Creative Sustainable Gifts Ideas for 2020

Collage of nine sustainable gift ideas. A text overlay reads, "Creative Sustainable Gift Ideas."

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Give your loved ones the gift of a healthier life and happier planet with our list of personally-tested sustainable gifts. We have a gift idea for everyone!

When it comes to saving our planet, every little decision we make in a day can add up to make a big impact—and that includes our gift giving. But going green doesn’t mean you have to abandon all your traditions. We can choose sustainable gifts that are thoughtful, beautiful, and keep our planet in mind.

Our list of dozens of sustainable gifts will help make your Christmas and holiday shopping easy this season. Let’s start shopping!

What is a sustainable gift?

There are two ways to think of a gift as being sustainable:

  • A gift that helps someone go greener. Think: reusable grocery bags, a pretty water bottle, stainless steel straws.
  • A gift that is produced sustainably. Items that are from companies who pride themselves on planet stewardship, or, even better, items that you create yourself!

Our list focuses mostly on the first type of sustainable gift, but you’ll find some options for both below!

Various style of reusable tote bags hanging on wooden pegs by the door.

But wait, isn’t buying people more stuff anti-sustainability?

Over consumption is a major contributing factor to our overwhelmed planet—and giving folks tchotchkes they’ll never use for a Christmas gift is the antithesis of sustainability. Let’s not do that, k?

But we don’t think just because you are aware of your consumption that you need to give up giving holiday gifts to your loved ones. Instead, we recommend choosing thoughtful gifts (like the ones listed here) that will be used, loved, and cherished.

Other great options include gifting food gifts that create low to zero waste once they are enjoyed, giving handmade gifts that are made with love, gifting experiences (like a membership to the botanical gardens), gifting items from small, local artisans, gifting vintage or secondhand treasures (previously-loved books are always a win under the Christmas tree), or giving a donation in someone’s name to a charity they care about. Or you can do a combination of some or all of the above! Living a sustainable life doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

A man standing in profile with a Save the Earth tote over his shoulder.

What makes our 2020 list of sustainable gifts the best ever?

We have personally tried the items in this gift guide! We here at Wholefully bought these items, tried them in our own homes, and are pumped to recommend them. We don’t accept freebies for our gift guides, either, so you better believe that we really do love everything on this list!

In our gift guide, you’ll find items from both big box stores and small businesses. We also included many options from diverse companies, including LGBTQ+-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses, and BIPOC-owned businesses. Happy shopping!

Note: Many of the links in this list are affiliate links. If you purchase through our link, we get a small kickback for referring you—at no cost to you.

Sustainable Kitchen Gifts

Collage of four sustainable kitchen gift ideas including cloth bowl covers, silicone bags, and beeswax wraps.

  1. Tunisian Spoon Rest—These beautiful hand-painted spoon rests come from a studio that prioritizes the wellbeing of their employees
  2. Bee’s Wrap—Reusable sheets of beeswax-coated cotton make a great sustainable alternative to plastic wrap. They seal nicely to themselves, making them great for wrapping up lunches and leftovers.
  3. Cloth Bowl Covers—Fabric bowl covers are another easy substitute for plastic wrap, and fit most mixing and serving bowls. Use them to cover leftovers, batters, and salads in the fridge.
  4. Stasher Bags—A small but impactful change someone can make when going green is to swap out single-use plastic food storage bags for reusable ones, like these Stasher Bags. These make great stocking stuffer, especially when they are packed full of some of our holiday cookies.

Collage of four sustainable kitchen gifts including glass storage containers and reusable silicone straws.

  1. Glass Containers—Glass food storage containers last longer, are more durable, and never stain. Unfortunately, they can be pretty pricey if you are trying to replace an entire set of plastic containers. That makes them a great gift idea for someone who wants to take the leap into glass!
  2. Stainless Steel Straws—Estimates say there are at least 8 billion (with a B!) plastic straws polluting the world’s beaches and oceans. Keep a pack of these straws with you at all times and never consume a plastic straw again.
  3. Hydroflask Pint—Keep your drink colder for longer with an insulated cup from Hydroflask. These stainless steel cups are great for taking outside.
  4. Water Bottles—A key component of a sustainable lifestyle is a high-quality water bottle so you never need to grab a plastic bottle of water again. These bottles are insulated and come in a ton of beautiful colors.

