Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.


The best of solutions journalism in the sustainability space, published monthly.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

Mary Mazzoni headshot

TriplePundit's Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide

By Mary Mazzoni
TriplePundit Sustainable Holiday Gifts Guide 2020

This holiday season will inevitably be different as the coronavirus pandemic keeps families apart, but if you're still searching for a way to show loved ones you care without leaving undue impact on people and the planet, we've got you covered. Read on for our sustainable holiday gift guide.

holiday gift rainbow market tote COVID-19 recovery
Image credit: Uncommon Goods

Rainbow market tote 

As the coronavirus pandemic forced the world into lockdown, rainbows quickly became a symbol of solidarity in support of frontline workers and those feeling isolated indoors. Created by a group of young artists under 12, in collaboration with Uncommon Goods, this cute market tote brings quarantine window art to life while raising money to support COVID-19 relief. 

From April through July, Uncommon Goods generated more than $22,000 for NYC Health + Hospitals through sales of the tote. All sale proceeds now benefit Americares' COVID-19 response efforts in the U.S. 

Price: $25

CharityBands bracelet holiday gift
Image credit: MantraBand

CharityBands bracelet 

Created by MantraBand, a line of minimal bracelets imprinted with inspirational phrases, the CharityBands collection supports nonprofits that create a positive impact on women's and children's issues. Choose from organizations including Alex's Lemonade Stand, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Alzheimer's Association and more for a gift that represents your loved one's values. Five dollars from every gift purchase benefits the chosen charity. 

Price: Starting at $25

sari wrapped bread basket holiday gift
Image credit: Heifer International 

Sari-wrapped bread basket

Did a loved one or two become obsessed with baking bread during quarantine? Dress up their masterful creations with this festive bread basket wrapped with silk sari scraps. Through Heifer International, each gift purchase helps Nepali women artisans earn money to rebuild after destruction caused by the 2015 earthquake.

Price: $35

fair trade holiday gift
Image credit: Global Goods Partners

Teak serving board and bowl

Global Goods Partners works directly with women-led, community-based organizations to bring artisanal goods to market. This piece combines woodwork from Artesanos de San Pedro in Guatemala with a handmade ceramic serving bowl from Dishes & Deco in Tunisia, both of which are women-led artisan cooperatives that pay workers a living wage. 

Price: $54

REI outdoor blanket holiday gift
Image credit: REI

Cozy outdoor blanket

Made using Bluesign-approved materials, which conserve resources and protect the health of workers and the environment, this outdoor blanket from REI Co-Op is the perfect gift for the nature-lover on your list. With one water-resistant side and one cozy fleece side, it's perfect for picnics in the park, days at the beach or cuddles by the campfire. 

Price $50

candle holiday gift
Image credit: Juniper Ridge

Christmas fir candle

With a blend of essential oils made from sustainably harvested plants, this cozy soy and coconut wax candle gives off a scent reminiscent of a Pacific Northwest forest. Along with sourcing sustainable ingredients, Oakland-based Juniper Ridge donates 10 percent of its annual profits to conservation organizations through the Wilderness Defense Program. 2020 recipients include the California Wilderness Coalition, the Oregon Natural Desert Association and Washington Wild

Price: $35

sloth baby blanket holiday gift
Image credit: WWF

Plush sloth baby blanket

For the little ones and new parents on your list, this adorable baby blanket from the World Wildlife Fund is just the ticket. The sweet sloth plush toy folds out into a blanket, making it perfect for nap time and play time — and all gift sale proceeds benefit the WWF's global conservation work. 

Price: $55

Tory Burch Foundation seed box
Image credit: Tory Burch

Tory Burch Foundation seed box

Fashion label Tory Burch curates this limited-edition gift box of goodies every holiday season with proceeds benefiting the company's foundation, which works to empower women as entrepreneurs. This year's box includes a Tory Burch scarf, a small-batch soy candle, imported Vietnamese coffee and more — all from small businesses headed by women. 

Price: $98

gardening heirloom seeds holiday gift
Image credit: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Heirloom seed collection

Heirloom seeds bring less common flavors to home gardens while helping to preserve biodiversity. From cool-season greens and gourmet lettuces to exotic tomatoes, these custom seed packs from Terroir Seeds are sure to please any gardener on your list. 

