It's here! My 2nd annual Meaningful Gift Guide to save you tedious shopping time and help you find gifts with extra meaning for the people you care about most.
The gift ideas on this list support deserving, ethical companies, promote health & wellness, and/or protect the environment.
As consumers, we cast a vote for the kind of world we want to live in with every purchase we make.
I firmly believe that conscious purchases are one of the most impactful ways to effect change (much more quickly than through legislation), because companies are listening closely to what consumers want, and what they're willing -- and aren't willing -- to tolerate.
When we support deserving companies that are already making morally impeccable decisions at every level, we are saying loud and clear to the marketplace that we want more of that.
I would assert that it is our pressing responsibility to be very selective about where we spend our dollars, instead of giving into the temptation of cheaper goods at the expense of our health, other human beings, or the planet.
Indeed, many large corporations reduce their own cost of producing goods by "externalizing" expenses.
In other words, instead of spending more to dispose of waste properly and sustainably, for example, or pay laborers a fair wage, or use ingredients that are safe for our health, they transfer ("externalize") some of that cost to all of humanity by polluting the air, land and water, exploiting labor and/or using cheaper ingredients that are questionable or even harmful to our health.
When we look the other way and buy their goods anyway, we are in effect communicating that those poor practices are perfectly OK with us, or at least, that we're willing to tolerate them in exchange for lower market prices.
But if demand for these companies' products were to decline, they would respond accordingly and make products that consumers want instead.
This is where our power lies as active participants in our economy. And why it is so important to be conscientious consumers and dig a little deeper to find upstanding companies deserving of our support.
There are so many wonderful products available from small businesses and socially responsible corporations, and I've chosen to share just a few with you that I've discovered.
My hope is that these ideas will allow you to share even more meaningful gifts with the people you care about, because they'll be making the world a better place in a small but impactful way.
At the very least, I hope this article will save you some time in your holiday gift shopping efforts. And perhaps, more generally, inspire you to shop with the broader picture in mind, at any time of year.
*Each of the gifts on this list are also free of animal products and animal testing.*
Based in Santa Monica, California, Beautycounter is a Certified Benefit Corporation ("B Corp"), which means they uphold the highest level of corporate social responsibility and equally prioritize the planet and people alongside profit for a "triple bottom line" that benefits everyone.
They make personal care and cosmetic products to the strictest ingredient safety standard anywhere in the industry, while offering extremely high performance. In other words, the products aren't just safer, they work as well and as beautifully as any of your favorite department store brands.
I love this company so much that I became a consultant myself, so when you shop these links, you'll be shopping with (and supporting) me. Thank you in advance!
Black Friday Deal: 15% off sitewide, with free shipping on orders over $50 through Cyber Monday.
Here are a few of my top recommendations:
1. "Best of Beautycounter" (Limited Edition) reg. $89, now $75.65 with 15% discount for Black Friday and free shipping) - Four best-selling high-performance skin care products.
2. "Shimmer and Shine" (Limited Edition) $75 value, reg. $59, now $50.15 with Black Friday discount and free shipping - Sugar Scrub, Body Butter and Shimmer Body Oil.
3. "Holiday Hand Trio" reg. $30, now $25.50 with Black Friday discount. Three beautiful scents - Lavender, Monoi and Petal. Great as a gift set or given individually.
4. "Counterman Preview Gift Set" reg. $45, now $38.25 for Black Friday. Amazing men's products and a gorgeous travel case that's worth the price all by itself.
5. "Glow & Go Mini Oils" reg. $30, now $25.50 for Black Friday. Set of three mini facial oils that really do make your complexion glow. The full-sized versions are huge best-sellers.
There are so many more beautiful products, too. Shop the full collection here and help get safer products into the hands of everyone, while supporting a very deserving company.
Zeeta Body is a woman-owned small business in Las Vegas, NV. Christine Frazzita hand-crafts all her products with all-natural, cruelty-free, vegan ingredients, to make her customers feel happy, calm and confident.
And if you have a friend with new ink, the Zeeta Body Voodoo Ink Oil Tattoo Blend will take good care of him or her.
