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Net Zero Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide

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This is a long one, so grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and just keep scrolling down. If you’re looking for a way to give lovely gifts this holiday season, all while keeping the planet in mind, look no further than this year’s sustainable gift guide.  With us now into our Holiday Challenge with Canadian Geographic and our Live Net Zero Challenge, (you can read morehere), I thought I would share some gift ideas to help you cut back on your carbon footprint. I’ve done something a bit different this year.  This guide is featuring small, sustainable shops as well as some ideas of how to wrap better, think outside the gift giving box, and to give mindfully.  You can also check out my Indigenous Canadian Brand guide here , and last year’s Green Gift Guide here .

First let’s chat some specific gift items.  All these items are from sustainable and ethical brands and most are Canadian. Here are my picks! {Disclaimer: Some of the items I have listed may be sold out by the time of this post going live. Please check out the shops to see their other amazing offerings.}

Sustainable mitts



Mini Tipi Upcycled Mittens $45 CAD: Cute, stylish, and warm!  What could be better than that?  How about that these mittens are created by recycling leftover material from other projects with the intent of making sure it doesn’t go to the landfills. There are several prints and patterns to choose from and they are available in two sizes. Mittens make such a perfect gift!






handmade mugs


Salty Sea Dog Designs Mugs $99 CAD : Adorable works of art you can drink your coffee out of?  Yes please! These stunning, handmade mugs and more, are food safe, dishwasher safe, and microwave safe. As owners/creators, Blair and Sarah explain, “Pottery requires a very long production period in order for any piece to be completed. Not only does the form need to be thrown and sculpted, it needs to be dried slowly to prevent cracks and warping. Salty Sea Dog Designs pottery goes through two kiln firing before they are finished, reaching temperatures as high as 2200F to vitrify the clay and bring out the vibrant colours you see. Any ceramic piece from Salty Sea Dog Designs can take a month or more to create from start to finish.”  It truly is functional art.


zero waste gift



Anne Mulaire Zero Waste Bamboo Winter Neck warmer (unisex) $35 CAD : Anne Mulaire has created an entire zero waste collection.  The collection is created with fabric remnants from their production. Their team gathers the left over pieces, re-patterns them, and sews them together, making a unique eco-friendly masterpiece you can feel good and look good wearing.  The neck warmer is made from brushed bamboo fleece. This thick cozy neck warmer would be perfect under any coat to prevent that winter air from punishing your bare skin. A must have for when you’re deep into winter. Available in solid colours and it’s unisex. You can check out the entire zero waste collection here.







sustainable crewneck



Hernest Lucille Midweight Crewneck Sweatshirt $119 CAD : This midweight crewneck sweatshirt is their no. 1 bestseller.  The versatility of this piece makes it the perfect gift. The crewneck is made of Tencel + Organic Cotton, is ethically made in Portugal, and will arrive in home compostable packaging. This crewneck is a carbon neutral product.  You can read more about how, by clicking on the little green leaf on their website. The crewneck is offered in five colours and in sizes XXS-4XL. I have one and it’s a favorite piece in my wardrobe.




sustainable gift ideas


Nellie’s Dishwasher Kit $76 CAD: I love to give and receive, practical and environmentally friendly products for our home. Nellies offers up some amazing bundles for laundry, pets, or this lovely dishwashing bundle.  Their plant-based products are septic safe, biodegradable and phosphate free and a little goes a long way, so it won’t cost you a bundle, so, the only gross stuff going down the drain and in the compost bin will come from your plates! Besides being ever so cute, their NEW Swedish Dishcloths replace over 15 rolls of single use paper towel.  What’s included:Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder 100 Scoop Tin, Dishwasher Powder 50 Scoop Refill Pouch, Swedish Dishcloths and Fragrance-Free One Soap.  If you were wanting to add something a little personal with this gift, I love the idea of a couple of thrifted mugs or pretty vintage plates.





sustainable candles



Seventh and Oak Candles $38 CAD : Candles are always on my wish list. There are so many things to love about this Canadian brand.  Their candles are hand crafted in small batches and are made with high-quality coconut soy wax sourced from North American manufacturers, with FSC certified wood wicks and an essential oil and fragrance oil blend that meet the highest purity standards.  They plant a tree for every order placed and repurpose their old jars into new candles. Talk about circularity.






sustainable candles



Kilig Candle Co $38 CAD : I don’t believe there is such a thing as too many candles, so I’m including another beautiful candle company. Whether it’s a Christmas gift or a hostess gift, candles are the perfect thing to give.  Kilig has come out with a new holiday candle that boasts scents of  cranberry, champagne, spice + clementine. Embracing all that has to do with the holidays, they bring you a scent that is warm and comforting with a hint of spice. Allow yourself to get into the holiday mood with this captivating scent. All of their scents are vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainably made. For every Kilig product purchased, they donate a meal to a child in need. A beautiful way to gift while also giving back.





