Eco-Conscious Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

by Erin Torrance December 18, 2019

Photo of a Well Kept eco-friendly brass safety razor on a pink background among trinkets

The holidays can bring about a lot of mixed feelings. Feeling inspired by Greta Thunberg, Time’s Person of the Year, and the strong environmental activism occurring all around us, many of us are keeping a closer eye on our environmental impact throughout the season. At Scout, we strive to take steps that help us leave as little of a footprint as possible while spreading cheer and joy this season and year-round. We have been taking steps along with our suppliers to make more conscious choices (read more about that here!), while expanding our eco-friendly product selections. With this in mind, we wanted to offer up some ways in which your purchasing decisions this season can incorporate this beautiful planet.

Gifts and Ideas to Lower Your Environmental Impact this Holiday Season

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Options

Ten & Co Swedish dish cloth wrapped around a wine bottle with a ribbon for festive eco-friendly gift wrap

Photo courtesy Ten & Co.

We’re a fan of the furoshiki technique, where cloth is wrapped and knotted around a gift in place of wrapping paper and ribbon. You can see a demonstration of how it’s done here. A tea towel or reusable napkin can be the perfect pick for some gorgeous cloth to wrap with while adding to your gift. We recommend opting for Nova Scotia-based Keephouse Studio tea towels ($24, in-stores or online) for single presents or swap in a reusable napkin set ($28, in-stores or online) for when you need to wrap more than one item. Keephouse Studio textiles are made from linen and organic inks in Seaforth, Nova Scotia. For an added bonus, opt for a set of four Knotted Nest napkins ($25, in-stores only). Handmade in Toronto’s east end, these napkins are crafted from colourful vintage reclaimed and recycled fabrics. Each napkin features a different pattern on each side, making for fun mix-and-match combinations when wrapping. For those looking for a more sustainable paper wrap option, consider Waste Not’s stone wrapping paper ($13.95, in-stores only). Made of finely ground stones, instead of trees, this paper comes in a continuous roll, so you can make the most of each cut; is extra-durable and water resistant, so it’ll last throughout the commutes even if you’re battling a little snow; and has a smooth feel for a clean-looking wrap. Lastly, our Ten & Co. Swedish dish cloths ($7.95, in-stores and online), made of vegetable cellulose and compostable at end of life, are the perfect size to wrap around a bottle of wine for the festive host. 

Keep Fueled with a KeepCup

Glass KeepCup coffee travel mug resting on a stump in front of a picturesque lake bordered by foliage and trees

Photo credit: Alex Nunnerly via KeepCup

Those warm caffeinated drinks keep us energized through the busy holiday season but make the move to skip out on single-use cups with a glass KeepCup travel mug ($36.95-$41.95, in-stores or online). Founded in 2009 as a response to all the waste created from on-the-go coffee breaks, the company offers a handy size guide to determine which option is best for your beverage of choice so you only get what you need. Further, KeepCup recognizes that shipping has a cost and encourages their customers to purchase from local vendors (like us!) to help keep the impact of freight at a minimum. We also love how transparent the company is and how it ensures that it also tracks its impact long-term. You can even access their full Life Cycle Assessment report here, to see what impact these reusable cups have when they do eventually reach end of life. The glass and cork cups make for a practical but pretty gift. For those who prefer to sip slowly, the new Long Play travel mugs offer a double-walled body to keep liquids warmer for longer. Of course, if you’re out running errands yourself and looking for a little fuel, why not pick one up for you?

Switch Up Shaving Essentials

White Well Kept safety razor resting on a pale pink shaving bar, both available at Scout in Toronto

Photo courtesy of Well Kept

A perfect and unconventional gift for the eco-conscious shaver, Well Kept’s safety razors (in-stores or online, $68.00) offer a modern aesthetic for today’s eco warrior. Using a single-blade safety razor offers a smoother shave, less skin irritation, and a blade that’s easily recyclable with no plastic anywhere in its products—even in its packaging, which features just paper and cardboard. Shaving soap is also offered, packaged in a cloth bag that’s perfect for reusing when travelling. The shaving technique used with these safety razors also emphasize the process of slowing down, creating a sort of soothing and mindful ritual that shows care for the body as much as the products show care for the environment. Razors come in black, pink, and cream. Purchase with a package of razor blade refills so they’re all stocked up.

