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Gift ideas that are good for the planet and the people.

Gift Guides 2019: Eco-Friendly & Giving Back

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image for holiday gift guide 2019 of person with red fingernail polish holding a small package wrapped in brown paper with a red shiny ribbon on top

The last of the holiday gift guides for 2019 are here. You can read about gifts for Joy & Thanks here, Comfort & Everyday Beauty here, and see last year’s guides here.

Today, I’m going to start with Gifts that are Sustainable for the planet, and then finish up with Gifts that Give Back with your purchase. Because I’m all about shopping with intention and meaning, especially for the holidays.


Holiday Gifts for 2019 that are Eco-Friendly

I have been on a journey this year to try and be more conscious of the things I’m buying and using on a day-to-day basis. (Frankly, Greta is breaking my heart. Full stop.) From reducing single-use plastics to trying to switch to zero-waste beauty products, to even shipping items with all recyclable materials. It is WAY harder than I expected. So I wanted to find ways to support sustainability for gifts this year, too.

image for pinterest showing holiday gift guide for 2019 showcasing eco-conscious and sustainable gifts
image of blue plastic toy hauler truck with yellow green and orange cars on top

Green Toys Car Carrier Vehicle Set

AMAZON – $24.99

Even though all my nieces and nephew are just on the cusp of outgrowing toys like this, I still stand by my love for Green Toys. Made in the USA of recyclable plastic, from 100% post-consumer waste. This truck was once a milk carton and might be once again someday. These toys can take a toddler beating, are universally loved, and come in great colors and approachable shapes. It’s a toy that’s win-win-win.

image of machined aluminum safety razor handles in matte black and matte gold

Reusable Safety Razor, Matte Black & Matte Gold

THE CLEAN COLLECTIVE – $59.95

While the Clean Collective is a company based out of Australia, so shipping is a bit higher than it would be stateside, the selection they offer is worth the wait. But aren’t these razor holders beautiful? And also plastic-free! And after the initial purchase, the blades are about 15¢ each, and you can get them everywhere. Recycling razor blades themselves varies depending on where you’re at, but a simple blade bank (which side note: totally used to be a thing people had slotted INTO THEIR WALLS, and it always amazes me when people in old houses find their bathroom walls filled with blades… ANYWHOO) will hold the used ones until you can drop the whole thing into the recycling bin.

image of light blue leather card holder from brave soles

The Voyageur Card Holder

BRAVE SOLES – $35.00

As an interior designer, and former product designer, I’m extremely conscious of the materials I’m specifying for any given project. How is it made, where does it come from and how long is it going to last when the product is done? Your basic life-cycle questions. Brave Soles is one of the companies taking discarded materials, and turning them into other products for a new life after the first one. This cardholder is made from up-cycled airplane seats and comes in blue or grey. Everything Brave Soles makes is just remarkable. I also love all of their sandals.

image of woven upper loafers with leopard pattern

‘Spotted’ Loafer

ROTHY’S – $165

While I have not yet joined the cult of Rothy’s, those that I know who have RAVE like evangelists. And when you break down how the company is making those super fun patterned and incredibly comfy flats, it becomes even more obvious why they’ve been so successful. With a fully woven upper using recycled plastic fibers, insoles with bio-foam and carbon-free rubber outsoles, it becomes a really smart choice for footwear. And they come in a bazillion patterns and colors so they’re sure to have something they’ll love to wear. Or go with a gift card!

image of lunch bag with unicorn pattern

Rex Lunch Bag, Unicorn

THE CLEAN COLLECTIVE – $11.95

This super fun lunch bag is another treat from The Clean Collective in Australia. Made by Rex London from recycled plastic bottles, this also comes in other fun patterns like animals, desert plants, monsters, and tropical palms. So cute!

image of colorful hair ties from kooshoo

Organic Hair Ties, Colorful

KOOSHOO – $15.00

So, yeah. Turns out? Plastic is in LITERALLY EVERYTHING. Including almost every single hair tie ever seen, which will then end up in the ocean somewhere. But KooShoo is here to help with that, and still keep your hair out of your face. Made from organic cotton and totally plastic-free, they also make other items like headbands and wraps.

