I read recently, in Forage and Sustain‘s Sustainable Gift Guide, that 90% of products that are returned during the holiday season get trashed. Trashed! It’s more expensive for the big box stores and giant fast fashion chains to dispose of these items rather than try to resell them. That’s a lot of waste. Our goal should be to try to avoid returns at all costs. Returns hurt small shops bottom line, and the big guys send it to landfill. I’m hoping my guide will help introduce you to some fantastic, small, sustainable, and ethical brands and I’m hoping to inspire some ideas along the way. If you are really feeling stuck, most of these shops offer gift cards. This is a great way to support a small shop but play it safe. If you’re more of a tangible gift kinda person, read on for my picks of items I’m swooning over.
Huha: My pick and personal fave Huha undies are the brief! $28 CAD These are incredibly comfortable to wear and are healthy for your huha! If you’re gifting and are unsure on sizes, they also offer gift cards. If you want to go for it (for yourself or a gift) you can score yourself a 15% discount code that will run until the end of December: JENXHUHA15 (for merchandise only, not GC’s) Their size range is 2XS-3XL.
Hernest: My pick is this Lounge set. Edith Midweight Slim Jogger $139 CAD + Piper Midwight Henley $129 I have this set! It’s breathable, comfortable, sustainable, and perfect for lounge or sleep. These are the perfect pieces for your winter hibernation. Their size range is XXS-4XL.
Free Label: My pick is the Cotton Loretta Pant. $178 CAD Everyone deserves the gift of comfortable pants. Everyone! I now own three pairs of the Loretta Pants, all in different fabrics and colours. The new cotton fabric offers a bit of extra warmth and is available in Caramel, Black, and Olive. Perfect for holiday get togethers, work, or eggnog hour on the couch. Their size range is XS-4X.
Buttercream Clothing : My pick is their oh-so-comfy Tie Overalls. $118 CAD I have been wearing Buttercream clothing for years now. Not only do they create beautiful, wearable, size inclusive garments, all their pieces are ethically produced here in Canada. These adorable tie overalls come in five colours and make the perfect Christmas Day or casual New Years Eve outfit. Their size range is XS-4X.
Earth and Elle: My pick is the Bra No.1 $70 CAD. Your boobs deserve a rest this holiday season too. My Earth and Elle bras are my go to’s for cozy days at home. They come in a great variety of colours and have matching undies ($36.95 CAD) available, that are ridiculously cute and comfy. Size range is S-3XL.
Connally McDougall: My pick is the Compassion Toque $30
For every toque purchased, another one will be donated to the DTES (Downtown East Side) Women’s Shelter in Vancouver. They are available in black or honey and in two sizes. I bought it in the Honey. It’s such a great way to give back and treat yourself (or someone in your life) this holiday season. You’re going to want to check out their full selection of clothing too! Available is sizes XS-5X + sizes 6X-9X made to measure.
Sommerset Moss: My pick is the Balm (from) $30 CAD. I am the hugest fan of this brand. They are my skincare brand of choice. I use their products every dang day! I honestly would recommend any and all of their products. They work beautifully together as a trio. Somerset Moss is also launching a brand new product…soaps! They look positively dreamy!
Well Kept: My pick is the Safety Razor $82 CAD and the Blade Bank $26 CAD. The gift of a Christmas shave! (Quick! What movie is that line from?) This makes the perfect gift for anyone who shaves. I have not used any other razor since switching to my Well Kept Safety Razor two years ago. Visit their site to read about all of their beautiful products they offer. And I promise, they are not scary to use.
Elizabeth O. Vintage: My picks (Yes, there’s more than one.) Upcycled Throw Blanket Pillows $56 CAD (pictured above, various prints available), Thrifted Magic Candles, $25-$45 CAD, Hot Springs Toque $40 CAD (knit by shop owner, Holly, herself). As I’m writing this, I’m wearing a fave vintage, button up, denim shirt/shacket from Holly’s shop. Not only do they offer an amazing selection of wearable vintage and upcycled items, the customer service you will receive is beyond words. You can visit their brick and mortar location in Kelowna, shop online through their website, or if you see something on their Instagram, just shoot them a message.
