The holiday season is a time to get together with friends and family, eat food, drink eggnog, and share gifts. Unfortunately, we tend to accumulate a lot of waste during this season too — just think about all of the wrapping paper, packaging, candy wrappers, one-time-use decorations, and other disposable items we purchase every year.
Stockings were always one of my favorite holiday traditions (they were the one thing we were allowed to dig into before our parents woke up!), but they contribute to a lot of waste as well. Most of the time they are stuffed full of cheap single-use toys and candy with plastic wrappers.
This year, consider switching things up by putting some more sustainable stocking stuffers inside!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
How To Find Sustainable Stocking Stuffers
Gifts, by their very nature, are something we don’t necessarily need. So instead of grabbing the first thing you see in a store or on Amazon, stop for a moment to consider if the person would really get a lot of use out of it.
If you don’t think they will, there are lots of things that you can use around your house (or ask your friends and family for) that don’t need to come in a box or bag. You can make some eco-friendly DIY gifts (like non-toxic candles), or if they would be open to it, you might want to think outside of your comfort zone and get them something secondhand, so you can cut down on unnecessary production.
If those things aren’t your cup of tea, you can purchase more thoughtful, environmentally-friendly stocking stuffers at a variety of places, including on Amazon. You just have to know what you’re looking for!
16 Sustainable Stocking Stuffers for Teens & Adults
We’re starting this list off with some ideas for teens and adults. We will also be adding categories for kids and babies down below.
For the nature lover with the green thumb, getting a few packets of seeds is a great stocking stuffer idea. Seeds are an environmentally-friendly gift that continues to give throughout the year. We love this package of 80,000 seeds because you can buy them in bulk for multiple stockings. They make great teacher gifts too! Just grab a small pack of organic cotton bags, and break the seeds into smaller quantities.
A reusable water bottle
Reusable water bottles are hugely important to reduce plastic waste, and they come in all sorts of stylish designs these days. We recommend buying a glass or stainless steel water bottle for anyone who may not already have one. The Soma water bottle, shown in the picture above, comes in a few different colors and it’s just thin enough to fit nicely inside of a stocking. Soma is also a certified B-Corp and supports Charity: Water with every purchase.
If the person you’re buying for loves their morning joe, make sure they never have to use a disposable cup again by getting them something like this. This little collapsible cup is great for traveling because it fits easily in a bag or pocket, and it’ll save them from using a disposable cup when they’re out and about.
Sustainable Beauty Products
There are lots of great options for eco-friendly beauty products these days, including and most will ship without excess packaging. We’re a big fan of 100% Pure for beauty and makeup products (their “Bright Eyes” mask is pictured above) because their products are both sustainable and non-toxic. Plus, the vast majority of their products are small enough to slip a few into a stocking.
Beauty products are always a favorite in my stocking, and bath bombs seem to be a go-to option. They’re fun to use and make for a nice, relaxing bath, but some bath bombs can be quite harmful to your body and to the environment. Our top pick is this bath bomb set from Beauty by Earth, but we have a whole list of non-toxic bath bombs that you can check out here.
Coffee, tea, or both
This can be a nice gift if you know what some of their favorite flavors are. We like to make it easy on the people we buy for and get them an organic fair trade sampler pack, like this coffee sampler from Grounds & Hounds, or this organic tea sampler from Tea Forte. In case you’re not big into caffeine, here are our favorite organic tea brands, and this post has some of our favorite coffee brands. (We also have a post about how to buy a non-toxic tea kettle if you want to revolve a few gifts around tea!)
A Reusable Straw
Straws are a major contributor to ocean plastic pollution, so why not get them something they will use for years and cut out the extra waste when they’re out? We love this straw from Ello because it collapses into a small case that you can slip into your purse or pocket and take anywhere.
Even if you’re looking for a sustainable stocking stuffer for someone who is extra hard to shop for, we feel like these can be a part of everyone’s winter wardrobe. Not only do they look and feel great, but you’ll also be helping the planet with each purchase. They’re made with GOTS-certified organic cotton, the company is certified fair trade, and every sock supports your chosen environmental charity. Choose socks that plant trees, protect the planet, or save animals. Other charities are available too – you can check out the full list here.
Linjer’s collection of modern gold jewelry is so pretty and so versatile that you have to check out their website, even if it’s just to drool a bit (or make your own holiday wish list!). All of their 14K gold jewelry is made from recycled gold, their sterling silver is made from recycled silver, and their packaging is sustainable too. The company also offsets their carbon emissions! There are a variety of options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a gorgeous ring, a simple necklace, or a classic watch. The price tag is very budget-friendly as well. No matter what you choose, you know it will be eco-friendly, well-made, and stylish to boot! Make sure to check out their website for the entire collection.
Since we’re on the subject of jewelry, you’ll definitely want to check out Nisolo as well. Nisolo’s brass jewelry is handmade in Kenya from upcycled brass, and it’s great for people who love big, chunky jewelry and statement pieces. We love Nisolo’s commitment to ethical manufacturing as well — they provide a living wage for all of their workers, and they’ve offset all of their carbon emissions too, making the brand completely carbon-neutral.
