The holidays snuck up really quickly this year, and I'm finding everyone around me has 1) not started their shopping, and 2) no idea what to buy everyone. Although the holiday season is literally the most wonderful time of the year, with all the family time, and good food bringing smiles to the faces of those around us, we often leave all our sustainability values outside in the cold; gift wrapping, tape, bows and string, boxes, bags, food wastage, even the Christmas tree! The holiday season should be just as respectful to our planet as we aim to be all year round. So, fun alternatives? Try wrapping gifts in old newspaper and magazines, use a "green" glue, re-use cardboard boxes or present gifts in fun tote bags. Although cards are often hard to replace, try purchasing cards made from 100% post-consumer waste or send an e-card! Food wastage is a huge issue around the holidays as well as our glutenous eating habits. As families are cooking for large numbers of guests, bakeries and meat shops are slaving away to make sure everyone has treats and meats for the holidays, we often forget to think about our "fair share" and that those around us may not have anything to eat at all throughout these colds nights. Remember to be kind, only cook and eat what your body needs, and do what you can to provide to local shelters and soup kitchens that will be in high demand over the winter season.
To assist all my last minute shoppers, I've put together a list of 10 fabulous conscious companies for ethical gifts that can be delivered well before Christmas, without you having to step foot in a mall - and trust me, you do NOT want to do that in this upcoming last week before Christmas.
1. Cambio Market
You may have noticed I'm a big fan of the Toronto-duo behind Cambio Market, and with so much reason to back it up. Not only are Gelaine and Jerome the sweetest pair, they select inspiring products that support incredible causes, both local and international. All their products are insanely high quality with a beautiful story behind each item.
My top three picks:
Liberti Coordinates Ring Inspiration Studio's Pet Bowl AKABA Travel Bag
I absolutely ADORE my Aasra scarf! I literally pair it with everything. Zehra Abbas, founder of Aasra, started the social enterprise in rural Pakistan, working with disadvantaged women living with disabilities, providing them an opportunity to generate a personal income. Studio.89 still has quite a few left on their shelves. To reserve yours, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
There is nothing better than vegan, botanical-based products. There is not many companies that I trust with safe testing and pure ingredients, but Arbonne quickly jumped into my bathroom and kitchen pantry with everything from face wash, to eye cream, to their delicious chocolate protein powder! Plus, if you sign up as a Preferred Client, you get 20% off all products AND a free $60 gift when you purchase over $195 in product!
My top three picks (which are great as stocking stuffers!):
Blossoming Beauty Gift Set Olive Blossom & Eucalyptus Gift Set Calm Skin Care Set
4. Diosa Del Sol
These gorgeous handmade jewelry pieces from Guatamala are absolutely stunning. The higher price range compliments the outstanding craftsmanship, and time, it takes to creates these very unique pieces. Some take up to 18 hours to craft!. Visit their Instagram to see what holiday markets they are at in this upcoming week, and to personally order yours today!
5. Chic Made Consciously
Another Toronto-based brand crafting jewelry, handbags and belts out of old inner tire tubes from Bali, Indonesia! Take a look at their beautiful collection of products available online and in-store at:
Elle & Co.
Rinse Beauty Bar
Old's Cool General Store
6. Birds & Beans
Beans fairly traded from Central and South America, and roasted in Toronto - how could you NOT want to support their incredibly smooth blends! Their cafe is located on Lakeshore in South Etobicoke and the coffee couldn't be fresher. They are actually one of the only coffee companies to label a "best before" date on their beans.
Fun fact (well maybe fun isn't the right word but...): most coffee we buy and consume is actually stale! Coffee should be consumed no later than 6 months after roasting.
Birds & Beans is also certified with 4 different incredible certifications including: fair trade, organic, rainforest alliance and bird friendly! I get many questions about the "bird friendly" certification, and that's because most of us don't actually know how coffee is supposed to be grown. Imagine a jungle with beautiful beans sprouting from random areas in the surrounding. THAT is how your coffee should be grown, and you will taste the difference as soon as you grab your first bag!
This incredible Toronto-based company is working with fair trade cacao farmers in Oaxaca, Mexico to bring Canadians the most incredible and authentic vegan, gluten-free and natural dark chocolate products.
My favourite: 5 Chili Bullet!
8. Humanity Unified
This wonderful non-profit comes to you from Princeton, New Jersey, working with vulnerable communities in Rwanda on education, food security and economic programs and opportunities. Their collection of Indian malas, by an Delhi-based non-profit employing impoverished women, support their current programs and projects in Kigali.
My favourites: Transendence and Amahoro Malas
9. The Tree Kisser
Instagram is one of my essential resources for finding quality social enterprises and conscious goodies. The Tree Kisser was one I came across a while ago, an apparel company for animal lovers, donating 10% of all profits to reputable animal rescue or advocacy organizations. I absolutely love my "Save the Planet, Save the Animals and Save me a Drink" sweater that was also featured on Sustainable Chic! The sayings are adorable, the material is super high quality AND totally ethical.
10. PCP Clothing
This European brand comes to you from Greece. Their local product and fair trade values instantly attracted me with each step of crafting their incredible stretchy, non-see through, and adorable designed collection of leggings, swimwear, catsuits and accessories, is done with love in Greece. Although online orders may not make it in time for Christmas eve next Saturday, we do currently have quite the variety onsite at Studio.89. We are also the FIRST retail spot to carry the product in Canada - woohoo!
Happy holidays everyone!