image of lavender iphone 11 case

Pela Phone Case, Lavender

PELACASE – $39.95

Good looking, durable, and eco-friendly. Made from 100% Compostable biopolymer and Flax, Pela also donates a percentage of every sale to Ocean Cleanup and Preservation Initiatives. They carry cases in every size and color, and fun things like sunglasses, too.

image of three highly patterned baggu reusable shopping bags, one in butterflies, one is stripes and one in florals

Standard Baggu Set of 3 – Poolside

BAN.DO – $36.00

There’s really no reason to take plastic bags from any place you shop anymore. Especially when there are such cute shoppers on the market. Baggu is the OG when it comes to fun patterns and colors on bags that fold up to pocket-size. I dig the green in these, but I also really love this tartan version.

image of vanessa megan harvest natural perfume in amber bottle with square stopper and fine gold type on the lable

Harvest 100% Natural Perfume

VANESSA MEGAN – $89.95

Another company from Australia (proving just how far behind the US really is in this arena), this scent is described as “A breath of solstice, of ripe fruit and warm wind.” It also proves that not all natural products automatically have to bring to mind crunchy hippies, because this bottle is gorgeous. There is a full line of natural scents here.

image of black velour makeup remover round wipes

Black Bamboo Velour Reusable Makeup Removers

JS DESIGNS STUDIO – $13.49

These have been a revelation! After I finished up my last pack of makeup remover wipes, I picked these up on Amazon. They have been amazing! With a little bit of makeup remover solution, they work much better than the pre-packaged wipes. Black to hide makeup stains, and made of bamboo rayon / organic cotton blend, they wash so beautifully! Packaged in the perfect size for stocking stuffers.

image of orange ecoffee reusable tumbler in bright orange

ecoffee cup Reusable Tumbler, 14oz Mrs. Mills

AMAZON – $13.99

Based in South Africa, ecoffee cup is on a mission to eliminate single-use coffee cups the world over. Made from bamboo composite and food-grade silicone, every part of this can go in the dishwasher. And they come in the most fun colors and a variety of sizes.


Next up, Gifts that Give Back.


Holiday Gifts for 2019 that give back

Listen, I love to shop. More than just about anything. But I also want what I’m buying to mean something. These gifts will make the recipient happy while also giving back to help others. And that means something, right? And while no “give for buy” situation is 100% perfect, change has to start somewhere, and supporting causes you are passionate about is a great place to start.

image for pinterest of holiday gift guides fo 2019 for gifts that give back
image of black scarf will white pattern of oversized library stamp print

Library Stamp Lightweight Scarf

OUT OF PRINT – $32.00

Out of Print’s mission is to spread the joy of reading by transforming literary classics into bookish apparel and accessories. Part of every purchase goes towards book donations and to support literacy programs around the world. They’ve donated over 3 million books so far.

image of three bags of coffee with houndstooth pattern reading every pound saves a hound

Three Blend Starter Kit, Whole Bean

GROUNDS & HOUNDS COFFEE – $27.99

“Every Pound Saves a Hound.” Grounds & Hounds Coffee believes that “great coffee can fuel a greater purpose”. Twenty percent of all profits are deployed to no-kill rescue organizations for pups in need of a helping hand and to provide safe havens for pups between homes.

image of pink and purple glitter chalk with purple stencil of a unicorn

Yoobi Unicorn Glitter Chalk – 6pk

TARGET – 4.99

For every Yoobi product purchased, a Yoobi item is donated to a child in need here in the US. So this stocking stuffer will not only make your kiddo happy but somewhere a kid will get just what they need to succeed in school.

image of off white diner mug

Diner Mug – Natural

CREATED CO. – $16.00

This is my favorite mug of all time. The one I pull off the shelf when I want to snuggle up with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Created Co. has a wide range of shapes and colors, (and custom printing) and donates a portion of each purchase to charity:water to fund clean water wells.