Choose a Card with a Lower Impact

Flat lay of Made in Brockton Village's recycled paper Toronto-themed Christmas cards, available in boxed sets and singles

Photo courtesy of Made in Brockton Village

Founded by duo Malika Pannek and Tomas Urbina, Toronto-based Made in Brockton Village brings whimsy to eco-friendly stationery. The imperfect is embraced in their designs but making the right business choices that keep the environment in mind is the company’s core value. Over its seven years, Made in Brockton Village has managed to take a close look at all aspects of the product creation business and improve upon their practices as new options have become available. At present, 90% of their products are printed on premium 100% recycled paper, while the remainder are printed on paper with a minimum 10% recycled content. All envelopes are 100% recycled paper and all paper is FSC certified, meaning source pulp was harvested responsibly through sustainable forestry. Most single cards are sold in a plant-based cello sleeve that is completely biodegradable and they are committed to phasing out their existing plastic sleeves by the end of this year. For printing, the company uses presses powered by renewable energy and have adopted a waterless printing process that uses VOC-free inks, allowing for a significant reduction in the water, carbon emissions, and petroleum-based materials used in the process. We have a selection of single cards ($5.95) and boxed card sets ($25) from Made in Brockton Village in-stores (small selection available online). Purchase a package and deliver your eco-friendly cards by hand to lower your environmental impact, while visiting friends, neighbours, and loved ones this season. While the boxed card sets are packaged in a partially plastic box, we suggest keeping the box and twine to store the cards, notes, and all their sweet sentiments inside and stash away for when you need a little pick-me-up throughout the year.

Give a Little Glitz 

Canadian-made necklaces from designers Hailey Gerrits and Wolf Circus available at Scout Toronto

Photos courtesy of Hailey Gerrits (left) and Wolf Circus (right)

Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean dull and drab. Minimalist essentials can have a little glitter too, particularly when the accessory can help any outfit sparkle a little more this holiday season and well beyond. With modern yet classic designs, necklaces, earrings, or rings from Wolf Circus and Hailey Gerrits can have that gift-giving wow factor while keeping the planet at the forefront of your purchase. 

Handmade in small batches out of her studio headquartered in Vancouver, each Hailey Gerrits piece features reclaimed vintage brass chains and hand-cut gemstones ethically sourced from artisans around the world, some exclusive to her lines. Each piece is inspired by the vintage materials she’s sought out in warehouse and vintage sales. These pieces respect the environment while offering a piece that adds stylish beauty and spirit. Pieces can be mixed and matched and some necklaces offer a design that may be worn short or long, for even more wear. Hailey Gerrits necklaces, bracelets, and earrings can be found in-store at our Leslieville location only.

Also hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Wolf Circus handmakes or casts all pieces using recycled sterling silver and bronze metals, alongside a 14k gold plating on some pieces. For some pendants, Wolf Circus uses the lost-wax casting process, a method of metal sculpting that dates back to the 3000s BCE. Sustaining few changes since its inception, this method uses a handmade casting in which metal is poured to create intricate designs. Run by women, Wolf Circus aims to empower all who adorn themselves in its demi-fine luxury heirloom jewellery, making for the perfect eco-friendly gift to spoil a loved one. Wolf Circus necklaces and rings are available at our Roncesvalles location or online.

An Important Note for Online Orders…

The recommended shipping deadline for online orders for 2019 has passed. If shopping online, we suggest selecting our free pick-up in-store option for orders up to December 22 to ensure you get it in time for the holidays.

We love it when this becomes a community effort! Share your tips on how you’re keeping your environmental impact to a minimum this season in the comments below and be sure to browse our waste-free living section for more gifting ideas, including plenty of green stocking stuffers like those pictured below!

Eco-friendly stocking stuffers available at Scout in Toronto





Erin Torrance
Erin Torrance

Author

A frequent shopper at the store over the years, Erin joined the Scout team when we opened in Leslieville in November 2018. She prides herself on giving the perfect heartfelt card and may be considered your go-to source for brunch and coffee recommendations in the East End.


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