As a new mom on maternity leave I haven’t had time to test out many products, interview factory workers or write; between all the diaper changes and baby cuddles my hands are pretty full. I saw a meme recently that said “Sleep when baby sleeps, fold laundry when baby folds laundry” and I am feeling that these days. Ha! That being said, I look forward to making my holiday gift guide every year, and I was determined to make it happen, new baby and all.
I put this together over the past couple weeks (while nursing in the middle of the night) and I’m pretty proud of my finds. These ten products below are ethically made by inspiring small businesses that strive to protect the environment and their employees, and they do this while supporting causes like providing meals to families in need, ending slavery and combating homelessness. They inspire me and I think you’ll find them inspiring too. Check it out and let me know what you think, and lastly, Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
1.) Pink Rustic Shape Bowl | Earth + Element | $38
Earth + Element’s beautiful pottery is handmade by women in Los Angeles and finished with lead free, non-toxic glaze. Doing good isn‘t an afterthought for this brand, they intentionally built their company to make people and the planet a priority. They give back to a handful of charities every month, they ensure that no clay is wasted in production by reusing all their scraps, and they use sustainable (and often biodegradable) material for shipping. I’m drawn to the raw aesthetic of their modern rustic pieces, and let’s be honest, while I want the whole collection, I chose this bowl for my guide because I love the fact that it would work well in any room. If pink isn’t your thing, you can get this piece in a number of speckled colors (including black and white) making this a versatile choice for anyone on your list.
2.) No Grit No Pearl Embroidery Hoop | Motherfern | $52
This is not your great-grandma’s embroidery hoop. Motherfern is my new favorite ETSY shop, full of cheeky embroidery patterns ranging from sassy to heartwarming, to NSFW. The maker is a mother of two and she crafts each piece from her home in Los Angeles. As a new mom I appreciate and admire her ability to work from home, run a creative business, make commissioned artwork for customers and take care of multiple children. Go Joelle! I chose the No Grit No Pearl design because as an entrepreneur I love the fun reminder that all this hard work pays off. I’m also slightly obsessed with mustard accents and decor. You can shop all of her premade hoops or contact her on ETSY for a custom piece.
3.) Roots Motif Coaster Set | Ten Thousand Villages | $24.99
Ten Thousand Villages is the first place you should go Christmas shopping. Everything they sell is fair trade (heck they invented fair trade!) and they have gifts for your whole family, even your pets, although right now I’m crushing on their home goods collection. I especially love this coaster set; not only is it super handsome, but it has a great story behind it. Each set is handmade out of mango wood by artisans in India, and to get the pattern on the wood, they paint the coasters with baking soda and run an electric current through them. What a fun anecdote to share every time you receive a compliment on them, and trust, these will receive lots of compliments. You can shop their products online, or if you live in Los Angeles please stop by the Pasadena location. Each store is a non-profit and I’m a board member there, so I love to bring people in to see it in person whenever I can. :)
4.) Oh What Fun! Tote | The Tote Project | $29.99
Call me biased, but I obviously can’t make a gift guide without including one of our Tote Project totes. They make great gifts not only because they are cute and functional, but because they have a meaningful story behind them. Each of our fair trade and organic bags are made by women who have been rescued from trafficking or are at-risk for trafficking in India, and we donate 10% of our gross profits to support survivors pursuing their dream jobs in Los Angeles. Giving one as a gift supports women around the world, and as a bonus, they are a great eco-friendly alternative to wrapping paper. I chose one of our limited-edition holiday designs for that reason. Sloths are having a moment, as they should.
5.) Castor Oil + Lavender Essential Oil | Elisha C | $10
for 1 oz or $30 for 4 oz
Give the gift of aromatherapy with this set of all natural lavender essential oil and Haitian black castor
oil. Lavender promotes relaxation and who couldn’t use some help winding down during this busy holiday season. The 1 oz makes a great stocking stuffer or you could size up for those needing a bigger dose of R&R. Each purchase helps end poverty in Haiti by providing stable jobs for artisans, sending underprivileged children to school and empowering individuals to break the cycle of poverty.
6.) Bailey Pant | LA Relaxed | $66
You may have heard of LA Relaxed thanks to a little list called “Oprah’s Favorite Things” (nbd), or maybe you shopped their line in Whole Foods, or it’s likely you’ve seen bloggers repping them on the ‘Gram. Regardless, the hype their products get is very deserved. This Los Angeles based brand focuses on sustainability, using eco-friendly fabrics and ethical business practices to produce their comfy clothing line. These wide leg Bailey pants are my new work from home staple; they are incredibly soft, and they work as pajamas, loungewear or could be styled to wear out to brunch.
7.) Milk Chocolate Honeycomb Thyme bar | Tony’s Chocolonely | $5.99
Tony’s Chocolonely makes the best chocolate I’ve ever had, and I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate in my time. They craft inventive flavors with fair trade ingredients — like this Belgian milk chocolate honeycomb thyme bar they released for the holidays. It melts in your mouth, has a fun crunchy texture and tastes like Christmas. Most importantly though, I buy their bars because everything they sell is slave free, and they are on a mission to eradicate slavery from the entire chocolate industry. It doesn’t get better than that for me. The best chocolate in the world makes for the perfect stocking stuffer, just don’t hang your stocking in front of a fire or else you’ll have hot cocoa.
8.) Fleece Navidad Snappie | mini + meep | $29.99
Fay’s baby apparel brand is special to me for so many reasons. I love the mission to end hunger, the fact that the organic cotton was grown and sewn here in the US, the punny artwork, and the heart that goes into every piece. However, as a new mom I now appreciate her clothing on a whole new level. Out of all the onesies I have for Nelli, the mini + meep ones are by far the nicest quality and fit the best. I love this Fleece Navidad design for a great gender-neutral baby gift. Make sure whoever receives it knows that for each one sold, 3 meals are provided to children in need.
9.) Black Ripple Effect iPhone 11 Pro Max Case | Pela | $47.95
Everyone finding a new phone under their tree this Christmas will probably want a new case to go with it, and while many cases are made under questionable conditions with cancer causing chemicals, Pela cases are safe, completely compostable (!) and easy on the eyes. When it’s time to trade in your phone for the new model, this case will biodegrade in a backyard compost, or you can send it back to Pela for recycling and receive 20% off your next order. If you aren’t one to upgrade every year, don’t worry, this case is designed to last the lifetime of your phone and keep it safe all the while. Who would guess that a phone case made out of plants would have military grade drop protection?!
10.) Santa Cruise Candle | MADE by DWC | $28
MADE by DWC is a social enterprise started by the Downtown Woman’s Center in Los Angeles. They employ homeless and formerly homeless women in order to help them develop career skills necessary to transition out of homelessness. Homelessness is an epidemic in our city, but their strategy to combat it has empowered and healed so many lives. On the product front, MADE recently went through a brand redesign and I’m loving their new aesthetic. This Santa Cruise candle from their line combines all of my favorite scents — vetiver, eucalyptus and sandalwood, and is named after one of my favorite places back home. Pick one up as a gift or treat a friend to a meal at their cafe, it all goes towards supporting the cause.