sustainable watch



Nordgreen Watches $174 CAD (starting price) : I have been admiring this sustainable watch brand from Copenhagen for some time now.  I am now the proud owner of one of their stunning time pieces. Not only does Nordgreen offer a timeless aesthetic appeal with pieces that can be passed down to the next generation, they do this with people and the planet in mind. They are 100% committed to making sure their environmental footprint is zero, and they feel a responsibility to give back where they can, to help those less fortunate than ourselves.  You can read more about their incredible Giving Back program here. You can also use my discount code JENP to receive 15% off.  (Affiliate link) Keep an eye out over on my Instagram with more from this lovely brand.





sustainable honey



Drizzle Honey $13.99 CAD (starting price): The most delicous, sustainable, Canadian honey. I am such a fan of this brand of honey. This brand partners with local bee keepers, provides bees with bio-diverse food sources, and they donate to pollinator research.  Oh, and the honey?  It’s oh so yummy. Their holiday collection looks incredible. I’m a big fan of their cinnamon spiced raw honey. A spoonful will transform your morning coffee.





brass jewelry



Chokitem Eternity Bracelet $30 CAD:  This Canadian, Black owned business is one will have seen featured on my site before. This beautiful and timeless cuff is in my own jewelry collection and makes a lovely gift.  It is handcrafted out of recycled brass.  Did you know that 90% of all brass in the world is recycled? It is a truly sustainable metal.  Not only that, it is durable, easy to clean, and will last for decades with proper care. It’s a wonderful option for affordable jewelry. Chokitem supports artisans in Africa, and your purchase promotes artisan entrepreneurship.







sustainable gift ideas



Connally Mcdougall Nika Knot Bag  $48 CAD : Made from unbelievably soft sheep & alpaca wool, this playful little bag is great for holding your essentials, keeping fragile items safer during travel, or using as a clutch handbag. Not only does it look great, it’s wonderful for tactile soothing or stimulation for both kids & adults. This is a piece you can find comfort in. I feel like this is the perfect little winter time clutch. They offer some amazing Zero Waste accessories too + gift cards.






plaid wrap



Lumber Jill Apparel Rundle Wrap $169 CAD : This is the ultimate cozy piece!  There’s even a pocket! Squirrel away your chap stick, lip gloss, snacks or your phone. It’s a piece that is warm and cozy with a flannel face and fleece lining. The Rundle Wrap is designed with a large scoop cut out so it fits over your shoulders as a wearable blanket you’ll never want to take off. Great for campfires, patios, sporting events and cozying up on the couch. Ethically made in Canada.  Plaid: 100% cotton flannel, Fleece: 100% recycled polyester.






sustainable kids toys



The Playful Peacock Nature Collection Alphabet Blocks    $195 CAD : These stunning, heirloom quality blocks were made exclusively for The Playful Peacock, Illustrated by a Canadian mom of 2, and handmade by a female-owned Canadian small business.  They are made of solid sustainably sourced Canadian Maple, all blocks are permanently engraved on all SIX sides with uppercase letters, numbers and intricate North American nature-themed graphics. Honestly, the entire shop is a dream. Be sure to check out all of their beautiful, sustainable offerings here.






sustainable gift guide

When it comes to reducing our carbon emissions around gift giving, there are ways we can make an impact not only through what we buy, but by how we give it.

  1. Shop local to where you’re sending the gift: Do you have to ship a gift across the country?  Being in BC and having some family in Ontario, I get creative with how gifts get to them. A couple of years ago I found a local to my Ontario family, small shop I wanted to purchase from.  I messaged my cousin and found out that the shop was only 10 minutes from their home.  I purchased my gifts for them online and selected the in store pickup option.  My cousin went and picked up the local to her gifts and wrapped them for me, for her kids.  This reduced our carbon shipping footprint + saved me a ton of money on shipping it across the country.
  2. Experiences: Not only are we purchasing Christmas gifts this time of year, we are also celebrating all three of our kids birthdays in November and December. This year, for their birthdays, we are going to surprise them with ticket to see Disney on Ice.  So they still have a little something to open, I bought them each a thrifted Disney book + a thrifted Disney tee.  They can each open up their package and will put a little “ticket” in there for the Disney on Ice.  Experiences are the best gifts!
  3. Local Gift Cards: Do you have a favorite local restaurant you want to share with friends or family? What about that little coffee shop that makes the best oat milk lattes you’ve ever had? Gift cards to local spots make a great gift for teachers, neighbours, or anyone living local to your community who you’d love to share some Christmas cheer.  This is also a great way to help boost sales to local businesses.
  4. Spirits: Every year we are gifted yummy. local wines and spirits and it is such a treat. From the Forty Creek Canadian cream whiskey, to the purple Empress Gin, to the variety of local BC wines, these gifts never disappoint. A gift card to a local brewery is always a good idea too.
  5. Yummy edible treats: Some of my fave things to both give and receive include: jams, honey, coffee, chocolates, gourmet marshmallows, hot chocolate, homemade baking, tins of popcorn, Panettone (Italian sweet bread), and the list could go on. Last year for the kid’s teachers, I made gift baskets for each of them.  I thrifted the baskets and filled them with red + green pears, pomegranates, local jams, local coffee, bannock, and a hand made Christmas ornament from a local maker with a local charity tie in. Consumables are such great gifts as they aren’t something that creates clutter for the recipient.
  6. Homemade: I have a mother-in-law who can, quite literally, do it all.  Well, everything except know what gifts to give. Last year I told her that when she’s struggling for in-law gifts and neighbour gifts, she should look no further than her own cantina.  Every year she makes a ton of the most delicious blueberry jam (with blueberries she picked herself) and fig spreads (with figs from her own tree). To her they are simple things that she doesn’t see what a gift they are to others.  Last Christmas, she gifted my parents a couple jars and decorated up the jars a bit (she’s an incredible artist too). If you have skills and some time, gift it to people.  Knitting, cooking, baking, art, crafts, they all make lovely gifts.
  7. Think vintage: Over the years I have gifted some lovely thrifted items to my friends and family.  Things in new like condition such as: candle sticks, cloth napkins, a mini water fountain, books, vases, and even baskets to put gifts in. I recently saw online someone who thrifts casserole dishes and then gifts them to people with left overs if they’ve been over for dinner.  I love this idea. Even to make someone a meal or some baking and to present it in a beautiful, vintage container for them to keep is such a great idea.  This year for Christmas, I found a lovely, vintage, print in the coolest wooden frame as a gift for my Aunt and Uncle. They print is of the original Chinatown in the place they live.  It’s very much their style as their house is 100+ years old and full of antiques. A couple places to check out are Elizabeth O. Vintage and Fergie’s Home Goods.