She's also offering Winter Warmth Gift Set (other fragrances available too) that includes a Winter Warmth Scrub, Holiday Spray and Cardamom Spice Body Oil that would make an incredible gift. On sale for Black Friday weekend, reg. $29.98, now $26.98.
Cyber Monday: Everything on the site is discounted, plus $10 off a $100 order (code GiveThanks), $15 off a $150 order (code Thankful) and $25 off a $225 order (code YoureAmazing).
Another Certified Benefit Corporation known for its political activism to protect the environment, Patagonia makes all of its decisions with the best interest of the planet in mind. Their clothing is extremely high-quality and long-lasting.
Perfect for winter, their Capilene Thermal Weight Crew ($89) is a dream for outdoor activities in cold weather.
Sseko is an amazing company that helps young, academically gifted women in Nigeria go to college, who might not otherwise have the opportunity, by employing them to make beautiful fashion pieces so they can save for school, while helping sponsor their tuition.
My lovely friend Chidimma is a Sseko Fellow, so your sales through these links will support her and her efforts to sponsor some amazing young women in Africa.
They're offering 25% off sitewide through Cyber Monday with the code GIFTSTHATGIVE, which is a wonderful deal.
Recommended, pictured above: Duster in Dandelion, a beautiful print, that would be wonderful as a fall and spring accessory and as a coverup for a warm-weather vacation. And their Semi Circle Cuff Bracelet, which is elegant and striking.
This company produces some amazing, extremely-high-quality clothing, right here in the US, and pays fair wages. Honestly, some of my very favorite clothing comes from American Giant.
I can't say enough good things about their Classic Full Zip Hoodie, available for men and women. It has a flattering slim fit, it's super warm, and has reinforced elbows for extra-long durability.
I basically live in their Joggers and Classic Sweatpants, and their Ponte Pant is my go-to for a night out (all pictured below).
Special offer: 15% off your first order when you purchase through my referral link.
Trades of Hope is another company on a mission, to help mothers keep their babies. They empower women through job creation by marketing and selling their beautiful handmade jewelry, bags, scarves and home décor through fair trade partnerships.
When you purchase through these links, Compassionate Entrepreneur (and my new friend) Erin Woods will be contributing to sponsoring a mother-to-be with a kit of sterile supplies for a safer birthing experience.
This company offers so many gorgeous items, but I can personally vouch for the huge and glorious Vintage Rose Scarf, which is a gorgeous shimmery dusty rose color and steeply discounted for Black Friday weekend at $12.80 (reg. $32). And the Strong Women Tee is such a wonderfully-made, high-quality t-shirt that it immediately became one of my very favorites.
Extra note: You can host an online party to help further this effort. Feel free to email Erin Woods for more information.
Based in Madison, WI, Fair Indigo believes it's possible to create timeless, high-quality clothes while paying the good people who make them a fair and living wage.
They offer beautiful tees, sweaters and more for women, men and babies, accessories, gifts, holiday ornaments and more.
I'm particularly enamored by their recycled socks from Solmates. I own several pairs and love all of them. They're cozy, warm and environmentally friendly.
Cyber Monday: 15% off everything!
Based in British Columbia, Canada, The Kindred Clothing Company is a family-owned company with a high standard of ethics. They make lovely clothing for babies and children, and even adults. They source their materials from responsible suppliers and price their items fairly so that ethical fashion is more accessible to more people.
I love this "Take A Hike" crew sweatshirt for the little ones, but they have so many lovely items. I highly recommend checking out their website. Note: I believe these items are priced in Canadian dollars, and so may be less expensive than they appear.
Black Friday deal: 20% off everything this weekend with code BLACK2018.
Cyber Monday: Buy one child/youth item, and get the matching adult version at 50% off on select items.
Another sustainable clothing company, Alternative Apparel ensures fair, safe & clean workplace conditions on a global scale, because they agree that clothes shouldn't come at the expense of our planet or people.
Their Men's, Women's and Children's fashion "essentials" are stylish and well-made.
I've had my eye on the Champ Eco-Teddy Sweatshirt, and with their Black Friday discount, I may finally pick one up.