Fergie’s Home Goods : My pick is their mixed dry floral arrangements + a vintage vase (prices vary). I am a customer of this gorgeous online/Instagram shop. They offer a carefully curated collection of handmade, vintage, and unique pieces for your home. I have purchased many items over this past year from the shop and each items feels more special than the one before. You shop directly from their Instagram page. Every single item is beautiful and knowing there’s a mysterious history behind each item, is probably my favourite thing about shopping vintage.
Harly Jae: My pick is their Zero Waste Tote $58-$68 and Scrunchies $14.50-$16. When clothing is made, there is always a little bit of fabric that ends up unused. These leftover fabrics, or scraps typically end up in the landfill. To lessen their waste, they collect these fabric scraps and give them new life as a useable, beautiful item. This tote is perfect and stylish for trips to the market or hauling the kid’s stuff. They also have introduced a stunning Zero Waste Quilted Blanket. Visit their site for more info.
Habitat And Cloth : My pick is their foraged and handpicked wreaths (prices vary). Scrolling through Annie’s Instagram feed is like a beautiful dream. All of her handmade wreaths and bouquets are natural works of art. How happy would you be to receive one of her stunning creations as a hostess gift? Or think about the reaction of gifting one of these to your child’s teacher, your BFF, or even something for yourself to kick off your decorating this holiday season. You can see more on their website or reach out on their Instagram page.
PK Beans : My pick is anything from the PK RePlay collection. My kids love their PK Beans clothes. They also loved their Peg Peeps DIY Kit! This fabulous, ethical, children’s clothing company creates, new, one-of-a-kind items out of the fabric of well loved clothing items + fabric scraps. They have everything from doll clothes, to crafts, to tooth fairy pillows, DIY peg dolls, and even pet toys.
Hued : My pick is their original Hue Dough $9. Hue Dough is a natural sensory dough made with quality essential oils + veggie based dyes. They leave out the bad, leaving you with a super soft natural playdough that won’t leave your hands feeling dry or salty. My kids love their products and how delicious they smell. Their Papaya/Wild Orange Flora Dough has 100% of the sales going to support the Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).
The Wonder Cabinet: My pick is the Wooden Bowling Set $28 CAD. I can honestly say that everything in this shop is beyond beautiful. This is a perfect place to shop for the parent who wants a lovely aesthetic to go along with their child’s play.
The Playful Peacock: My pick is the Wooden Doctor Set $59.99 CAD + the Wooden Beauty Set $59.99 CAD. I only recently came across this beautiful shop based out of Toronto. I was instantly in love with all of their gorgeous wooden toy options. Every purchase also helps support Indigenous Children. Visit there site for more information and to see their full collection.
I am also a huge fan of purchasing secondhand items for gifts. I mentioned Fergie’s Home Goods and Elizabeth O. Vintage above as great, curated shops for this. This year, I was able to find a gorgeous set of Uncle Goose letter blocks, a wooden car, wooden building blocks, and kids books all secondhand to gift to my own kids. I cleaned them up and repackaged them with things I have at home. Things like pretty boxes or natural, cloth bags make beautiful packaging that will make these secondhand treasures feel even more special.
When in doubt, shop local! There are so many amazing, small, local boutiques that offer up products made by local makers, and often there are sustainable options. Shopping local, in person means you know you will get those gifts in time for the holidays. One of my favourite local boutiques is The Good Omen Shop. They support local makers and Indigenous brands. Think crystals, candles, bath bombs, pottery, and so many other treasures. If you aren’t local to New Westminster, they have an e-commerce site too.
* Be sure to check out my Indigenous Canadian Brand Guide as well. There are so many incredible shops/brands to shop from. The list includes, fashion, home items, food, coffee, jewelry, and more.