Price: Starting at $13

Greyston Bakery brownies
Image credit: Greyston Bakery

Greyston Bakery brownie boxes 

As the supplier for Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavors like Half Baked, the folks at Greyston know brownies. The social enterprise also pioneered open hiring back in 1987. Having built its team without interviews, job applications or background checks, Greyston is now primarily staffed by people with criminal justice histories, as well as those experiencing homelessness, substance abuse issues or who, for whatever reason, have trouble finding steady work.

From classics like brownies and blondies to creative flavors like snickerdoodle and cinnamon roll, these socially conscious treats are sure to please any sweet tooth on your list. (And yes, they have vegan options!) 

Price: Starting at $25

Homeboy Industries baked goods
Image credit: Homeboy Industries 

Homeboy Industries gift packages

If food is your go-to gift, consider swapping out your standbys for these gift packages with a side of social consciousness. Operating under the motto "jobs not jails," Homeboy Industries offers employment, education, and other services to former gang members after they are released from prison. Having served well over 100,000 people in its home city of Los Angeles since 1986, it now powers the Global Homeboy Network of more than 400 organizations committed to giving formerly incarcerated people a second chance.  

Homeboy's selection of gift packages include coffee, snacks, preserves and baked goods, and all proceeds support its re-entry programs. 

Price: Starting at $35

GoSun reusable flatware holiday gift
Image credit: GoSun

GoSun Flatware 

GoSun, the maker of portable solar devices including the Chill solar-powered cooler, is taking on plastic waste. This clever set of collapsible cutlery sits in a travel case the size of a credit card and can easily replace single-use alternatives while on the go. The concept proved so popular that it blew past its Kickstarter goal in a single day, and it's bound to be a hot stocking stuffer for greenies this year.  

Price: Starting at $15 

Patagonia buy used button on website
Image credit: Patagonia

Buy used from your favorite brands 

Despite their sustainable specs, few new gifts will have less impact on people and the planet than a usable item that already exists and might otherwise go to waste. Fortunately, the re-commerce segment is booming, and major brands are getting into the trend in a big way — making it easy to source a gently-used gift for everyone on your list. 

Just before Black Friday, Patagonia added an option to buy used through its used clothing and gear program, Worn Wear, next to every new product listed online (pictured above). The outdoor gear giant is the first company to give customers an easy way to purchase a used alternative when shopping for new products. Other popular brands with re-commerce stores include REI, The North Face, Eileen Fisher and Taylor Stitch. Check out our 2019 list here

support small businesses during COVID-19
Image credit: Tim Mossholder/Unsplash

Shop online with local small businesses

The coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns have decimated small businesses across the U.S. and around the world. As of this fall, nearly 100,000 U.S.-based small businesses had shuttered permanently. 

Even if you're avoiding non-essential, in-person shopping due to the pandemic, you can still support small businesses in your area. Use sources like Google Maps and Yelp to pull up mom-and-pops near you, and browse their websites for online shopping options. To support Black-owned businesses, which have been particularly hard hit, directories like We Buy Black, Official Black Wall Street and EatOkra can help guide your way.

And don't forget restaurants! Purchasing gift certificates for your loved ones to use once it's safe to dine out again can help your favorite eateries and bars weather the storm and remain part of your community. 

donate to COVID-19 relief holiday gift
Image credit: Stephanie Martin/Unsplash

Donate to support COVID-19 relief

Even if you can't be together this holiday season, you can still show loved ones you care by donating to COVID-19 relief efforts in their names. Support the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, or use a rating database like Charity Navigator to choose a nonprofit working on direct COVID-19 relief or providing food, shelter and other necessities in your community. 

Image credit: Any Lane/Pexels

Mary Mazzoni headshot

Mary has reported on sustainability and social impact for over a decade and now serves as executive editor of TriplePundit. She is also the general manager of TriplePundit's Brand Studio, which has worked with dozens of organizations on sustainability storytelling, and VP of content for TriplePundit's parent company 3BL. 

Read more stories by Mary Mazzoni