Stuff a Stocking Right This Holiday

11 lean, green, and tiny-but-mighty presents

By Katie O'Reilly

December 9, 2019


Photo by Litvalifa/iStock

Just because stocking stuffers are little doesn’t mean they can’t be perfect gifts. These 11 Earth-friendly goodies can perform double duty as white elephant and Secret Santa gifts that recipients might actually use. Because that old maxim still stands—the best things often come in small packages.

Ideal for the giftee who’d like to spend every day sitting around a campfire, this six-pack of incense ($60) from Juniper Ridge is fully plant-based and free from petrochemicals, charcoal, and synthetic fragrance. Each incense stick showcases the unique beauty of a particular plant. So go on and send a loved one on an olfactory journey through the mountains, deserts, coast, and forests of the West.

Put plastic pollution to work keeping pals' pants up with help from Jelt Belts. Made for both men and women, they come from recycled water bottles in a range of colors and styles ($24 to $35). Plus, the company’s a female-owned B Corp and 1% for the Planet member. Since 1993, the knitters behind Baabaazuzu have been upcycling vintage wool sweaters into accessories including these cozy fingerless gloves ($52 for women, $59 for men). Considering no two Baabaazuzu pieces are ever alike, they'll make for a truly unique gift.

Hand-beaded ornaments from BeadWORKS Kenya are crafted in the images of beautiful elephants, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, pangolins, and lions ($8 each or $35 for a set of five). Plus, the company has created more than 1,200 jobs for women in northern Kenya.

From Nikola TEAsla to FredTEA Mercury, and from Agatha ChrisTEA to Ruth Bader Ginseng, all TeaBook products ($8 for 20 teabags) highlight positive and inspiring real-life characters. Plus, it’s a zero-waste company that packages its delicious, organic wares in boxes made from 100 percent post-consumer PET. Cheers!

Don’t you just wish you could plant items when you’re done with them and turn them into trees? Good news—you can do exactly that with 100 percent biodegradable Sprout Pencils ($16 for a box of eight). Your magical gift will sprout within one to four weeks.

It’s all too easy to lose a hair tie during an outdoor adventure and unwittingly contribute to the plastic pollution epidemic. Enter KOOSHOO’s organic hair ties ($15 for a set of five). Made from certified organic cotton and natural rubber, they’re 100 percent biodegradable—meaning that if your loved one loses one, she can console herself with the knowledge it’ll actually break down.

What could possibly be better than super-soft merino wool skivvies? Ones with fun, mountain-inspired designs, of course. Smartwool’s durable Merino 150 Print Boxer Briefs ($48) are made for trail adventures but are bound to keep dudes comfy throughout all manner of urban exploration and lounging endeavors too.

Thanks in large part to the Responsible Down Standard—a voluntary program for suppliers of the duck and geese feathers that make our winter jackets so lightweight, compressible, and warm—it’s become easier in recent years to ensure no animal abuse went into our cold-weather comfort. Help giftees keep their down goods long-lasting and spiffy-looking with the world’s only palm-oil-free Down Wash ($10 for 400 ml), new from Allied Feather & Down.

Skin-care products always make for super stocking surprises. Phenic Natural Skincare crafts cruelty-free and vegan moisturizers, masks, serums, and beauty oils ($27 to $35) that come in pretty, reusable amber glass jars. Help your loved ones get that holiday glow on.

Want to help giftees keep chapped lips at bay, and throw the bees a bone too? The lip-balm makers behind Bee & You work to save the bees by contracting directly from beekeepers. This edible balm ($5)—free from additives, colorants, and preservatives—is made out of raw honey and propolis. Get those stockings buzzing.