The holiday season is always an opportunity to give your time and presence to your loved ones. But if you’re looking to add on a special gift, here are some thoughtful gifts that come from mission-driven companies. Some give back, some reduce waste, some encourage wellness.
Happy Earth’s all gender joggers are made with GOTS-certified rain-fed organic cotton. Cozy, and made with thick fabric, they’re perfect for winter weather — either to lounge indoors or for a weekend hike. This certified B Corp offsets its carbon footprint and gives back 1% to the Planet.
Versatile, classic, and super comfy. These can be thrown in the wash, and last for years. Knit from Rothy’s signature thread, which is spun from single-use plastic bottles. Approximately 13 plastic bottles go into knitting this pair of shoes. By the end of 2022, Rothy’s factory aims to be LEED- and TRUE-certified, validating that it’s operating with green building practices and has achieved zero waste according to TRUE’s requirements. Rothy’s ships plastic-free!
Nora Schaper, co-founder, president and chief growth officer, is leading the company through an expansive phase; since launching their popular shampoos, they’ve added a face wash and deodorant as well. HiBAR, which started in Nora and her husband’s Minneapolis home, is currently available in over 11,000 stores in North America, including the grocery channel where they’re the top brand in the plastic-free beauty category. Buy direct or from Whole Foods, Thrive Market, Sprouts, Raley’s, Publix and Fresh Thyme, among others. And, it’s a cliché but true: The company started in their basement. Today, the manufacturing and warehouse facility in St. Paul is over 10,000 square feet and growing. This American-grown business is not only eco-minded but creating opportunities for others to work alongside them. Plus, the shampoo bars work!
London-based Troubadour Goods recently announced that it’s joined the B Corp tribe. All their bags are made of recycled material; more than 80 percent on average, and delivered in compostable and recyclable packaging. Designed with functionality in mind, not only are they eco-friendly bags but they are chic everyday essentials. The sling and messenger bags are affordably priced under $100. The lightweight totes come in two options: with zipper and without. Both are spacious with a series of pockets for organization. And their backpacks remain best-sellers.
Flavedo & Albedo was built around the piercing fact that its founder’s favorite accessory (makeup) was resulting in an immense amount of waste — the beauty industry alone produces more than 120 billion units of plastic packaging a year. That statistic is even scarier when you realize only up to 15% of that rubbish is actually recycled.
Their clean and vegan line consists of 18 product SKUs of vibrant, hydrating, and multi-functional cosmetics encapsulated within plastic-free containers that use recycled cork, aluminum, and glass. Their Dew Tint (used on cheeks and lips) is a versatile product, perfect for travel and a minimal makeup look.
This London-based female-founded company started out doing workwear in eco fabrics that were comfortable to wear all day long. Their Eco Luxe essentials include this layer top that’s buttery soft and 94% of yarns used are bio-based and derived from sustainably forested trees beechwood trees. Made in Portugal, it continues Dai’s commitment to making everyday essentials in high-quality eco-friendly materials.
This Lip and Eye Balm is a small luxurious splurge perfect for the holidays. Leland Francis is a gender-neutral clean, vegan, luxury skincare and fragrance concept with a mission to sustainability with products that are good for the body and the earth developed by celebrity and editorial makeup artist Dillon Peña. Made in small batches, their products are free of added parabens, phthalates, fillers and formulated without artificial colors or fragrances. A soulful brand that can inject a bit of joy in your everyday routine.
Janessa Leone recently released a collection of carbon-negative wool sweaters made entirely in the USA. Over two years in the making, the collection – called RÉCIPROQUE – was launched in partnership with Oregon’s Shaniko Wool Co., which uses regenerative farming practices to capture carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the ground (last year, Shaniko reported capturing 660,000 tons of CO₂), and with guidance from Rachel Cantu, the former vice president of global supply chains for Patagonia.
For the best socks, these are an investment but will last for year’s to come. Made with United by Blue’s signature BisonShield™ fiber: crafted with salvaged bison wool that’s intercepted from the waste stream, these have a reinforced heel and toe, along with arch support. Plus, they’re made in America.