Collage of four green kitchen gift ideas including cloth napkins and stainless steel countertop compost bin.

  1. Countertop Compost Bin—Starting to compost is a great way to give back to our planet, and this countertop bin is the sleekest way to collect scraps without the stink.
  2. Reusable Napkins—Ditch the paper and instead fill a basket in the kitchen with this big set of reusable cotton napkins.
  3. Crow Canyon Home Enamelware—Skip the paper or foam plates and serve all of your outdoor meals on these beautiful enamelware metal dishes. They’ll last a lifetime if taken care of!
  4. Lunch Utensil Set—We are big fans of zero-waste lunches here at Wholefully, and we have been using these utensil sets for kids and grownups alike for years. They make a great stocking stuffer!

Sustainable Reading

Collage of four books for sustainable living including Attainable Sustainable and Simply Living Well.

  1. Cool Beans—If you’ve ever been stuck on repeat on Meatless Mondays and need to try something new, get yourself a copy of Cool Beans. With 125 recipes like Lentil Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, Puffy Pinto Bean Tacos, and Black Bean Chilaquiles, you’ll never lack for inspiration again. Gift this to the friend who is trying to work more plant-based meals into their diet.
  2. Attainable Sustainable— This National Geographic book gives you a little taste of sustainable living in all arenas of your life—cooking, crafting, gardening, DIY. While it doesn’t deep-dive into any particular topic, this book is a great place to start for anyone who is new to sustainability (and maybe a little overwhelmed).
  3. Ruffage—This cookbook has quickly taken a top spot on our shelves, thanks to its creative yet approachable take on vegetable preparation. For each vegetable, there are 2-3 main methods for preparing the produce, plus multiple variations per method. Gift this one to the sibling who got overwhelmed with their CSA or garden harvest this summer and needed some new ideas, or the friend who is trying to eat more veggies.
  4. Simply Living Well—This book focuses on low-waste living, and it is packed full of beautiful inspiration for someone who is interested in stripping away the unnecessary from their lives.

Collage of four books for sustainable living including Clean Mama's Guide to a Healthy Home and 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste.

  1. Mostly Plants—Eating fewer animal products can be beneficial to the health of our planet, but for a lot of folks, going completely plant-based isn’t realistic. This book is a great way to eat more plant-centric meals without the black and white rules that many sources promote. And the recipes are delicious!
  2. Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home—Learning how to keep a home using organic and natural methods can feel as intimidating as learning a new language! This book gives practical advice on how to take care of a home in a way that is good for your family and the planet.
  3. Big Book of Homemade Products—Anyone who lives an eco-lifestyle eventually gets to the point where they want to start experimenting with DIYing their own beauty and home products. This book is an amazing resource to make that happen!
  4. 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste—Sometimes it can feel super overwhelming to have to overhaul our entire lives to be better stewards of the planet. This book makes it easy to pick just a handful of actions at a time to make a difference. The digestible chunks make going green feel attainable.

Sustainable Beauty Gifts

Collage of four green beauty products including homemade moisturizer and shave lotion.

  1. DIY Honey Lavender Moisturizing Shave Lotion—Everyone could use a little extra self care around the holidays! This all-natural moisturizing shave lotion leaves skin silky and smooth.
  2. Almond Coffee Sugar Scrub—Want to smell delicious and have super smooth skin? Try this sugar scrub—it gets an A+ in our books! The ingredients in everything from this Black woman-owned company are all-natural.
  3. Tangerine Eucalyptus Salt Soap Bar—Bring the spa home with the unique salt soap from Naked Bar Soap Company. The bars are exfoliating and packed with skin-nourishing minerals, and they smell fabulous. Truly, everything from this company that we’ve tried has been a winner!
  4. Healing Calendula DIY Lotion—Cold, dry air plus extra hand washing during cold and flu season can leave hands feeling cracked and dry. This soothing, non-greasy calendula lotion is here to help!