image of black tub of charity pot lotion from lush

Charity Pot, 8.4oz

LUSH – $27.95

ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the proceeds of this vegan body lotion by Lush is donated to small grassroots organizations working in the areas of human rights, animal protection, and environmental justice. And seven of the ingredients are sourced from Lush’s Sustainable Lush Fund projects that support regenerative agriculture around the world. As they say on their site, “you end up with velvety, beautifully-scented skin AND doing a world of good”.

image of watch constructed entirely of wood

Kappa Watch, 46mm, Nut

WE WOOD – $159.95

First of all, this watch is just cool. I love natural wood, and this is gorgeous in Walnut. With a premium Miyota 6P29 movement and a mineral glass face, this watch is built to last. We Wood has partnered with Trees for the Future, and for every watch sold, a tree is planted. Over 600,000 trees have been planted to date, and they’re aiming for 1 million by 2020.

image of gold necklace with the word strength on a fine chain

Strength Necklace

BAN.DO – $38.00

Part of the Good Intentions series of necklaces meant to inspire and be “little reminders of what you’re working on”. A portion of the proceeds for each necklace goes to Girls Inc., a non-profit helping girls grow up healthy, educated and independent.

image of orange and turquoise blanket from Sackcloth and ashes

Sackcloth & Ashes Orange and Turquoise Diamond Throw Blanket

WORLD MARKET – $99.99

With the purchase of this gorgeous wool blend blanket, Sackcloth & Ashes will donate a blanket to a homeless shelter in need. Their goal is to donate 1 million blankets to the homeless by 2024 by partnering with companies like World Market to reach shelters in your local area.

image of knit dog dolls from Cuddle + Kind

Noah the Dog, Regular

CUDDLE + KIND – $72.00

Meet Noah. According to his bio, his birthday is February 3rd and he is super interested in everything there is to know about the world. His favorite quote is “Don’t ever lose your sense of wonder”. I MEAN OMG. Just so damn cute. Made from heirloom-quality 100% cotton yarns and hypoallergenic polyfill, for every doll purchased, ten (!!!) meals are provided to a child in North America or around the globe. Good stuff.

Image of black tortoise sunglasses from Warby Parker

Maisie Sunglasses in Black Currant Tortoise

WARBY PARKER – $95

I love a sassy pair of sunglasses. Warby Parker has partnered with VisionSpring, for a Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. To date, they’ve donated to 50+ countries, and have started a program called Pupils Project to reach children here in the US.

image of camo backpack from State Bags

Kane Backpack, Coated Camo – Camo

STATE – $90.00

This company man, wow. State is a certified B Corp company that wants you to shop for a cause. While building durable, good-looking bags is something pretty much anyone can do, State takes it all a step further. Known for their Bag Drops of fully packed backpacks to communities in need and #whatdowetellthekids, what is truly special is that each line of State bags benefits a different cause. Kane is part of the #givebackpack Fall Collection, which benefits Save the Children’s emergency efforts at the US – Mexico border, delivering humanitarian aid. This bag comes in 33 colors, and 2 sizes, the larger one shown here fits a 13″ laptop with lots of great pockets inside. There is also a matching lunchbox you can purchase if you’d like to match. I highly recommend a look at their other lines as well, benefitting everything from Time’s Up to The Flint Initiative. Their 2019 Holiday collection benefits Bring Change 2 Mind promoting mental health awareness.

WHOOOOO! I think that’s it for this year’s Gift Guides! Did you see anything you like? If you’re on Pinterest, you can also find links to ALL the gift guides for both 2019 and 2018 HERE.

I hope you are able to celebrate with those you love and find things that make them feel special. Happy Shopping, and Best Wishes for the Season!

get it now

How to Find & Work With Trades

free download

learn more

Detailed planner, seasoned shopper, & thoughtful creator of solutions for the overwhelming home projects in your busy life.

I'm Mel!

hey there

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