Ilia beauty’s holiday gift sets include a mix of full-size and mini products that will give you a complete face, lip, or eye look. This lovely Eye Kit (priced $56) includes two full- size products (limitless lash mascara and clean liquid liner) and two of their popular cream-to-powder eyeshadows. Ilia has been advocating for reducing waste in the beauty industry, encouraging customers to send in their “empties” for proper recycling.
Prakti Beauty describes itself as an embodiment of this new generation, fusing together the cultural richness, rituals, and spirituality of India with the contemporary energy of the West, to create a first-of-its-kind hybrid beauty brand. The line is inspired by Indian beauty practices passed down through generations, but translated for a modern world. Their most popular product the Priti Polish uses rice powder to give a gentle exfoliation to the face.
Abel is 100% natural fragrance from New Zealand that embodies the luxurious scents of nature. Their elegant Discovery Set of their five most popular scents is a wonderful gift to let your loved one determine his/her favorite. Comes packaged in a chic (100% recyclable) presentation box.
In 2013, Abel founder and former winemaker, Frances Shoemack was searching for a truly natural perfume and came up short. Abel was born. Fellow New Zealander, Master Perfumer Isaac Sinclair became Shoemacks’ first ally in the quest to disrupt an industry that didn’t believe natural perfume could be chic, modern, or stand up alongside the world’s best. Abel, now based in Wellington, New Zealand is sold in 33 countries globally. No longer satisfied with making the world’s best natural perfume, they are driven to have a positive impact both on the environment and the community.
Piano Piano is a new tableware company founded by sisters Sophie and Kiki. Inspired by a slower pace of life, as the name suggests (piano means “slow”), Piano Piano offers a variety of vibrant ceramics intended to bring color and life to your every day. Each item in their collection is individually handcrafted and hand painted by local Italian artisans in a small town in the Amalfi Coast.
Portland-based glass artist Etai Rahmil came up with the design after running out of paper filters for his morning pour over. He wanted to see if he could merge his love for coffee with his love for glass, coming up with a solution that eliminated the need for paper filters altogether. He put the project up on Kickstarter and it generated over $350,000, far surpassing his goal. Since then, the beautiful design has turned into his full-time business. The Pure Over dripper can be bought on its own or as a kit which includes a mug, base, and stirrer.
The TruEnamel Collection is a first of its kind for MiiR and for the reusable drinkware industry: reminiscent of the old enamel camp mug and similar to what enamel cookware brands like LeCreuset offer, MiiR has developed a patent-pending process of fusing real fired-glass enamel over vacuum-insulated stainless steel, offering an eye-catching, high-gloss glass finish to the vessel. Currently available in a tumbler or mug in black only. With each purchase though, MiiR gives back to an assortment of non-profits that address the intersection of people and the environment; they’ve given $3 million to date through their philanthropic program.
KENT’s plastic-free underwear is made exclusively from plant-based materials, making them healthier and more comfortable for you and the planet. 100% organic pima cotton features in both men’s and women’s designs for everyday comfort. They are made in California and are 100% compostable too (since they’re basically just cotton!).
Anthony Katz started Hyperice over a decade ago, after trying to find a better solution for himself post-workouts; simply icing his muscles wasn’t cutting it. He created a contraption that could make the process faster and easier. A friend of his had been working with Kobe Bryant, and shared the device with him. Bryant was a fan, as were other basketball players. Over the years, Katz has worked to produce a slew of products that bridge the techniques and tools of the athletic world for everyday athletes. The Hypervolt Go 2 is a compact massage gun that’s TSA-approved, and perfect for the exercise lover in your family. It’s a solid piece of equipment that could swap out routine massage sessions, and make them more affordable and convenient to do from home.