Black Friday deal: 30% off site wide with code THANKS30.
Cyber Monday: 40% off everything!
Prakazita by artisan Zita Feher makes gorgeous handmade malas and bracelets for your meditation practice and yoga lifestyle. Custom orders are also available. I've seen and touched so many of her gorgeous designs, and can vouch for the quality and beauty of these pieces.
Cyber Monday: 25% off all malas, Monday 6-10PM Pacific Time, with code CYBER25.
A small family-run business based in Utah, Salt City Gems makes some truly lovely jewelry from natural gemstones with skilled wire wrapping. Custom orders are also available.
Cyber Monday: 20% off your entire order!
The Mindful Company is based in Singapore, which of course, is a far distance to ship an item. But the company maintains ethical practices and their jewelry is truly lovely, so I thought they were worth a mention.
Note: The prices are listed in Singapore dollars by default, but you can change it to USD using the menu at the top of the website.
A family-owned business based in Brooklyn, NY, Lo and Sons makes high-quality bags for frequent travelers, well designed with convenient pockets and great functionality.
Their Catalina Deluxe bag is at the very top of my wish list this year, because I think it will make an amazing weekender and large "personal item" carry-on for our travel ambitions, especially with its separate compartment for shoes on the bottom, and the sleeve on the outside that can be used to slide it onto a suitcase handle.
Also, any time I find a great bag that doesn't use any leather, I feel like it's a small victory.
Black Friday deal: Up to 50% off select items (30% off the bag mentioned above) and 60-day extended returns.
Built on the vision that women and girls should be able to grow up feeling safe, respected, and valued no matter their geography, Fair Anita exists to create opportunities for women and girls, selling trendy, affordable fair-trade products made by over 8,000 talented yet marginalized women in 9 countries.
Pictured below: Oblong Leaf Earrings ($14); Julieta Chalcedony Ring ($24); Layered Loop Necklace ($22)
Black Friday deal: Buy two, get one free on all eligible online retail orders.
Based in Turkey, Lüks Linens sources its beautiful, high-quality items ethically from family-run ateliers who use locally grown cotton spun, dyed and woven in the area in which it was cultivated, while supporting a centuries-old hand loom craft.
Note: When buying from the US, you can immediately save 20% with the VAT exemption, so be sure to click that button on the pop-up window to view those discounted prices.
A pashtemal is a traditional Turkish towel that was often given as a wedding gift and used in Turkish hammam bath houses. Today they are popular used indoors or out as beach or bath towels, as well as scarves, throws, wraps or even as a knotted bag.
Don't miss their breathtaking (but admittedly expensive) limited-edition throws and blankets, and lovely table linens, too.
I can't advise strongly enough: Please rid your home of synthetic fragrances. I know candles are nice, especially around the holidays, but there are much less toxic ways to give your home a beautiful scent, and high-quality essential oils are the way to go.
They may even bestow therapeutic properties, and the addition of aromatherapy to your home can be truly life-enhancing.
I buy my essential oils from Young Living because I trust the quality implicitly (they've earned it), and they have so many lovely oil blends that I diffuse while practicing yoga, working and sleeping.
Black Friday deal: Many of my favorites (50 in all) are on sale at 20% off, plus all diffusers.
Buying a Starter Kit will get you a high-quality ultrasonic diffuser and a set of much-loved essential oils to get you on your way to incorporating these little bottles of magic into your life. And you'll have lifetime access to wholesale pricing.
A small woman-owned business, Kite Flying Company sells these custom flour sack dish towels with your treasured family recipe printed on them.
These would make incredible gifts, starting at $20 apiece, with bulk discounts available.
She also sells fabric and other unique gifts on her Etsy store.
Waxed Food Wraps are becoming more popular as an environmentally friendly way to store food (no plastic), but most are made with beeswax, which of course isn't vegan.
So I was really psyched to discover these from Earthology, which help us protect the environment from unnecessary single-use plastic, without stealing wax from the bees, who need it for their own purposes.
