Gifts that do Good: Your 2022 Socially Conscious Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays aren’t about shopping, but that sure does play a part. Knowing it’s hard to prioritize shopping for socially responsible brands, especially during the holidays, we’re releasing our second annual Socially Conscious Holiday Gift Guide of ethical brands and sustainable gift ideas that you can feel good about purchasing. For more ideas, check out our first gift guide here.

1. Bambu

The eco-friendly, organic, non-toxic, and affordable products from Bambu check off all our boxes. That’s why they’re in our Socially Conscious Holiday Gift Guide. Driven by the desire to reduce plastic, Bambu uses natural materials to create quality utensils and cookware that are stylish and functional. Socially responsible shoppers can take their pick from Bambu’s catalog of cooking utensils, cutting boards, serving trays, cutlery, and cleaning supplies and feel good knowing all of this sustainable brand’s products are biodegradable or compostable.

We recommend perusing Bambu’s collection of cooking and kitchen prep utensils. With the option to mix and match, you’re bound to find the right gift option.

Spatulas from Bambu’s collection. Photo credit: IG: @bambuliving

2. Urban Leaf

There’s something satisfying about tending to a plant and watching it grow from a sprout to giant leafy greens. Nate Littlewood and Rob Elliott, co-founders of the sustainable gardening company Urban Leaf, want to make gardening accessible to homeowners with big backyards and city-dwellers in small spaces. Their eco-friendly brand’s indoor edible gardening kits come with the necessary supplies to start a sustainable garden of herbs, vegetables, and microgreens right in your kitchen.

Beyond selling seeds and soil, this socially responsible brand offers a how-to guide to growing edible plants indoors, free gardening resources, and healthy recipes. If you’re curious about which type of gardening set-up is best for someone on your holiday shopping list, take Urban Leaf’s helpful quiz to get matched with the perfect products.

A Packed With Purpose gift box. Photo credit: IG: @packedwpurpose

3. Packed With Purpose

If you have employees, co-workers, or clients on your holiday shopping list, consider a unique gift box from the woman-owned brand Packed with Purpose. Their thoughtfully curated gift boxes are filled with all kinds of high-quality, delicious goodies from certified B Corporations and diverse-owned businesses.

Customers can either purchase pre-made gift boxes or customize their own Packed with Purpose box, with the ability to add personalized messages, specific items, and branding. Plus, consumers can feel good knowing that Packed with Purpose partners with various socially conscious brands to offer employment opportunities and safe housing to under-resourced women worldwide.

4. First Book Marketplace

If you’re shopping for socially responsible gift ideas for the children in your life, look no further than First Book Marketplace. First Book Marketplace is a non-profit that supports more than 500,000 educators who choose to serve disadvantaged and low-income communities. As a social enterprise, they sell books, arts and crafts products, and learning-oriented toys and activity sets for children of all ages (yes, even teens). Purchases support the non-profit’s network of educators with needed resources and supplies so that poverty isn’t a barrier to quality education. 

But don’t worry, even though these are socially responsible gifts, they won’t feel that way. We’re talking about fun gifts, books, and toys that teach without…well, teaching.

5. West Paw

We wouldn’t forget sustainable gift ideas for pet parents! 

If you’re a dog owner, you’ll love the socially responsible products created by the team at West Paw. From humanely raised nutritious treats to durable, non-toxic toys, this certified B Corporation’s unique goods are created with the health and safety of your dog in mind. We’re especially impressed by their selection of eco-friendly Zogoflex toys, which are both durable and recyclable. Well-loved Zogoflex toys can be mailed to West Paw, where they will be ground up and transformed into brand-new toys for other pups to play with.

Even better, West Paw’s love for our pets and the planet goes beyond making socially responsible products. They also give back with charitable donations to animal welfare nonprofits and have funded projects to improve public dog parks in Montana.

A pup enjoying her West Paw toys. Photo credit: IG: @westpawus

6. Matr Boomie

A fair trade collection inspired by Indian artforms and Indian women, Matr Boomie made our Socially Conscious Holiday Gift Guide because they offer an array of sustainable gifts perfect for the holidays. Quality pieces of handcrafted jewelry, frames, home décor, and accessories make unique gift ideas. The ethical brand’s products are made of natural and upcycled materials by artisans across India with the purpose of creating sustainable, dignified living opportunities for marginalized women living in some of the country’s most impoverished areas. 

Every year we fall in love with something in their catalog of ethical products and unique gifts. This holiday season, we want to point your attention to their handcrafted jewelry boxes and upcycled tote bags.

A gift set from Thistle Farms. Photo credit: IG: @thistlefarms

7. Thistle Farms

We included Thistle Farms in our 2022 Socially Conscious Holiday Gift Guide because it’s more than an ethical company with a give-back program. Thistle Farms is a legitimate full-fledged social enterprise. Founded more than two decades ago as a sanctuary for survivors of abuse, addiction, and sex trafficking, today, Thistle Farms houses women survivors while helping them transition to independence.

The nonprofit makes ethically sourced candles, homemade soaps and essential body care, handcrafted jewelry and textiles, and home décor, offering socially conscious holiday shoppers many options for gifts that give back.

8. Redwood Empire Whiskey

Socially conscious holiday shoppers can drink and feel extra merry with Redwood Empire Whiskey. Inspired by California’s redwood forest ecosystem, this eco-friendly whiskey brand aspires to achieve the same sense of harmony and grandeur in each bottle, incorporating a complex blend of 60% rye and 40% bourbon, matured in casks of port and California wines. We also love the fact that, in partnership with conservation NGO Trees for the Future, each bottle of Redwood Empire Whiskey sold means one tree gets planted. Talk about drinking responsibly.

9. Give a Damn Goods

If you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for and are an “I’ll know it when I see it” holiday shopper, check out Give a Damn Goods, an online marketplace that connects shoppers with unique brands and gifts that align with their values. The ethical online boutique partners with many socially conscious brands, including BIPOC-owned businesses, makers with fair trade practices, and companies that offer give-back programs.

If you do decide to browse Give a Damn Goods’ selection of socially responsible gifts, we’d like to point you to their section of affordable, ethical goods under $30. We suspect you and your friends will love the BIPOC-created Actually Curious card game that uses meaningful questions to spark conversations. Or, if you’re looking to keep it simple, you can get a few of their adorable and recycled-paper holiday cards featuring designs from artist Amy Zhang.

The Actually Curious card game. Photo credit: IG: @giveadamngoods

We Appreciate Your Commitment to Socially Conscious Holiday Shopping!

We hope our Socially Responsible Holiday Gift Guide has helped you find unique gift ideas for your friends and family and even introduced you to a few new ethical brands. Remember, whether you just started holiday shopping or have only a few names left to cross off your list, the fact that you’re putting this much thought into your gift-giving puts you way ahead.

This article was written by Neda Azarfar and Gina Graves.

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