Henry Rose is one of our favorite fragrance brands, and they offer sample sets that are perfect for stocking stuffers. The brand is very open about all of the ingredients that they use, so you can rest assured knowing that your loved one won’t be putting any harmful chemicals on their body (or into the environment) when they spritz it on their wrists.
These hair ties are perfect for holding your hair back, and they’re so much better for the environment than regular hair ties because they’re made with organic cotton and natural rubber (for stretch); plus they’re completely plastic-free and biodegradable.
Ethique is a vegan beauty line that’s both non-toxic and sustainably made. Their products are compact by design, so they take up less space and are more efficient to store and ship (which means they have a lower carbon footprint than many other brands). The packaging is plastic-free, and this sample set is perfect for anyone’s stocking.
Wax melts are becoming a more popular alternative to scented candles, and since they’re so small and compact, they make a great stocking stuffer! We love the wax melts from Alma Naturals, which are free of harmful chemicals and VOCs. Plus you can get 10% off your purchase at Alma Naturals with the code Nesting10.
This book is great for the environmentally conscious traveler in your life. It’s full of really helpful ideas and information about ways to travel more consciously and eco-friendly. Gift them an Audible or Kindle Unlimited subscription to reduce your impact even more!
Right now you can gift 4 months of Kindle Unlimited for $4.99! (And leave a lot more room for other goodies in that stocking!)
Plastic phone cases contribute to a lot of waste in landfills, especially when we swap them out for new designs on a regular basis or upgrade our phones every couple of years. But these phone cases from pela will break down in your backyard compost in as little as six months!
Sustainable Stocking Stuffers For Kids
These sustainable stocking stuffers are better for the environment, and they’ll still excite your kids when they wake up on Christmas morning.
Eco-Kids Art Supplies
Stickers, coloring books, crayons, and other basic art supplies are great for keeping little ones entertained during the cold winter months. If you get their art supplies from Eco-Kids, however, you can trust that the materials are completely safe for your kids and for the environment too. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can also check out our favorite non-toxic crayons, non-toxic paint, and non-toxic markers.
We love this stacking toy for young kids and toddlers because they’re super durable and made from recycled milk jugs. They’re also dishwasher safe, so you won’t need to spend time scrubbing them clean if they take them to the sandbox. The package probably won’t fit in their stocking as it is, but if you take the cups out, they’ll likely fit on their own.
We love these eco-friendly and sustainable building blocks. They’re great for older kids who can really appreciate the craftsmanship and simplicity of the design, and they’re fun to use on their own or with other children’s toys.
Membership to a Local Zoo, Botanical Garden, or Children’s Museum
If you live in an area where there are these kinds of attractions, getting a membership to one is a wonderful way to provide your children with fun educational experiences. You’ll love knowing that they’re learning about plants and animals while supporting the local economy.
These stuffed animals are handmade by artisans in Mexico from 100% wool. They’re really soft, really cute, and they’re made with leftover textile materials instead of new materials, so you can feel really good about buying them.
Affirmation Cards for Kids
Affirmations are a great way to help children develop their self-confidence, and they’re a great way to start the morning. These are designed to foster positivity, and they’re based on positive psychology. You can make your own, but we really like this set we found on Etsy.
Ethical Stocking Fillers For Babies
This is a great gift for babies and toddlers, and your purchase will help kids around the world who are struggling with hunger. For every doll purchased, Cuddle & Kind is able to donate 10 school meals through WE Charity. These dolls are hand-knit with natural materials in Peru and Nepal, and the incredible artisans are all paid a fair and sustainable income for their work.
There’s something for everyone in this line of toys. They’re a great way to introduce your kids to the joys of playing with wood toys, and they’re safe enough to use as a teether. The sweet little set of keys shown above is made of natural wood from rubber trees.
This set of nesting dolls is a great way to teach babies and kids about patterns. They also help them develop hand-eye coordination as they practice fitting the dolls inside each other. These are hand-painted and hand-carved, and they ship completely free of plastic!
This is an excellent baby rattle, and it’s made from organic cotton. The colors are bright and entertaining, and the yarn is perfectly safe for your baby to sink their gums into when they’re teething.
We’ve talked a lot about Hevea products in the past (they also make one of our favorite eco-friendly bath mats). And this little rubber duck is a favorite around here as well. It’s made from organic, biodegradable rubber and it’s the perfect texture for your baby to use as a teether or as a floating bath toy.
These socks are really adorable, and they’re made in the USA with recycled yarn. We appreciate that this set actually includes five socks, so you’ll be prepared if one of them gets lost in the wash. Solmate is a zero-waste company, and all of their packing materials are also recycled and recyclable.
The holidays are a time for giving, and you don’t have to compromise quality for sustainability this year. Hopefully this list of sustainable stocking stuffers has given you some ideas!