Are you feeling excited about the holidays, dumplings?? Honestly, I thought we wouldn’t do Editor’s Picks Gift Guide this year. In the past year or so, almost the entire team committed (individually!) to buying only sustainable fashion, and overall to embrace minimalism.
Having said that, I think mindful living can coexist with luxurious gifting. For one, your possessions do wear out. For another, as a woman who needs to put on a polished appearance to the world and live a comfortable and beautiful life at home, sometimes you just need that new dress or a new pair of shoes.
Most of the following items are quite a splurge, and that’s not because one needs to be rich to do conscious consumerism, but because gifts should really be things that you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself but your giftee would be overjoyed to get. A random makeup set from Sephora or an H&M sweater only seems like you dutifully checked off your list under your budget, and at convenient retailers that usually cluster together in one area/mall. My advice when it comes to gifting and getting is: Does it *inspire* you? Will it be used/worn it enough over time to justify its cost? If so, then it’s a worthy purchase.
For Your Mom
John Hardy Dot Drop Earring, $395
John Hardy Bali is an ethical fine jewelry house that uses reclaimed metals, sustainably-sourced gemstones, and traditional Balinese metalsmith techniques. The motifs are inspired by nature in Bali and evoke serpents, dragons, leaves, and trees. Proceeds of its Bamboo Collection is used to plant bamboos in Indonesia, an area that’s increasingly threatened by deforestation. Also, it’s working to make its workshops carbon-neutral. Your mom will love these modern yet opulent silver earrings…So chic!!
I actually bought these for myself and for my mom! They’re so super soft, comfy, and made with organic cotton and bamboo jersey with a touch of Spandex for stretch. I don’t take them off on weekends. My mom loves being comfortable yet pulled together, so these fit the bill perfectly! Made in NYC.
For Your Friend With A Baby
You’ll totally turn into a “baby person” when you see this handmade educational toy. Child’s Cup Full is a nonprofit initiative that employs disadvantaged and refugee mothers in the West Bank, giving them economic independence and a way to take care of their families. The toys themselves are so unbelievably cute and great for all ages. (Point and naming, matching 2 of the same kind, flipping them for memory games…)
For The Person Who Has It All
We all have those people on our list who seemingly have it all, like our bosses and our bosses’ bosses, older siblings, mother-in-law, blah blah. Lurk will impress the most discerning of all giftees. All organic, wildcrafted, and made with natural sugarcane alcohol (as opposed to denaturalized alcohol), this vegan and haute perfume even looks so super classy on your vanity. BS 003 is a blend of bergamot and citrus notes according to the site, though I think it smells more spicy and musky–it’s definitely a sexy, nuanced, and sophisticated scent for a complicated and in-charge woman.
For Your Sister/Best Friend
Phoebe “Shauku” Ring, $60
Phoebe is an ethical and fairtrade jewelry line handcrafted by artisans in Kenya. This one, “Shaku,” means Passion in Swahili. It’s both modern, subtle, and perfect for city life, and at the same time organic and evocative. Love!
I’m a yuuuge fan of Earthwise Beauty, a vegan-friendly, organic, and all-natural line wildcrafted in the beautiful Spokane, Washington. There’s not a single thing in any of Earthwise’s products that isn’t botanical or food-grade pure, and they really *work.* I’ve been using the Ambrosia del Cerrado Liquid Moisturizer recently because you’re actually supposed to add more water in winter (not just oil!!). It’s full of aloe vera which hydrates and stimulates your collagen, and it’s brightening and balancing too. Getting all 3 products in one set is a steal–plus your friend will get to try a little bit of each.
Also, peaceful dumplings can get an exclusive 15% discount at Earthwise! Just enter promo code PeacefulDumpling at checkout. Woohoo!
For Your Dad
Patagonia is in the process of phasing into all recycled wool and recycled synthetic fibers until they run out of their current fabric stock. We’ve discussed how as ethical vegans, we can consume ethical wool, and I think this is it. I love this classic sweater that pretty much says “Dad” all over it. My dad actually chops wood and makes fire–he’s not lumbersexual, he’s kind of a real lumberjack. Also I think this would be really cute if you got it monogrammed, if you have an embroidery place/laundromat that does things like that.
