10 sustainable holiday gift tips to spread joy and eco-consciousness

Photo: Kimberley Alpine Resort

Want to give better gifts this holiday season that are also better for the planet? A simple rule of thumb is to buy less and buy local — even though it is considered a time of giving, it doesn’t have to mean contributing to environmental harm. This season, consider sustainable gift options that not only bring joy to your loved ones but also contribute positively to the planet. 

Here are ten thoughtful, local, and eco-friendly gift ideas that align with sustainability:

1. Ethically Produced Products
Ethically produced products are not just good for those receiving them, but good for the environment. Products that are vegan, paraben-free, cruelty-free, fair-trade, locally sourced, and consciously made and packaged will go great in your friends’ or families’ stockings this year. Nutters in Cranbrook and Sprout in Kimberley carry ethical brands from companies that do not cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment. 

2. Your Favourite Consumables
The holidays can be hectic and sometimes the simplest gift of all goes a long way. Share some of your favourite local coffee beans, honey, meat, or other snacks! This is not only thoughtful but also customizable! Create a basket to suit the recipient’s preferences while supporting local farmers and small businesses. If you need a place to start Kootenay Roasting Company, Kickturn Coffee, Morchella Market, Meat Matters, and Crème are some local favourites.

3. Sustainable Fashion
Consider gifting clothing items made from organic cotton, hemp, or recycled materials. Ethically produced clothing brands or gift cards to eco-conscious clothing stores promote sustainable practices and mindful consumerism. Be sure to check out the “Be the Good Project” at Arrow and Axe in Kimberley to see how their profits give back.

4. Zero-Waste Kits
With all the greenwashing nowadays, it can be a little overwhelming to get started on your eco-journey. Help friends and family reduce their environmental footprint with zero-waste starter kits. These kits can include stainless steel straws, bamboo utensils, reusable shopping bags, and beeswax wraps to encourage a plastic-free lifestyle. Fulfill in Kimberley and Tare Necessities in Cranbrook have everything you need to create the perfect starter kit. You could even check out Travelling Top-ups Mobile Refillery, they bring your purchases right to your door!

5. Plants or Seeds
It’s never too early to start thinking about garden plans for next year! Gift the joy of gardening with wildflower seed packs, garden accessories, or indoor plants! Not only do plants add beauty to spaces, but they also improve air quality and promote a sense of well-being — and gardening is just so rewarding! Just be sure when buying wildflower seed packs to avoid invasives, you can check out the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council for more information or to buy their blend! The gift of native species is a gift to local biodiversity.

Photo Credit: Kim Urbaniak

6. Gift an Experience
Gifts don’t always have to take form as physical things — instead of material gifts, offer experiences like cooking classes, spa treatments, or art classes. These experiences create lasting memories and can be more personal and meaningful without contributing to material waste. Cranbrook Arts and Centre 64 in Kimberly offer adult and youth classes and workshops and College of the Rockies also offers seasonal courses! And of course, don’t forget about Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook’s Forest and Nature School programs for the young nature enthusiasts in your life.

7. Upcycled or Pre-Loved Products
Buying pre-loved or upcycled items instead of new gifts from a big box store gives beautiful things a second life and means more to the community. Explore unique gifts crafted from upcycled or recycled materials, such as jewelry made from repurposed metals or glass, or home décor items created from reclaimed wood. Shops like Chupacabra Collective in Kimberley have cool upcycled gifts worth checking out — or be sure to check out the local craft markets. Local thrift and antique shops also provide an opportunity to give some pre-loved items a new home. These gifts are creative and reduce waste! 

8. Books
The gift of knowledge and reading is one of the best gifts of all. Support a local bookstore instead of Amazon! Pages Book Emporium and Friends Used Book Store are great places to start. Keep an eye out for books with titles that inspire sustainability, mindfulness, or eco-friendly practices to encourage an eco-conscious lifestyle. Some of our favourite reads are Braiding Sweetgrass, The Hidden Life of Trees, and Migrations

9. Make Your Own
Now what is better than a homemade treat? Treats like cookies, preserves, or canned goods are gifts that come from the heart. These thoughtful gifts not only reduce packaging waste but also show your care through personalized creations. And if you are not a wiz in the kitchen, then check out Grow or Snickadoodle Summit Bakery for some sweet treats or Stoke Market for some jams, jellies, and other canned goods!

10. Donations to Environmental Causes
The act of giving is the best gift of all. Consider making a donation in someone’s name to a charity or organization dedicated to environmental conservation (like Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook). This gift not only supports a worthy cause but also spreads awareness and contributes to a better community.

As we celebrate the holiday season, let’s prioritize sustainability in our gift-giving practices by reflecting on the lifespan of what you are buying. Can it be recycled or upcycled at the end of its life or will it just end up in a landfill? Choosing eco-friendly gifts not only demonstrates thoughtfulness but also helps preserve the planet for future generations. Embrace the spirit of giving by making choices that align with both joy and sustainability.

Feel we are missing an important local option? Contact Ali at kimcranfundraise@wildsight.ca to let us know.

Cranbrook Options
College of the Rockies
Cranbrook Arts  
Kootenay Roasting Company
Morchella Market
Pages Book Emporium 
Snickadoodle Summit Bakery
Sweet Gestures
Tare Necessities