For the athlete in your family, who may already have a massage gun (and a few other relaxation tools), consider this new heated muscle scraper. A first in the industry, and made by the same company that debuted an at home cupping device (for those who like acupuncture and cupping sessions, this is also a wonderful holiday gift.) While it may be pricey, it’s the price of one or two physical therapy sessions — and the convenience of being able to do it at home.
Started by a small-town Wisconsin girl determined to become an entrepreneur, Colombian-American founder Cassandra Morales Thurswell launched Kitsch as a true bootstrapped business–completely self-funded on initial investment by Cassandra when she was just 25 years-old from door-to-door sales of her first product, a hair tie. Ten years later it’s in stores and salons across the US, and now they’ve incorporated a variety of products made from recycled materials. Hair ties, claw clips, and more made from recycled plastics, polyester or nylon. For a stocking stuffer or a small gift, these pretty hair accessories are perfect.
LA-based For Days specializes in organic cotton basics. Their sweatsuits, which come in this lovely waffle material as well, are cozy essentials for everyday wear. For Days is interested in building a circular model to fashion; they ask customers to send back their used clothes so that the materials can be repurposed. For instance, these sweats are made with not just organic cotton, but also recycled cotton that they’ve facilitated through their supply chain.
Lifestraw’s well-know filter water bottle is now available in stainless steel, which will not only clean out your water but also keep it chilled. The company does independent testing to protect against bacteria, parasites, microplastics, chlorine, organic chemical matter, dirt, sand, and cloudiness. The taste is noticeably better. Plus, LifeStraw contributes its profits to humanitarian projects around the world; either in a moment of crisis or in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the company provides its filters to communities for access to clean water. But also, on an ongoing basis LifeStraw works to provide clean filtered water to schools communities in western Kenya.
Kate McLeod specializes in zero-waste bath and body products. Its flagship product — the body stone — starts with a core formula of cocoa butter and four nourishing base oils: sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, and fractionated coconut. That’s it. From there, Kate adds pure essential oils that provide benefits for both body and mind. The Daily Stone has a subtle floral blend of rose, frankincense, and neroli. If you’re looking for a luxurious eco-friendly moisturizer that doesn’t compromise on experience, this is an elegant alternative to liquid moisturizers.
If you’re still buying disposable razors, this is the best way to not only reduce the plastic waste produced by swapping out razors every month, but will give much longer-lasting results. Within 4-6 weeks, most women start to see a reduction in hair growth. While Braun doesn’t offer plastic-free packaging, it’s a one-time investment that can last for years to come and reduces the need for additional products. Plus, since you’ll still need to shave periodically, consider a Hanni weighted razor for your hair removal routine (you’ll never need to buy another one). At the end of the day, this will save hundreds in salon visits. And remember to send old beauty gizmos to an e-waste program so they’re properly recycled.
American-made gear by Voormi features wool as its predominant material. The team behind Voormi want to push the boundaries of what wool can do. Using a tech-driven approach, they’re hoping to make outdoor gear that’s eco-friendly but also long-lasting. And it’s all made in the US, which allows them to serve the specific needs of their customers with greater agility — new designs and materials can be tested in days, instead of months. The River Run Hoodie, featured here, is an ultralight layer that works in different climates; available in a men’s version as well. Great for travel or long outdoor expeditions given its so lightweight.
For a luxurious gift, the Bearaby organic cotton blanket is a wonderful addition to help you sleep more soundly. In the winter, it works best with a layer to ensure that air doesn’t get through the pockets created by the weave. But in the summer, it’s airy and comfortable despite the weight. If you’re looking to try a weighted blanket, this is made from certified organic cotton and in fair trade-certified facilities in India. The company aims to be plastic-free, which is also evident in their packaging.
LastSwab is a practical swap for the 1.5 billion cotton swabs produced daily to be thrown away after just one use. Last Object, the company behind LastSwab says that these cotton swabs are one of the most significant ocean pollutants today. Each LastSwab lasts up to 1,000 uses and comes in a case made from repurposed ocean-bound plastic that keeps it protected and makes it easy to carry on the go. It comes in two styles, one for cleaning and one for makeup.