Happy Holidays: 13 Eco and Budget-Friendly Gift Ideas


Can’t figure out what to get the techie who has every gadget? The fashionista on top of all the trends? What about a newborn, biking buddy, co-worker…the in-laws?

Here are 13 unique gift ideas for those special, tricky-to-buy-for people (and pooches!) in your lives. You’ll feel good about wrapping items that are affordable and eco-friendly, they’ll enjoy getting a cool, sustainable product, and the earth will benefit from one more consumer making an environmentally-conscious decision. It’s a win-win-win.

For the Timeless Conservationist | Sprout Watches | $25-55

Sprout watches are as eco-conscious as they come, made with corn resin and entirely biodegradable, from watch to packaging. Draw attention to your fashionable and sustainable wrist with a Sprout watch.

If you prefer high-tech Superwatches like the Apple or Samsung watches, you should know they are great for traveling. You can download walking directions to your Super watch and use it to navigate your way to a new destination. It’s much more comfortable than walking around navigating with your phone. 

For the Hooked Up Hiker | Converter Solar Bag | $129

The Converter Solar Bag easily totes and charges your favorite digital goods, including your tablet, phone, or camera. A pair of waterproof and lightweight solar panels generates five watts of power, which is enough to charge a typical phone in 3 hours (just one hour of charging will provide about three hours of talk time). The bag also comes with a small removable USB Battery that allows you to charge your devices while you’re not in sunlight—take it along on your next trans-Atlantic flight so you can land with a fully charged iPhone.

For the Locavore | The New Brooklyn Cookbook | William Morrow | $22.00

Whether the recipient is a foodie or a fast food lover, whoever is lucky enough to get The New Brooklyn Cookbook this holiday season will be inspired by the depth of flavor and character discovered within its 235 pages. Enjoy these delicious, easy-to-make recipes—including Farm on Adderley’s lamb meatballs, iCi’s fried green tomatoes, Applewood’s braised pork, and No. 7’s butterscotch pudding—plus juicy stories about 31 of the best restaurants in New York City.

For the Chic Eco Shopper | Envirosax | $10.99

Paper and plastic, we all know, are hazardous to the environment, so why do we keep using them? Forgetfulness is no longer an excuse thanks to the Envirosax’s five-pack of super durable yet lightweight bags that can carry up to 44 pounds. Available in an array of prints, from kid-friendly rocket ships to botanical print, there is a waterproof, polyester bag for everyone in the family. Reusing and recycling never looked so chic. envirosax.com

For the Picnicker | Wine Tote | $16


Transport your vino in style and rep your borough to passer-by with this cute canvas container. Crafted with 100% natural cotton, these fun and functional bags are made in Brooklyn, and are printed with the city of your choice, with neighborhoods listed on the back for a hyperlocal feel.


For the Aspiring Artist | Wool Pencil Case | $16.60

Wool pouch etsy

Kids can stash their markers and colored pencils in this friendly, colorful hand-crafted pouch. Youngsters will brew up a creative storm at home and on the go as this soft accessory is lightweight and easy to stow away at school or for vacation.

For the Growing Green Thumb | Deluxe Root Viewer | $13.39

Deluxe Root ViewerLet little gardeners sow their seeds and support locavorism beginning with this miniature garden that kids will love to nurture. Inspire the art of botany and gardening as kids watch their roots grow. Then enjoy some freshly grown carrots to slice alongside farmers market-sourced cucumbers at dinner time.


For Those Worthy of Note | May Designs | $15

Leave plain, uninspiring pads on the shelf, and jot down reminders and screenplay ideas in a May Book. Bringing together the unlikely elements of organization and whimsy, May Books is putting an end to ugly notebooks. From leopard print to florals to a classic zig zag print journal, this crafty company reminds us to once again pen our on-the-go thoughts in a notebook instead of sending them to the cloud.

For the Nerd | Eco-Mousepad | $7.99

Some wine corks get thrown out, some are kept for sentimental reasons, while others wind up reincarnated. The latter is Corkology’s hobbyhorse. The company diverts the material from landfills, then recycles, grinds and compresses the leftover cork to create clever products with a slightly longer lifespan. From surfing to biking to animal graphics and more simple designs, you never saw a cooler mousepad—or sustainable statement.

For the {New} New Yorker | Icon One-Piece | $26

You’ll be sure to stand out at the next Gymboree group when your tot is showing love for their ‘hood. Pick up this organic, unisex one-piece for babies or toddlers with sass and a onesie to match. Comfort meets style in this adorable cotton outfit.


For the Globe-Trotter’s Coffee Table | Rizzoli | The Vanishing North American Wilderness | $55

However much of the earth your giftee has explored, he’s never seen it from this point of view. Through the eyes of award-winning photographer Jim Wark and the words of historian Roderick Nash, North American landscapes prove to be extraordinarily beautiful and jarringly endangered—from the Alaskan tundras to Nebraska’s otherworldly Sand Hills. These pictures are sure to evoke wows round the coffee table and spark a fiery conversation about what we can all do to help protect our environment.

For the Fragrant Flyer | Travalo | $16

Don’t sacrifice smelling nice on your next getaway just because your perfume bottle gets busted at security. This TSA-approved capsule is easy to fill (up to 65 sprays) with your favorite scent, and comes in three sizes and a variety of fun colors.


For the Fit Friend | Armpocket | $29.95

Whether in training or just out for a jog, all you want to think about when running is the road ahead, not the jingling keys digging into your hand or the loose credit card and energy bar. This slip-resistant and well-ventilated Armpocket fits all of these items, plus your iPhone, so runners can stay relaxed and focused on having a good workout. In addition to caring for your body and the environment—the Armpocket is made out of bamboo and recyclable fabric.