My dad’s also a photographer, traveler, and a big nature lover, so this gorgeous fine art photography book by David Yarrow focusing on the wildlife in Africa would be perfect. Also, proceeds from this book benefit Tusk Organization, an international conservation nonprofit that works to protect endangered species in Africa through engaging community support (a key element of successful conservation effort).
Cocomat Natural Latex Pillow, around $160
Give the gift that will actually improve the quality of his (and Mom’s) life. Cocomat is an Amsterdam-based brand of natural mattresses and pillows. These pillows are pricey but are supposed to be pretty much usable for life–when the filling gets un-fluffy, you just bring it to the store and get it re-filled and re-fluffed. You can choose from all kinds of shapes, and either all natural latex (vegan) or sustainably harvested down and wool from Scandinavia. (The store associate was very keen to let me know that they don’t harm the animals and they basically follow them around picking down from the ground. Which I can live with).
For Your Male Significant Other
Nudie Jeans Waldo Recycled Wool Men’s Coat in Anthracite, $420
Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Nudie Jeans has been making organic and salvaged jeans since 2001–way before most of us had gotten on the sustainable fashion train. This stylish coat boasts recycled wool and organic cotton upper lining, and it’s designed in Sweden so you know it’s going to be warm. Investing in a $400 coat is completely “affordable” if you wear a coat every day for three months, year after year, as I do.
This is actually a *great* gift for your man. First of all, if you have a man who doesn’t think plants are amazing, maybe rethink the relationship. (It’s like guys who don’t like animals…ugh). Also, you can grow this together as a couple project–it’ll bring you two closer. These are not just your run-of-the-mill succulents, either. Dandy Farmer raises these remarkable bonsai trees from seedling and puts them in handmade pots, with care instructions. Some of them flower and bear berries through the four seasons–so cute!
For Yourself (duh)
I got this for myself a few months ago and my favorite part of the day is changing out of my work clothes and putting this on! It’s made of organic cotton and feels incredibly soft and chic. So hygge.
Because, treat yourself.
Blankets, we all have them. Instead of buying cheap synthetic ones from Ikea or Target, why not invest in something truly special. Dignify quilts/throws are made in Bangladesh by women artisans who have been victims of sexual trafficking. This gives them economic empowerment; meanwhile, the quilts themselves are made by putting six layers of vintage saris over one another and stitching using a traditional Bengal method. There are vibrant options that would look amazing in a bohemian home, or white and indigo options that look modern and clean. (I think this rose one is made for my navy couch. muhaha)
Completely Free “Gifts”
I think the best way of being pro-Earth is to use what you have and not buy tons of “green” things. Also, I grew up fairly frugal. One Christmas around age 10 or 11, I do believe I got a $5 bunny doll from Costco for Christmas–that was *all* I got, and I thought, “I’m too old for this.” Even through most of my adulthood I’ve been on a strict budget. Spending hundreds of dollars to go see The Nutcracker or to buy myself a splurge gift has only been an option for me since relatively recently.
The truth is that gifts are not really essential for having great holidays. Besides The Nutcracker, I love going to see the Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Garden (affordable $30). Some completely free options include: watching The Nutcracker on YouTube (compare the companies!), streaming your favorite holiday songs, going to Christmas Markets (everywhere in NYC and lots of European cities), reading Christmas books, watching LOTR, The Hobbit, and/or Harry Potter, crafting using found twigs and leaves (make your own reindeer centerpiece), sticking whole cloves into clementines (let them sit until they dry and shrivel! Makes great natural room perfume and Christmas ornament—it’s a French tradition), lighting candles, taking a walk in neighborhoods with famous lights (The Grove in Portland is a popular destination), and going to mass/religious service of your choice.
What’s on your list this year?
More sustainable holiday inspiration: This Sustainable Gift Guide Is Good For The Earth, Your Loved Ones & Your $$
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Photo: Respective Brands