It’s the most wonderful time of the year again: the holiday shopping season! While the holidays might look a bit different this year (thanks, COVID), we’re still excited to celebrate with our loved ones, even if it’s over Zoom. Thankfully, a virtual holiday doesn’t mean you can’t give a thoughtful, sustainable gift to everyone on your list.
Seven Tips for a Sustainable Holiday Shopping Season
With the pandemic affecting everything from how many people can enter a physical store to shipping times, you’ll want to start preparing now for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Here are seven ways to have a sustainable holiday shopping season.
1. Shop early
Holiday shipping cutoffs are usually about two weeks before Christmas. With COVID affecting shipping times and a greater demand for online rather than in-person purchases, you need to shop earlier than ever.
2. Shop local
Supporting a local business is not only great for your community, but it will also save you the hassle of shipping costs and delays. Brick-and-mortar stores bring in unique items that you might not find anywhere else, so be sure to check if they have something that matches your list.
Local retail stores in your area might run specials for Small Business Saturday on November 28th—right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you’re uncomfortable shopping in-store, see if they have a website where you can reserve an item for curbside pick up or even home delivery.
3. Plan out your purchases
It’s easy to overbuy or spend impulsively when thousands of deals land in your inbox from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Make a list in advance of all of the gifts you need to buy, and set a budget for each item you are comfortable with. Stick to your list and budget so you don’t get sidetracked by things that you don’t need (or that your loved ones will end up returning!).
4. Research your options
In every retail sector—including sustainable goods—there are hundreds of options for each item. Take a few minutes to research the items on your list to find the one that best matches your values.
You can check out our gift guide to kick-off your research. All of our partner brands are hand-selected, tested, and vetted to match our high standards. We only recommend companies that use sustainable materials whenever possible, pay their workers fairly, and commit to making the world a better place for us all.
5. Use Black Friday & Cyber Monday to stock up on essentials
Whether you need a new, eco-friendly washing machine or want to restock your pantry, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer just for gifts. Consider adding the household items you need to your list, too.
6. Make a wishlist for your friends & family
We all want to buy gifts that our family and friends will cherish. It can be hard to do that when we don’t know what they want! We love a good wishlist because it helps us buy something our friend or family member will enjoy and avoids returns or regifts.
And don’t forget that you can split spendier gifts between family members or a group of friends! You might not be able to snag the cute vegan boots on your sister’s list, but splitting the bill with another sibling can make it easier.
7. Find your community
Be sure to ask for help from your loved ones as you prepare for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Shop together if you can so that someone holds you accountable when you add an extra item to your cart “just because.” Or just ask them to keep their eyes peeled for deals on the items you’ve planned for!
For more creative ideas from the Brightly community, check out the holiday tips database curated by our Brightly Scouts!
Brands to Add to Your Sustainable Holiday Shopping List
ABLE makes the most stylish apparel and shoes that you can feel good about! Each piece employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty. And we love their transparency when it comes to wages—they were the first fashion brand to publish them, empowering fashion workers to demand a living wage.
It’s no surprise that last year ABLE’s Mamuye Classic Tote is one of the most popular products on our gift guide! Handcrafted in both Ethiopia and Mexico, It’s a beautiful, high-quality, every-day bag. We also love their denim products, blouses, and check their jewelry section for cute stocking stuffers.
Use the code BRIGHTLY for 20% off.
2. ONEHOPE Wines
Liza has been a fan of ONEHOPE’s sustainable wines for more than five years now and has even visited their winery in Napa. The wines are of excellent quality, and each bottle gives back to a worthy cause.
3. Sheets & Giggles
Sheets & Giggles is our go-to brand for the most comfortable and sustainable sheets on the market. We can’t recommend them enough! Their eucalyptus sheets are luxuriously soft, cooling, and cozy all at the same time.
They’re the perfect gift for a homebody who is into wellness or who just moved into a new place. Once you sleep on these sheets, you’ll never go back. Pinky swear!
Use the code BRIGHTLYECO for 15% off.
4. Diaspora Co.
Diaspora Co.’s spice kits are a beautiful and thoughtful gift option for the foodie on your list. They ethically-source and organically-farmed their spices from India and get raving reviews from home cooks!
5. Toad & Co.
For cozy, sustainable, outdoorsy clothing, Toad & Co is the company to try. They are committed to using eco-friendly materials like Tencel, hemp, and organic cotton, and all of their shipping materials are recyclable or reusable.
Nisolo makes the most gorgeous and ethical shoes, hands down. They hit the perfect mix of style, comfort, function, and sustainability. Nisolo offsets 100% of its carbon emissions and pays living wages to their makers.
Nisolo’s shoes stand the test of time—Liza has worn her Nisolo mules and summer sandals for 3+ years, and they are good as new.
Use code BRIGHTLY for 20% off all styles! Excludes Ethical Marketplace items, masks, and cleaning supplies. Expires January 2, 2020.
7. Cuddle + Kind
Cuddle + Kind’s dolls are heirloom-quality toys for babies and young children. They donate ten meals to hungry children around the globe with each purchase. And we dare you to check out their Instagram feed—you won’t be able to stop scrolling because of the cuteness overload!
Resources We Mentioned
- How Brightly chooses brand partnerships
- Good Together episode about how your online shopping impacts the world
- Good Together episode about how to survive Black Friday & Cyber Monday responsibly
- Laura’s guest episode on Gee Thanks, Just Bought It
- ABLE (Use code BRIGHTLY for 20% off)
- ONEHOPE Wines
- Sheets & Giggles (Use code BRIGHTLYECO for 15% off)
- Diaspora Co.
- Toad & Co.
- Nisolo (Use code BRIGHTLY for 20% off through Jan. 2, 2021)
- Cuddle + Kind
- Brightly’s 2020 Sustainable Holiday Shopping Guide
- Holiday Tips from Brightly’s Scout Community