple pie!
Want to send a gift basket in lieu of attending an event or as a thank you offering? Olive & Cocoa, known best for their organic luxury blankets and throws, have just launched a food line. Their products include a Hanukkah treat box and Holiday Sweets box. Their food treats come in treasure-worthy wooden crates, which can be as much of a gift as the items inside.
For The Dog (Or Dog Lover)
America's 83 million pet dogs produce some 10.6 million tons of poop every year. Just a few days of waste from 100 dogs can produce enough pollution to close 20 miles of beach to swimming and shellfishing, which is why picking it up and disposing of it properly is essential. Recycled plastic shopping bags and newspaper bags are good for collecting, but carrying your "doggie bag" home is no fun. The Fifth Paw makes a clever device ($14.99) that lets the leash do the heavy lifting.
Want to give your pooch a treat too? Lucas B makes natural rubber dog toys. 100% toxin-free and so cute! Their products range from small to large and all come in fun bright colors, starting at $9.99.
Wrap It Up
Yes, you could use recycled newspaper -- if you still subscribe to the paper version of the paper -- or those old Trader Joe's bags, but if you want to wrap your gift up in beautiful and sustainably made paper, Wrappily, offers 100% recyclable and compostable reversible gift wrap with colorful patterns, printed in the USA with soy-based inks. Their kits, which include matching hang tags, retail for just $6.
Buying eco-friendly products like the ones above is a simple but important way to support sustainable sourcing and help protect the planet. The holidays are the perfect time to make an eco-friendly statement by showing your friends and family that you care about them and Planet Earth.