The Shopping Guide for Heartfelt Gifting
PLEASURES, TREASURES, AND DO-GOOD VENTURES
Help Satisfy Their Wanderlust
I discovered Attic Journals last year. For Christmas I bought notepads that were made from old Macintosh floppy disks. They were a delightful trip down memory lane to my family's early computer days.
Most of the notebooks at Attic Journals are made using old hardbacked book covers, from botany guides to Dr. Seuss, you can find the perfect one for your gift recipient.
The shoulder bag I always take traveling is one I bought 21 years ago from L.L. Bean. It has a slot in the back (like the one in this picture) to slide over my suitcase handle. It's great!
I've been impressed by how well it's held up, but after seeing this beautiful bag I wish it needed replacing! Parker Clay makes stunning leather bags of all designs, for men and women. They hire at-risk women, pay living wages and benefits, and provide skills training, career advancement, and financial literacy opportunities to all employees.
My 18 year old carry-on suitcase literally fell apart this year. I replaced it with this roller bag (that can transform into a backpack) and I'm in love. It has a hybrid soft/hard shell, hardcore wheels, and lots of pockets — I'm a huge fan of pockets! The zippers are heavy duty and the company has a repair program; so 18 years from now I can have it fixed instead of throwing it away. Yay!
The repair program is just one of the way Topo Designs works to create products that are sustainable. This particular bag is made from 100% recycled nylon using certified fair wage labor.
I had a favorite travel mug. It was perfect. The company stopped making them (don't you hate it when that happens). My mug is on it's final leg. I've been looking for a year for a replacement. I've tried: Hydro Flask, Contigo, Zojirushi, Starbucks and Kleen Kanteen. I almost gave up.
Then, I discovered MiiR. It hits all my points: keeps my coffee nice and hot, has a simple lid without a million parts to clean, the lid doesn't hit me in the face when I'm drinking, and it's sleek enough for all the cup holders. Sadly, it is not 100% leak proof (my old mug could be thrown into my backpack), but it's pretty good.
As a bonus, MiiR products are designed with sustainability in mind and every sale helps fund trackable giving projects.
...especially if you pair them with an airline ticket to a tropical beach!
Tidal flip flops are 5x more durable than the average flip flop. They're made start to finish in Tidal's 100% wind-powered factory in New York state. And the materials they're made from are sourced from U.S.-based, family-run companies.
I prefer hats to sunscreen, but finding a good looking, packable hat can be tricky. Luckily, the folks at Carkella have you covered. They have many great unisex styles, which means you can give it as a gift and "borrow" it back. (Not that I've ever done that.)
A certified B-Corp, their mission is to raise awareness about the everyday threat of skin cancer.
This box is perfect for sending some comfort to a college student who won't be home for the holidays. It's also quite a cost savings if you want to divide the gifts among multiple recipients.
Happy Earth is, as you might guess, an earth-first social enterprise. Sustainability, not profit or convenience is their primary driver. When you make a purchase, you choose which environmental campaign to support.
Jelt makes lightweight, low-profile belts out of discarded plastic. Their travel belt has no metal and can be worn through airport security scanners without triggering the alarm.
I love that it's elastic and has a low-profile buckle so I can wear my shirt un-tucked without a big bulge at my belly button.
Clothing You Can Feel Good About
Everyone loves comfy lounging clothes. The problem is that most of them are ugly, and the cute ones aren't comfy.
The founder of I Love My Nighty took matters into her own hands and created a line of quality, comfortable, and stylish loungewear.
If you come to my office, there's a good chance I'll be wearing my Olukai slippers. I leave them there so, in Mr. Roger's style, I can take my outdoor shoes off and put these on when I walk in the door. Notice the stiching around the back? The heels are made to fold down so they can be worn like a mule without breaking the heel. Brilliant!
A portion of all profits go directly to support the Ama OluKai Foundation, honoring those who preserve and celebrate the cultural heritage and Aloha spirit of Hawai’i.
Have a favorite yogi who doesn't love the feel of synthetic workout clothes? Or know someone who wants an awesome pair of concsiously made shorts?
Kozm's yoga apparel is made from organic cotton, hemp, and recover (recycled natural fiber). The clothes are manufactured in the U.S. and the company runs with an open business model, which is to say they tell you exactly how much the clothes cost to make.
Chic, comfortable, good for the animals, good for the planet, good for the people — what more could you ask for?
Paka apparel is made from OEKO TEX certified alpaca wool. Their alpacas, who don't graze plants to extinction, run free. The wool spinning, done by fairly paid Peruvian locals, is 50% solar powered.
Children grow. Children grow very quickly! You could go out and purchase a brand new gift set of clothes for your friends who just became parents; knowing their child will only get a few wearings from them.
Or, you could call on Merry Go Rounds. You let them know your style and size preference and they'll put together a gift box of gently used clothing. Everyone wins!
