11 Eco-Friendly Gifts You’ll Be Tempted to Keep

We found the most stylish, sustainable water pitcher, the coziest wool socks, and much more.

November 25, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.

We’ve partnered with Lifestraw to share eco-friendly gift ideas—from the Lifestraw Home water filter pitcher to reusable food wrap, aka your leftovers’ new best friend—for everyone on your list this holiday season.

As a self-proclaimed tree hugger, the holiday season has sometimes presented a challenge. It’s a time that can be heavy on consumption and waste (not to mention, the usual air travel to visit my far-flung relatives).

Over the years, I’ve tweaked my holiday habits to find new ways to celebrate that are more sustainable. For instance, my family stopped buying cut trees in favor of a potted living tree, and I now wrap my gifts in up-cycled paper and ribbons that I save every season.

I’ve also been delighted to discover that gift-giving itself doesn’t have to be a compromise on your principles. I’ve exchanged handmade items, special experiences, secondhand books—and one year my family went without presents at all. Sometimes, however, it feels good to buy something new for those you care about. Luckily, there are many earth-friendly gifts that are useful, delightful, and help loved ones keep up with their own goals to create less waste.

Here are 11 green goodies that I’ve got my eye on (both for myself and for my friends and family). I’ve skipped the reusable coffee mugs and tote bags for a few less-expected items—I hope you’ll find something for those on your list, too.

1. Bee's Wrap Reusable Food Wraps, $18 to $46

These handy beeswax wraps are a fun and sustainable alternative to single-use plastic wrap and baggies, and will last your loved one years.

2. Lifestraw Home Water Filter Pitcher, $54.95

Surprise them with a major upgrade from the clunky plastic pitcher they’ve had since college. The Lifestraw Home is stylish (minimalist and glass) and effective (it gets the nasties, including microplastics and lead). In fact, the company is best known for their survival straws that are so effective you can use them to sip from a muddy puddle. And there's also a give-back component to make you feel good about gifting: For every product purchased, a child in need receives safe water for a year.


3. Typhoon Homewares Bread Storage Bin, $40

Don’t let all that homemade sourdough go to waste (or get wrapped up in wasteful single-use plastic). An old-school bread box keeps loaves fresh, while the top doubles as a handy cutting board.

4. Hiker Boot Sock Full Cushion, $26

These are not just any socks. Darn Tough Socks come with a lifetime guarantee—meaning these babies are never gonna be landfill-bound. Plus, they’re made from cozy and sustainable wool that make your feet feel like they’re enveloped in a warm, soft hug.

Photo by Darn Tough

5. Handwoven Cotton Check Stripe Napkins, $45 for four

A set of pretty cloth napkins is always a great green gift—these hand-woven ones are even more so, since they’re made with fair-trade manufacturing and low-impact dyes.

6. Le Labo Rose Signature Detergent, $45

Detergent may seem like an unlikely gift, but this collab between The Laundress and famed perfumier Le Labo is pure luxury—we promise. Your loved one will feel pampered when their clothes smell like roses. Plus, you can feel good knowing it’s a plant-derived, biodegradable formula.

Photo by The Laundress

7. Signed Copy: Food52 Vegan Cookbook, $42

This cookbook is the perfect intro to plant-based eating: Vegan food blogger and Food52 regular Gena Hamshaw’s recipes are easy to make and rely on whole-food ingredients—not faux meats and other processed fare. (If you’re feeling generous, spring for the two-book set that includes [Mighty Salads] (TK TK) too!)

8. Pure-Castile Bar Soap, $4.79 each

Convince a body wash-loving relative to make the switch to earth-friendlier bar soap with a full rainbow of Dr. Bronner’s castile bars. With a variety of scents, your recipient is sure to find one they love—but they'll likely love 'em all.

Photo by Dr. Bronner's

9. Remarkable Gold Iron-On Patches, $18.49

It’s hard not to love this playful, utilitarian stocking stuffer. Remarkable Patches cover up permanent stains with an iron-on splash of gold, turning the flaw into a highlight—and giving a garment a second life.

Photo by Sugru

10. Scout Sustainably Harvested Canned Seafood Trio, $26

Introduce a friend to the wonders of gourmet tinned fish, in particular, wild-caught mussels and lobster from Prince Edward Island. (Don’t worry, the trout is responsibly farm-raised, too.)

11. Tjugo Battery Charger with Storage, $17.99

Leave it to our old friend IKEA to create an affordable set of reusable batteries with its own Scandi-chic charging case. Whomever you give it to will appreciate a practical present that'll keep gadgets powered for years to come.

Photo by IKEA

What eco-friendly gifts do you have your eye on this holiday season? Tell us in the comments!

This post contains products selected by the Editors, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases.

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Laura Fenton is the No Space Too Small columnist at Food52. The author of The Little Book of Living Small, she covers home, design, and sustainability. Laura lives in Jackson Heights, Queens in a 690-square foot apartment with her husband and son. You can follow her on Instagram @laura.alice.fenton or subscribe to her newsletter Living Small.