The Vegan Food Wrap Variety Pack (pictured below) is $35, but I believe this is Canadian dollars, so that's actually a little bit less in USD.
Another high-quality therapeutic-grade essential oil company that I really respect, DōTERRA, has diffusers I like because the style features a Zen vibe (my fave) in addition to being effective and reliable.
Through the end of the month, anyone who enrolls with my friend Chi as their essential oil guide, will receive 50 product points with their qualifying purchase (larger purchases come with even more credit, ask her for details). She'll take excellent care of you.
You can schedule a time to talk with her about it here (or email her if you can't make the available times). Don't be shy -- Chi is lovely and can help you get exactly the right oils for you, with zero pressure. Honestly, I wouldn't want to invest in oils without talking to an experienced guide, so this is a huge perk!
And please let her know Green Sage sent you.
Also, definitely ask about their Peppermint Beadlets, which refresh the breath and settle an upset tummy. And the set of Emotional Aromatherapy oils is high on my wish list!
Many of us are already taking our own bags to the supermarket for checkout... But what do you use for fruits and veggies?
By taking one step further in eliminating single-use plastics, you can use these bags from Eartheasy for your fresh produce and some bulk bin items, as well.
Cyber Monday: Up to 50% off sale items for green living.
There are lots of reusable beverage containers out there on the market. None (let me repeat for emphasis -- none) of them compare to HydroFlask, in my opinion, when it comes to keeping your drink cold or hot.
Sitting on the beach, my HydroFlask will be literally warm to the touch, and yet still dispense icy cold water.
Black Friday deal: 25% off all orders and free shipping over $60.
I like the 32 oz bottle (1 quart). Go for the wide mouth for easier cleaning.
Also on my wish list, the 12 oz coffee mug so I can sip my hot tea for longer.
Tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink, because in addition to drinking the water, (which all of us can use more of, right?) you're also getting the antioxidant benefit of the tea leaves.
Rishi Tea is a fair-trade, certified organic company that sources the highest quality teas based on personal, direct relationships with ecologically sustainable tea growers around the world.
Black Friday deal: 20% off everything, plus free shipping, with code THANKS20, through Cyber Monday.
This one is fascinating to me, and it's near the top of my list of things to try, which is why I'm sharing it here, although I haven't tried it yet myself.
Ceremonial grade cacao. I've heard of this quality indicator ("ceremonial grade") for tea, but never for chocolate before, although it seems entirely plausible (and fun!) to me that there could be a whole ceremony surrounding its consumption.
This company, Cacao Love, is based in the UK, and sources their certified organic cacao from an organic farmer’s co-operative in the Peruvian Andes.
Part of the profits of the co-op are reinvested in village education and permaculture projects, and 25% of profits are invested in sustainable rainforest initiatives in the Equatorial rainforest.
Indian gooseberries, also known as Amla, is one of the world's most impressive superfoods. In addition to having an astronomically high antioxidant content, it's also been scientifically proven to help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol, in some cases as well as statin drugs.
The drawback is that traditionally it doesn't taste very good. But one company, Amla Green, has balanced the flavor profile with green tea, making it absolutely pleasant to drink.
My husband and I drink this every morning. I can't recommend it highly enough. The small container is one month's servings for one, and makes a nice stocking stuffer. You can also buy it as a larger 90-day supply. Decaf also available.
I discovered this amazing journal with a magnetic binding and removable pages on the website Uncommon Goods, and I just had to share it with you. You can even buy page refills, making this an even more environmentally-friendly gift.
Uncommon Goods offers remarkable designs by independent makers, with the goal of having a positive impact on both people and our planet. It's super fun to browse their site, so check it out -- maybe you'll find even more great gift ideas.
A worthwhile investment in yourself and in the communities this organization supports.
I have a hunch this will become the hottest new trend, following in the footsteps of the "adult coloring book," for a calming, creative activity, before too long.
This instructional book from Hand Lettered Design will teach you modern calligraphy lettering while giving you a message of gratitude to focus on.
It'll make a fun gift with the recommended brush pens.
And that concludes my 2018 Meaningful Gift Guide. I hope you've found it helpful and inspiring.