Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for 2019
It’s that glorious time of year again, wanderlusters! You know the one. The one where the minimalist and tree hugger in me starts screaming at the amount of stuff that’s about to enter my household via well-intentioned loved ones. THE HOLIDAYS.
When our daughter was born, we decided to be as minimalist as possible with her. Experiences, traveling, and quality family time are far more valued than toys in our household. That did not, however, stop people from saying, “There has to be something to UNWRAP!” Thus began our never-ending quest for products we could feel good about.
We’ve assembled a collection of ethical gifts and companies doing good around the world for all of your wish lists this holiday season. All of us at Bébé Voyage hope you enjoy and have a fantastic holiday season full of experiences and (of course) happy travels!
Clothing and Wearables
Whether you are planning a trip that requires specific clothes or just need some wardrobe refreshing, things to wear are always on the list. Sustainable and charitable, these brands put smiles on a whole lot of faces with each purchase!
- Little Emperor Clothing: beautiful pieces for toddlers to pre-tweens. Their website outlines their commitment to the environment with their manufacturing and 1% of their sales goes toward saving our planet.
- Oobi:. dresses in dreamy prints and ruffles. Aside from their ethical production and minimal waste practices, Oobi gives a product to a child in need for every garment purchased.
- Love Your Melon: hats and other warm items. All of their goods are made in the USA and Canada, and 50% of their net profits go toward cancer research. Plus they donate hats to cancer patients with each purchase!
- Toms: shoes we all know and love, but have you checked out their style lineup lately? Be still my heart! The OG “Buy One, Give One” company continues their reign of glory.
- Twice as Warm: USA based clothing company giving new clothes to a person in need for each item purchased. And who doesn’t want a cute winter hat that says “Spread Warmth”?
- Fazl: mittens and socks hand made in the Himalayas. 50% of their profit goes to Indian children in need and the women who create these beautiful pieces are all paid fair living wages.
- One Happy Leaf: jewelry, cufflinks, coasters, or any number of adorable unique items. Every sale plants a tree to help our planet thrive and you can have Kookaburra earrings!
Packing and Carrying
We are travelers so this category is kind of a big deal. It seems like there is a ‘miracle’ product each year designed with us in mind (I see you, packing cubes in 2019) so looking for an ethical company to support our constant need for luggage is a win-win.
- Patagonia: with their Black Hole line, Patagonia has taken the recycled material game to a new level. Beautiful, functional, and backed by a 100% guarantee, you can’t go wrong!
- United By Blue: Made from recycled materials and with lovely prints, their folding tote bags are a great option to keep plastic out of landfills
- Samsonite: A staple in travel name brands, Samsonite released its Eco-Nu line is completely made from recycled bottles and you can have teal luggage!
- EcoGear: their 28in Wheeled Duffel with Garment Rack is a game changer and their products are made from a fiber created from used plastic.
- Cotopaxi: straight from the Philippines, the incredible Del Dia line is made 100% from remnants headed to a landfill. No two pieces are the same, but they are all stellar!
- Florius: gorgeous packing cubes made from recycled materials
- Scrubba: Check out this awesome clothes washing bag. Don’t stink, people. Wash your socks!
Health and Personal Care
Arguably the biggest category of wasteful plastic and landfill refuse is the packaging for our body products. Companies have been tackling this and creating truly amazing products in the last few years, while also addressing the ingredients found within that harm our environment.
- Blue Lizard eco-safe sunscreen: Both an amazing product for our kids (and selves) AND safe for the oceans of the world, this is likely my favorite and most utilized product on the list.
- Ethique: package-free, effective solutions for face, hair, and body. Plus, adorable storage containers, products for babies and pets, AND 20% of profit going to wildlife saving charities!
- Hand in Hand Soap: another incredible suds company, each purchase donates soap and clean water in Haiti. If you’ve never used a sea salt product on your face before, try it!
- Coconut Matter: natural and effective deodorants made from coconut oil and ethically sourced from the Solomon Islands.
- Murphy’s natural mosquito repellent: made from essential oils and highly effective to keep the bugs away, this is an incredible alternative to DEET. It is potent so spray on outside!
- Mable and WooBamboo: bamboo toothbrushes to get you fresh like a peppermint leaf and keep plastic out of landfills.
And JUST in case you need some new travel toiletry items, Matador has you covered with their nifty FlatPak line!