Sustainable Apparel

Collage of four sustainable clothing gift ideas.

  1. Wool& Rowena Long Dress—We are HUGE fans of all things Wool& here at Wholefully. All Wool& products are sustainably produced, packaged, and shipped. The clothing is also designed to be worn more often between washings (reducing the garment’s carbon footprint), and the company as a whole is dedicated to reducing our apparel waste. This Rowena Dress is a classic dress that has a loyal following! It goes up to a roomy size 2X, and would make a thoughtful gift for the dress-loving person in your life.
  2. Wool& Leggings—Wool leggings? Yes, please! These Merino Wool leggings are breathable and warm. They are designed to be worn multiple times between washes, which helps reduce the carbon footprint of the their care cycle.
  3. Wool& Tunic—This simple belted shirt is a beautiful garment that is incredibly versatile—meaning you need fewer items in your closet. Buying fewer, higher quality clothes is one of the most impactful changes you can make for a sustainable closet.
  4. Wool& Fiona Dress—This is the exact Wool& Dress that Wholefully’s CEO Cassie has been wearing for 100 straight days! It’s a beautiful dress that can be styled casually or dressed up for the office. And, of course, it has pockets!

Sustainable Home Gifts

Collage of four home and garden gifts including Molly's Suds Wool Dryer Balls and braided plant hangers.

  1. Color Block Plant Hanger— These braided hangers have beautiful color block details and are made with 100% recycled cotton cord. Gift them with or without a potted plant!
  2. Honeycomb Mason Bee House—Encourage pollinators to visit your garden with this bee house.
  3. Rosmarino Candles—We are huge fans of this one-woman indie candle company whose whole business model is focused on sustainability. Every scent we’ve tried has been fabulous—try the Fancy Shampoo, Sexy Time, or Mulled Wine!
  4. Wool Dryer Balls—Never need to buy (and throw away) a box of dryer sheets again! These wool balls remove lint and static and are reusable for load after load.

Collage of four sustainable home gifts including cloth produce bags and reusable cleaning wipes.

  1. Produce Bags—Give your loved one the gift of removing those annoying, flimsy produce bags from their lives with fabric reusable produce bags (you can also make your own!). These also make wonderful reusable gift wrapping for other gifts you may want to give!
  2. Waxed Canvas Shopping Bags—We’ve tried a lot of reusable shopping bags in our day, and these are our favorites! They are sturdy, they fold well, and we love how cute the paper bag look is.
  3. UnPaper Towels—Swapping out paper towels for fabric UnPaper towels is an easy change, but makes such a huge difference. Plus, these bad boys come in hundreds of prints that are adorable as can be!
  4. Cleaning Wipes—Not everyone on your list will appreciate a homemade wipes set, but some will! We love the idea of pairing this gift with the Clean Mama’s Guide to Healthy Home book for a wonderful eco-cleaning set!

We hope you’ve found just the right sustainable gifts for everyone on your list! Happy shopping!

Looking for more creative gift ideas?

  • 45+ Easy DIY Food Gifts. Don’t want to give people more “stuff?” These edible gifts are a great solution that everyone can enjoy!
  • 37 Creative Gifts for Coffee Lovers. Our list of creative coffee gifts will make the holidays jolly for all the java fans on your list.
  • 29+ Gifts for Plant Lovers. Know someone whose home is filled with thriving green plants? Our list of creative gifts for plant lovers will make shopping for their gifts easy.
  • 38+ Creative Gifts for Bakers. Gift the bakers in your life some goodies from this amazing guide. We have ideas for every budget!
  • 30+ Creative Gifts for Gardeners. Our unique gifts for gardeners are sure to make the green thumb-havers in your life smile.
  • 65+ Fun Gifts for Foodies. We know what all the foodies on your Christmas list want!
  • 40+ Gifts for Beer Lovers. Pour yourself a pint and get to shopping for your favorite beer fans!

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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