Ship tip: Can your parcel catch a lift? I recently had a full week of family visiting from both Vancouver Island and Ontario.  My uncle from Ontario dropped off gifts from my cousin for my kids.  My Mom and Sister brought over the kid’s Birthday gifts and I sent them with gifts to take over to the Island for me. No shipping needed. This cuts back on shipping emissions and makes the most of back and forth visits.

Give Back: There are so many ways to give back this time of year (and all year long).  Sometimes giving to people you don’t even know are the most rewarding gifts. Every year, our family adopts a senior through a wonderful program London Drugs does each year. Seniors fill in a Christmas wish list and we purchase them their gifts. Their requests are so simple and knowing they won’t be forgotten during the holidays is an amazing gift. If you are able to, find ways to give back this holiday season.  Watch for coat drives, food bank drives, toy drives and all the ways we can help support the people in our communities.

Sustainable Wrapping: How do you plan to wrap your gifts this holiday season?  According to, 545,000 tonnes of waste is generated from gift- wrapping and shopping bags each year in Canada. Household waste can also increase more than 25% in the holiday season. Canadians use 6 million rolls of tape to wrap up Christmas presents every year.  Try skipping buying brand new rolls of wrapping paper this year.  Some wonderful alternatives include:

  • Buying your gift wrap from the thrift shops.  There were so many brand new rolls available at the thrift shop last year.  I picked up a couple rolls to assist Santa in his gift wrapping.
  • Newspaper.  My sister is the Queen of newspaper gift wrapping.  She always makes her gifts look great and we are grateful for the extra paper to line our kitchen top compost bin.
  • Reuse.  I know I’m not the only one with a bin in their closet full of bags, tissue, bows, and ribbon that you repurpose and use again and again.  Why buy new when you can just use what you have?
  • Thrift unique wrap materials.  I have thrifted pashminas for gift wrapping larger items and used tying and twine to finish it up.  Last year, I thrifted some jute stockings (3 for $1.99) to use as wrapping.  I filled them with little bottles of Prosecco, thrifted (never used) candle sticks, and chocolates for some friends.
  • Wrap the gift with another part of the gift. A couple years ago, I bought my brother-in-law a fab t-shirt + a thrifted book for Christmas.  I wrapped his book with the t-shirt and kept it all together with some twine. I adorned it with a handmade gift tag and a candy cane.
  • Use what you have. Again, my sister is the best at this.  We have received gifts wrapped in tea towels, rice bags, and burlap coffee sacs.  She recently told me she saw someone using chip bags as wrapping.  They would cut them open to be one big sheet, wash them with soap to get all oil off and then wrap a gift with the bag inside out, with the shiny part on the outside. Such a clever idea!

There are so many ways for us to be more sustainable during the holidays. Mindful gifting is a big part of that. Mindful gifting can also be cost saving.  The cost of everything has gone up, so get creative with how you give.  Yes, there is still room for tangible gifts, but things like hosting a brunch, buying a friend a coffee, or going out to take in a holiday event are also gifts.  The gift of spending time together.  One of my favorite traditions we do with the kids each year is going to a free light display.  We can go for an outdoor walk around a local lake, take in a beautiful, free light display, and grab a cup of hot cocoa or hot apple cider as a treat to warm us up.  So simple, a core memory for us and the kids, and all for the cost of some hot beverages.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season.  It really is a magical time of year.

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