Toys and Snacks
We’ve written many times before about the necessity of toys and snacks while traveling and it seems to be a revolving door of great products. Though these grab and go items are brilliant, many of them are packaged in a way that leaves far more refuse than necessary. Snatch up these brands to eat well and reduce landfill waste!
- Quinn Snacks: popcorn and pretzels with 100% transparency. You can see who their growers are on their site and peruse their amazing flavor lineups as well!
- This Saves Lives Bars: who denies a product Frozen’s very own Anna backs?! Buy a bar, give sustenance to another. Yum!
- Barnana: banana chips plus over 350 indigenous families in the Amazon becoming certified organic growers? I’m here for it.
- Alter Eco: TRUFFLES! Chocolate fanatics like me can rejoice in this brand, while feeling doubly good about the 100% compostable packaging.
- Nature’s Path: a fairly common grocery store staple at this point, the company’s goal is for all packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.
- One Degree Organics: bread and grains sourced from local farmers, the goal here is to be one degree away from where your food came from. And the cacao nibs are delicious!
- Back to Nature: Another brand you’ve probably seen a lot of in groceries, you can grab everything from juice boxes to cookies and feel good about your travel snack picks.
More products that solve our needs while reducing landfill waste are coming out every day, from reusable snack bags and water bottles, to BPA free silicone travel straws and gorgeous bamboo coffee mugs.
Children’s art supplies are also getting on board. We traveling parents love the Crayola Color Wonder line for mess free travel creations. Did you know Crayola now offers a responsible recycling program for getting rid of those dried up markers and supplies? My local library has a drop box and a quick search will probably find you a close-by option too! Yoobi is becoming the Toms of art supplies, giving back with each purchase, and they have a killer set of stackable markers for traveling!
If you really want to take a minimalist approach to gifting, opt for quality time and experiences instead. Here are a few ideas for meaningful, environmentally friendly ways to share the love and make memories.
Splurge on an awesome, eco-friendly family adventure. The UN recently designated Costa Rica a 2019 Champion of the Earth. It offers an amazing range of biodiversity, beautiful scenery, and a relaxed, child-friendly culture. Our Whole Village has designed a family vacation that shows off the best of the country and lets kids see conservation in action: hiking in a national park, ziplining through lush rainforest, and taking a homestay with a local family. As a Bébé Voyage partner, Our Whole Village offers $100 off bookings, per traveler, with the promotional code BEBEVOYAGE.
Help your child develop an appreciation for nature and learn about the world with a pass or yearly membership to a state park, nature center, or botanical garden.
- The ASTC Travel Passport Program offers free general admission to nature and science centers across the United States when you belong to one of its participating organizations.
- For only $80, an annual U.S. National Park Pass provides a family admission to more than 2,000 parks across the country.
- A Family Membership to the National Trust provides free access to over 500 special places across the UK, such as parklands, nature reserves, and historic gardens.
- The Discovery Pass offers admission to over 80 Canadian National Parks.
Choose your own train adventure and embrace a mode of slow travel that’s also kinder to the planet. Find affordable tickets to cities across Europe on Trainline, or book rail passes with Amtrak to over 500 destinations in the U.S.
Book a farm stay. Also called an “agritourismo” in Europe, a vacation on an authentic farm lets families experience rural life while learning about where their food actually comes from. Lodging ranges from luxe to rustic depending on the location. Down-to-earth activities for kids might include harvesting eggs or learning to make dinner from ingredients on-site.
Stocking Stuffers and Splurges
I’ll be honest, this category is just my “I really want this but don’t know where it fits in the article” category. It’s just great stuff! So without further ado, please enjoy!
- Campers and outdoors-families can snag this gorgeous and ethical Yukon outfitters somnismart hammock made from recycled materials (9 water bottles in each hammock!) and complete with its own suspension system.
- Everyone with a phone can likely utilize this cool solar phone charger to power up on the go. Once charged, feel free to call everyone you know to tell them how you’ve contributed to the use of clean energy to power your world!
- If you really want to boast, grab a pack of these USB batteries as well!
As we move toward a more sustainable world to leave our children, all of us here at BéBé Voyage thank you for considering a purchase from one of these eco-friendly brands. We also thank you for supporting us as you shop, as each click provides a small portion back to our ongoing mission at no additional cost to you! We wish you the happiest of holidays from all over the world and hope you find amazing travels in the year ahead!