Okay, so donating clothes only qualifies as a gift if you know someone who could really use help cleaning out their closet.
However, I thought it was worth mentioning because over 85% of clothes wind up in the trash! You might not know that 95% of all clothing, shoes and other textiles can be given a second life. (50% are reusable and 45% are recyclable)
However, selling off your good stuff and donating the junk makes for an impossible business model. You can learn more, and find a donation bin near you, over at Helpsy, a for-profit B-corp working to improve the textile life-cycle.
I can't tell you how excited I was to find these shoes. (There are many different styles, from boots to huraches, both for men and women.)
But I was even more excited to learn about the company! Nisolo is changing the world for factory workers. Most clothing is made by people who are not paid enough to feed their families.
Nisolo, a certified B-corp, creates intentionally designed, ethically made, and fairly priced (gorgeous) products. You can look amazing and feed families at the same time.
These are the socks I have in my dresser. I have legs that fatigue easily and Bombas makes the very best compression socks. (In addition to a ton of other great styles.)
The bonus is that your purchase helps supply homeless shelters with the most needed items: socks, underwear, and t-shirts.
Make Their Taste Buds Tingle
Surprise someone with edible goodies that depart from the expected peppermint and gingerbread lining U.S. stores at this time of year.
Hila founded Sweet Tahini with the purpose of introducing people to nutritious and delicious, middle eastern pantry staples.
If you haven't tried portable pour over coffee yet, I highly recommend it! I mostly use these little packets when I'm away from home: at the office, or on the road. But I'll even pour myself one at home on occasion when I don't want to run the coffee grinder.
Kujo coffe is sourced from local farms and packaged in their wind-powered facilities. They also give a portion of their yearly revenue to the National Park System.
Tidy forests are great for human convenience but the lack of plant diversity makes them unfriendly to our feathered friends.
The farmers at Hi Vue, an Audubon Certified Bird Friendly Maple Habitat, have been producing maple syrup the sustainable way for over 100 years. They offer a range of tasty treats from maple covered pretzels to maple vinegar.
For the Young, and Young at Heart
Sarah Koff uses traditional block printing techniques to transfer her designs onto fabrics, stationery, and more. She sticks to non-toxic inks and keeps her supply chain as local as possible.
These linen and cotton stockings would be a lovely addition to anyone's holiday decor.
Accompany is "a curated global marketplace featuring sustainable and ethical styles from artists and designers around the world."
They have many great gifts for people of all ages, but these alpaca stuffed animals are my top choice. My daughter has an alpaca teddy bear and even after years of love it's the softest thing on her shelf.
What started as a handful of U.S. guys, the Krochet Kids, making their own hats for winter sports, became a vision run business to empower people to rise above poverty in Uganda and Peru.
In addition to these sweet animal flap hats, they also make more refined designs — in adult sizes too!
This coloring and papercraft kit is completely free to download and print at The Tiny Farmhouse.
Amy McCoy is the eco-minded artist over there. Her studio is solar-powared, her inks eco-friendly, and her supplies locally sourced.
Have a picture of your sweet family pet or an exciting moment from summer vacation? You can turn it into a hand-crafted wooden puzzle. (Assembling it could even become a holiday tradition.)
What a Wood Work is a women-owned small business with their office based in New England and their main woodshop and artisans located in Jalisco, Mexico.
Yes, this is a bluetooth handset shaped like a banana! The Banana Phone is perfect for teens, an office gag-gift, or a white-elephant gift exchage.
Buying these types of things usually feels wasteful, but this is well-made enough to keep passing around and the proceeds go to gorilla conversation.
(I bought one for my nephew last year — it was a hit!)
Not only are these adorable, high-quality bears handmade in a small factory in the U.S., your purchase helps fund the Bears That Care program. This program brings bear hugs to people who need them most: from veterans who have lost limbs to homeless LGBT+, everyone gets some love.
We have many Vermont Teddy Bears at our house, so I can say from experience that their extra long arms really do make them more huggable.
The folks over at Bixbee figured out that carrying books on their long side, instead of the short side, provides a much better weight distribution for children.
In addition to having adorable, creative designs, for every backpack purchased the company donates one to a child in need.
Let's Not Forget Our Furry Friends
Maybe, this is actually for the owner who thinks their dog is human? I would completely understand — we have a fur baby too!
The company, Rumpl, who also makes great people blankets, has been a member of 1% For the Planet since 2017. And they're Climate Neutral Certified, which means they offset the carbon emissions of the entire company!
Our kitty will be getting these 100% wool, catnip toys in her stocking this year... she's been very, very good.
United by Blue also sells great things for dogs and people. And for every product purchased they remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways.
You know your dog would go crazy for some of your holiday gingerbread. (You also know it's not such a good idea to share.)
In comes Vermont Dog Treats to solve your dilemna. They make people-grade dog treats with locally-sourced and organic ingredients. Now, everyone's happy!