Try as we might, it’s inevitable that we will be buying a last-minute gift for someone in the next nine days. So if you’re anything like us—and you’ve got friends and family who love to eat, travel, and cook, and in a sustainable way—we’ve got just the holiday gift guide for you, whether it’s a stocking stuffer or a showstopper you’re looking for.
For the dinner party thrower
Unbreakable plates and glasses
Enjoy a good outdoor meal? Put these eco-friendly Poketo bamboo plates on your list this year. They’re colorful and modern, made from cornstarch and organic bamboo fiber (a renewable resource that’s totally biodegradable), and pretty unbreakable. Win, win, win. (While you’re at it, add these shatterproof, recyclable Govina wine glasses too.)
There’s probably something among the American-made Lodge Cast Iron collection your home cook friend could use—maybe it’s a 12-inch skillet, maybe it’s a Dutch oven (which we love for baking sourdough in). Good news is: You can afford it.
It’s not going away, friends—and for good reason. I love how easy the Instant Pot is to use, and the pure satisfaction of just throwing a bunch of things into the pot (even frozen chicken!) and having dinner on the table 45 minutes later (it’s true, it’s not really instant—but still a huge convenience). We have a collection of saved IP recipes on Pinterest, but also, there’s these …
The “I Love My Instant Pot” recipe books
These collections of easy, family-friendly meals are newly in rotation at our house. One focuses on meals costing less than $12 and the other is all about soups, stews, and chilis (there are more in the series as well). From Cajun dirty rice to ropa vieja to yogurt, it’s chock-full of ideas I plan on using this year.
For the traveler
The best active women’s travel pants
I bought these stretchy, water-repellent prAna Halle pants for a trip to Iceland this year, and wore them almost daily (with or without leggings underneath for added warmth). They’re so great, I bought a second pair in the skinnier “Briann” style.
Backpacks, wallets, fanny packs ... by Herschel
Whether we are home or away, the daily fixtures in our lives include this well-designed Herschel Settlement mid-volume backpack and a Roy wallet (with a change pocket, in case you also care about that!); we have lots of friends who swear by the fanny pack too. There’s no denying it: Herschel is hot. And also super functional.
Wireless noise-canceling headphones
Eyeing a pair of Bose? Save some money and try these Boltunes instead. They’re comfortable and stylish, are ideal for someone who’s often on airplanes or working in cafes (or just in the presence of loud little people in a compact apartment)—and they’re already my favorite (early) holiday gift this year.
For the Earth lover
Wild-caught salmon share
What’s better than sustainable, wild-caught Alaskan salmon? Sustainable, wild-caught Alaskan salmon delivered directly to your door—in completely recyclable, compostable packaging. The hook-and-line-caught fish (from Southeast Alaska and the North Pacific) delivered by Sitka Salmon Shares is individually caught by the company’s fisherman-owners or partner fishermen, then blast-frozen at the peak of freshness before being delivered to your doorstep, with recipes and a newsletter about the fishermen who caught that month’s share. Special deal: Use code SITKA25 to take $25 off any 2020 Sitka seafood share.
We featured this one last year and are happy to again this year. Snares to Wares Sculptures, a community-based conservation effort in Uganda that’s affiliated with Michigan State University, teaches the local youth to turn wire snares set by poachers into works of art—primarily sculptures of the animals being targeted—as an alternative to becoming poachers themselves. Buying one directly supports community members. We bought ourselves an elephant last year; there are also giraffes and lions for purchase.
Keeping some reusable bamboo utensils, like these from To-Go Ware, in your bag is one tiny action you can take to decrease your carbon footprint, whether you are grabbing lunch from a food truck or are traveling in a country where there aren’t readily available hygienic utensils. We love these, and wish we could give a pair to everyone on our Queens food tours (we buy compostable wooden utensils in bulk instead, but they’re a bit more popsicle stick-like).
Stocking stuffer tip: Pair these with some bamboo toothbrushes and bendable, portable silicone straws for your most eco-conscious family members.
EYW tote bag
Hot off the presses, we have a tote bag! Well, only a few for now, but we plan on building an online store this year so hopefully there will be more of these babies soon. You may, like us, have a lot of tote bags in your closet already, but this one is not only cute and double-sided; it's also durable, with reinforced cotton black straps and a sturdy polyester exterior. It’s perfect for lugging groceries, or, you know, toting home lots of dumplings. (For now, email [email protected] if you’re interested.)
For the kiddos
Little Passports subscription box
Give the gift of world exploration that lasts all year! Little Passports offers five different subscription boxes for a range of ages, from Early Explorers (think: oceans and dinosaurs) to the experiment-driven Science Expeditions. The World Edition sends kids souvenirs and activities from a different country each month. We’ve also heard wonderful things about the subscription boxes from KiwiCo.
Artway Enviro sketchbook
We love giving these beautiful hardbound drawing books by Artway, made of entirely recycled paper, to the budding artists we know. Pair with some charcoal pencils and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
A curiosity-inducing book
Our kids got Everything & Everywhere, a book filled with fun, unexpected facts about places around the globe, last year and love it—particularly because we took them this year to Iceland, one of the locations in the book. (Ever wonder what the most common names in Reykjavík are? Jón and Anna.)
A kids food tour
We like to think that a memorable experience outweighs more stuff in a house. If you agree, bringing your kids/nieces/nephews on a fun, tasty food tour—by yours truly—that’s geared toward them and teaches them a little something about the world may be just the ticket. This year we developed a kid-focused spinoff of our popular food tour in diverse Jackson Heights, Queens, to engage littler ones (ideal for ages 5-12) while still keeping things interesting/delicious enough for their parents. It’s 90 minutes of “world travel” to four countries, sampling dishes and playing games along the way. Gift certificates are available (for this and the regular food tour).
Disclosures: A Sitka Salmon Share was sent to us free of charge. Also, we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Some of the products on this page are affiliate links, meaning we will get a small commission if sales are made; however, each of these is here only because we really truly recommend them and use or covet them ourselves. See the FAQfor more on our editorial policy.