2023 Gift Guide: 8 Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Vancouver Gifts

Earth-friendly Vancouver gift ideas for everyone on your list (including your dog, who has four eco-footprints).

There’s ten days ’till Christmas, and the countdown is, as they say, extremely on. And it’s Friday, meaning I’m delivering a new gift guide via the internet, my proverbial sleigh. By this time, you’re likely feeling a little stressed, a little shopped out and maybe a little cynical about all the waste and consumerism that our capitalist society indulges in around this time of year. How holly and jolly of you.

But we can give excellent holiday gifts and still be mindful of the environment. Want me to prove it? Challenge accepted. Here’s eight sustainable gift ideas for 2023.

8 Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Vancouver Gifts for 2023

Photo: Candella.

1. Sand Candles from Candella

I saw these for the first time at a Bespoke Market a few weeks ago, and they really blew me away (candle pun absolutely intended). This Vancouver-based brand’s “candles” come in a bag, and you can pour the material into any vessel, place a wick inside and you’re ready to rock. Well, any fire-proof vessel, of course. Don’t be an idiot. On top of being low-waste, this gift is also a big step up from a standard candle (which, in my opinion, can be a very boring choice). From $12, livingwithcandella.com

Hot tip (candle pun intended again): thrift a cool mug or other heatproof vessel to complete this sustainable present.

Photo: Better Basics.

2. Reusable Produce Bags from Better Basics

At the risk of making a blanket statement, here goes: no human in 2023 needs another tote bag. Everyone has too many tote bags. If I had a dollar for every tote bag I have, I could probably buy five more tote bags (which I wouldn’t, because I DO NOT NEED ANOTHER TOTE BAG). Totes are out, but produce bags are in: these lightweight cotton mesh drawstring bags from Better Basics are super functional, and I look forward to the day that they’re as pervasive as a damn tote. $20, betterbasics.co

Photo: Free Label.

3. Comfy Pants from Free Label

This Vancouver-based, size-inclusive slow fashion brand has a strict sustainable ethos. Their Sunday Crop pants are made from OEKO-TEX certified bamboo (and, like all of their apparel, the pants are cut and sewn right here in the city). While you’re at it, get the matching Dani Bra, too. Pants $168, freelabel.com

READ MORE: Free Label Is Always Selling Out (But Never Compromising)

Photo: Poppy Barley

4. Leather Shoes from Poppy Barley

Leather might not seem like an eco-conscious choice (and apologies to any cows reading this) but it can actually be a very sustainable material—some consider it an upcycled by-product from the meat and dairy industry, and others say that leather goods outlast their non-leather counterparts to such an extent that they end up creating less garbage in the long run. (If your giftee is vegan, they have plant-based leather goods, too). The Daily loafer pictured above is a beautiful, versatile shoe—ready to kick some overconsumption ass. $265, poppybarley.com

Photo: Saje

5. A Cleaning Kit from Saje

Important: please do not make a cleaning product your default gift for your mother or female partner. Believe it or not, most women do not want to be reminded of how much domestic labour society expects of them on Christmas. That said, a useful, good-smelling and eco-friendly cleaning kit—like this refillable multi-purpose cleaning spray bottle from Saje—can be a sweet stocking stuffer or a thoughtful gift for passionate cleaners of all genders. $24, saje.ca

Donation to the David Suzuki Foundation
Art: Crystal Smith.

6. A Donation to the David Suzuki Foundation

The best sustainable gifts can’t be wrapped—but the David Suzuki Foundation will send your giftee a virtual card when you donate to the cause on their behalf. Choose from options like conserving nature, defending a caribou’s home, supporting orcas and salmon, rewilding cities and more. From $35, davidsuzuki.org

Photo: Drby Pet Co.

7. Balm for Your Dog’s Paws from Drby Pet Co

To be honest, before doing research for this web post, I didn’t even know that paw balm was a thing—let alone sustainable dog paw balm. I obviously need to up my pet owner game (though my 13-year-old cocker spaniel spends a lot more time on the sofa than out in the elements these days). For your active, four-legged giftee, there’s balm from local company Drby Pet Co—it’s made to moisturize and protect their precious paws. This product is made from locally sourced beeswax and is recyclable packaging. From $18, drbypetco.com

Photo: Mine and Yours.

8. Anything from a Consignment or Thrift Store

Don’t sleep on secondhand stuff. We’re lucky to live in a city that has as almost as many thrift stores as it has cult-y fitness studios, and there’s also a very wide range of price points available—from eclectic little shops with charmingly ugly sweaters to luxury consignment stores. The one pictured above is the new Mine and Yours on West 4th. mineandyours.com

Looking for more 2023 holiday gift guides? Here’s what we have so far in our weekly web series:

Gifts for People Who Need to Chill

Gifts from Local Jewellery Designers

Gifts That Everyone Already Has

Gifts from Local Indigenous Companies

And here’s our ultimate gift guide from our print issue:

Vancouver Gifts Under $100

Vancouver Gifts Over $100

Gifts for Vancouver Pets

Gifts for Vancouver Kids