‘Tis the season of giving, both to our loved ones and back to our communities. They say “it’s the thought that counts” when gifting, but for purpose-driven folks, seeing the 545,000 tonnes of annual waste generated in Canada during the holidays makes it hard to not feel like the Grinch.
Whether you’re looking for a zero-waste Secret Santa present or sustainable gifts for your family, we’ve researched a wide range of mostly Canadian eco-friendly products and other green gift ideas that will tie a ribbon on a year of circular efforts. Together, let’s go walking in a sustainable wonderland!
Help make even the darkest evenings bright for your loved ones with these eco-friendly candles.
EastVan Bees-Beeswax Candles: Crafted in Vancouver, these 100% beeswax candles are non-toxic and biodegradable.
Mala the Brand Candles: Made of custom-blended coconut-soy wax, these paraben-free candles are biodegradable, toxin-free, come in recyclable packaging, and are hand-poured in Vancouver. Plus, for every candle purchased, a tree is planted.
Siblings Candle Kits: Built on a “reuse, refill, relax” model, these candle kits enable you to repurpose and reuse containers by pouring candles yourself, again and again. Plus, these candle kits have 100% compostable packaging, are non-toxic and paraben-free, use coconut blend wax, and are carbon neutral.
Sequoia® Candles: Bring the outdoors in with these candles made from phthalate-free fragrance oils and essential oils in scents like sweetgrass and blackberry sage. Plus, they come in a reusable tin. Sequoia is a Proudly Indigenous brand that is 100% owned and operated by Indigenous women.
Rewrite traditional stationery gifts with these regenerative alternatives.
Sprout Plantable Pens: Along with being sustainably made, sustainably sourced, non-toxic, and biodegradable, each of these pens contains seeds and can be directly planted in soil once the ink runs out. The seeds are drawn from an assortment of vegetable, flower, and herb seeds, making for a nice, zero-waste surprise.
Flowerink Greeting Cards and Paper: Illustrated and printed in Montréal, these unique greeting cards and paper products are made mostly from seed paper that is plantable/compostable, plus their packaging is zero-waste.
Wisdom Supply Co. Weekly Planner: This zero-waste weekly planner is made from 100% recycled paper and plant-based inks and is shipped from a zero-waste, B Corp-certified fulfillment centre.
Gift these circular personal care products to make your loved ones feel pampered all season long.
Old Soul Soap Company Lip Balm: Canadian-made, these filler-free, all-natural lip balms are a zero-waste gift option that comes in plastic-free packaging.
Etee Chewpaste Toothpaste: This chewable toothpaste ditches the plastic tube in favour of a reusable glass jar, providing a sustainable way to make smiles sparkle.
The Yukon Soaps Company Soaps: Indigenous owned and operated, these handcrafted soaps are sustainably sourced and all-natural. With biodegradable plastic, reusable muslin, and other eco-friendly packaging, these soaps make for beautiful low-waste gifts.
Nature’s Bodega Beard Care Box: Handmade in Vancouver, these beard care kits have all-natural ingredients, fully recyclable packaging, and no synthetic fragrances, making them a great eco-friendly gift option for the Movember participants in your life who opted not to shave come December.
Sisters Sage Bath Bombs: Made from all-natural ingredients, these delicious-smelling bath bombs from Sisters Sage, an Indigenous women-led company based in Vancouver, are vegan, palm oil/cruelty-free and come in reusable or recyclable packaging.
Food & Drink
These eco-friendly gifts are good for your body and good for the environment too.
Retea Sustainable Bubble Tea Kits with Reusable Cup: This Canadian company provides DIY bubble tea kits featuring a wide range of flavours, reusable bubble tea cups, straws and teaware, and recyclable and low-waste packaging.
Susgrainable Banana Bread Mix: As seen in Make The World Better Magazine Issue 3, this banana bread mix is made from rescued spent grain produced by craft breweries, plus it’s low on sugar, full of protein and fibre, and loaded with flavour.
Avanaa Vegan Chocolate: Canadian-made, this artisan chocolate is made from 100% natural and plant-based ingredients; supports farmers in Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and Colombia; and is packaged in recyclable paper.
Salt Spring Coffee Holiday Bundle with Wooden Box: A featured company in Make The World Better Issue 1, Salt Spring Coffee is offering a holiday bundle that comes with sustainably shade-grown organic coffee, reusable mugs, and eco-friendly packaging, perfect for anyone who can’t live without their good cup of Joe.
Pukka Teas: B Corp-certified and part of 1% For the Planet, Pukka teas are organically grown and fairly-sourced, come in sustainable packaging, and can be enjoyed in a plethora of flavours.
Stojo Cups: Portable, collapsible, and made with silicone that’s BPA-free and free of other toxic glues and chemicals, these reusable coffee cups and water bottles are safe and sustainable.
Portable Collapsible Straw Kit: This metal straw kit is fully portable, reusable, and sustainable, keeping drinks plastic-free at home and on the go.
Apparel & Accessories
Wrap someone you love in warmth with these sustainable clothing articles and accessories.
Hemp & Company Socks: Made from hemp, these socks are warm, sustainable, and produced by a BC-based brand.
Anne Mulaire Fleece Clothing: Help the women in your life stay cozy with these fleece products from Anne Mulaire, a women-led, Indigenous business based in Winnipeg that puts sustainability and natural fibres at the forefront.
GOGO Sweaters Zero-Waste Toques: This hand-knit, made-to-order toque is made from the scraps of sweaters in Canada.
Kombi Balaclava: Have an avid ski or snowboarder on your list? This Canadian brand offers an adjustable balaclava made from 100% recycled polyester.
rü Bags: Made from 100% recycled GRS certified fabric that’s OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, these lunch and tote bags are reusable, durable, and sustainable.
Rok Cork Leather Bags: Crafted from natural, sustainable, biodegradable cork, these bags are fashionable, functional, and good for the planet.
While is great to buy eco-friendly gifts, it’s also important to think of the other parts of the gift-giving process. We recommend considering your environmental footprint while shopping — for example, walking or taking public transport to the store instead of driving — and wrapping your gifts in recycled, reusable, compostable, and/or upcycled materials.
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