Your 2017 guide to ethical gifts this this holiday season


This holiday season, I’ve been very much avoiding the harried, stressful shopping experience that has become so normal: thousands of marketing emails flooding our inboxes, FOMO for weeks-long sales, and missing out on precious family-time because we’re shopping for them instead. And, not to mention the financial hangover we feel when checking out bank account after the craziness is over.

But, let’s be real – at some point before the year is over, we’re going to purchase gifts for those we care about. So, whether you’re treating yo’self, or your mom, or that random work buddies Secret Santa exchange let’s be conscious about the gifts we’re giving.

I’ve put together a guide for your 2017 holiday shopping experience – complete with my favorite fair-trade, ethical & give-back gifts that will make you and your people feel good this holiday season. And, not to mention you’ll actually do some Good for the World, too.


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  1.  Ombre Hand-dyed Scarf l Callina Style l $$
    • Callina Style is a California-based, internationally-created sustainable fashion brand. Their ombre hand-dyed scarves are made from alpaca fur and silk, without any harmful chemicals used in the process. This beautiful, uniquely crafted piece is made by artisans in the Peruvian countryside, and each purchase supports The Mirsaol Project – a boarding school for children of alpaca shepherds to ensure they receive high-level education.
    • Shop Online l $155
  2.  Turquoise + Diamond Ring l Alexis Russel l $$$
    • Alexis Russel is a NY-based female jewelry designer + creator. All of her work is handcrafted in NY, and uses conflict-free diamonds + stones. This turquoise + diamond ring is one of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry I’ve seen in a long time. Oh, and the “sleeping beauty” natural turquoise is one of the oldest stones in history, and is said to have mythical powers.
    • Shop Online l $248 – $318
  3. Personalized Haircare l Function of Beauty l $
    • Function of Beauty is a personalized shampoo + conditioner company – meaning that each creation fits your hair type, needs and preferences made by MIT-educated chemists (srsly). And, did I mentioned that all of their products are Sulfate-free, Paraben-free, Cruelty-free, and sans toxins?! Sign me up!
    • Shop Online l $30 – $46
  4. The Cashmere Crew l Everlane l $$
    • Everlane is one of my favorite fashion brands – period. Their simple style, commitment to Radical Transparency, and ability to source ethically + sustainably makes them all around awesome. And, their prices aren’t insane – like their Cashmere Crew tops for only $100. Maybe this one is for you and someone you care about?!
    • Shop Online l $100
  5. Classic FEED 1 Bag l FEED l $$
    • My FEED bag has been with me through thick + thin — crowded subways, overwhelming farmers markets, and even spilled coffee (inside my bag, too). FEED is a sustainable company created by Lauren Bush Lauren that helps fight hunger in a tangible way. For each purchase, a certain number of meals will be provided to those in developing countries. Because, hunger is sadly still a major issue for a large part of our world, 795 million people every day to be exact. Products range from FEED bags to wallets for all your holiday gift needs!
    • Shop Online l $80


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  1.  Fleece Pullover l Patagonia l $$
    • There isn’t a guy I’ve met who doesn’t like Patagonia’s soft, comfortable Fleece Pullovers. No matter if your S.O./brother/dad already has a Patagonia-decked out wardrobe or not, their Fleece Pullovers always have unique but classic designs. These products are made with fair-trade certified sewing, recycled polyester, and bluesign approved fabric. Oh, and made by one of the most forward-thinking companies of all time.
    • Shop Online l $119
  2.  Hand-blown Beer Glasses l UNICEF l $$
    • Who would have thought that beer could help the world? These handblown beer glasses are sourced through UNICEF from artisans around the world. These beer glasses were made by two Mexican artists, and part of this purchase will provide 38 malnourished children with life-supporting nutrients.
    • Shop Online l $70
  3.  Shave Kit l Damn Handsome l $
    • Damn Handsome is a men’s grooming company that started over…some beers. Husband + wife pair realized that many natural, good ingredients at breweries that were getting discarded. So, they started creating soaps and other men’s grooming products out of hops, plant oils, and Brewer’s yeast (yes, literally). If cleaning your face with sustainable beer leftovers wasn’t enough, Damn Handsome donates products to kids in need, because lack of soap leads to lots more illnesses than you may think.
    • Shop Online l $32
  4.   Canvas Duffel Bag l STATE Bags l $$
    • This sleek, spacious duffel is perfect for your dudes work-gym-sleep routine (or maybe even a weekend trip). Let alone that STATE Bags use sustainable materials, they also donate a bag filled with tools for success to American kids in need. #Givebackpack
    • Shop Online l $155
  5.   Socks That Give Back l Collection Socks l $
    • Make socks as stocking stuffers cool again. Conscious Socks are using a regular product, like socks, to make a difference. And, you know guys love their socks (ha). Select a cause you care about – from environment, to HIV and stock up on cool, organic cotton socks.
    • Shop Online l $15



  1. Notecard Set l Raven + Lilly l $
    • These notecards made from organic cotton + recycled materials are not just beautiful – but also handmade. Each set is unique, and created by women in rural India who often don’t receive education or other opportunities, so this work is their lifeline to a better life.
    • Shop Online l $16
  2. Cacti Marble Planter l The Citizenry l $$
    • This minimalist, handcrafted planter is made from beginning to end by a fair-trade artisans in Mexico. The Citizenry is one of my favorite social impact companies out there – and you can bet that any product you purchase from this unique and high quality. They partner with artisans around the world to sell home goods with a soul.
    • Shop Online l $95
  3.  Holiday Candle l Starling Project l $
    • Starling Project is a candle company that was started with the sole purpose of providing light for light. It’s founder was on the board of UNICEF, and saw the struggle that many people in developing countries have because they don’t have light (literally). So, Starling creates hand-poured, sustainably sourced candles along with providing solar power to people in countries such as Rwanda and Vietnam.
    • Shop Online l $55
  4. Green Pillows l Avocado Green l $$
    • Who knew that our mattresses + pillows had toxic chemicals in them? Avocado Green is a game-changer in the non-toxic sleeping industry, because they’re affordable and sustainable (and you thought you couldn’t do it all?!). Avocado Green products use natural latex rubber and organic cotton. Surprise your S.O. with brand new pillows that are comfy, safe, and give 1% of all sales to make the planet a better place.
    • Shop Online l $79
  5. Coffee-table Book l Kinfolk l $
    • Kinfolk may be a classic, Brooklyn-hipster magazines but they’re still one of my favorites. Beautifully-designed and delving deep into Big Picture topics, this slow lifestyle magazine is the perfect coffee-table book for thought-provoking conversations.
    • Shop Online l $18

Do you have any other fair-trade, ethical, or give-back gifts that you’d like to see featured here? Share them below!

Katina Mountanos