Family-Friendly Gifts that Are Good for the Environment

The holidays have a huge impact on Mother Earth, and not just because of all the wrapping that gets tossed out. Plastic toys that wind up in a landfill or items that are made from non-sustainable materials also have an impact. This year, consider giving a gift that will not just be loved, but that is also good for the environment.

Reused: What happens to your old sweaters once they go out of style? If they are wool or cashmere they may wind up in the hands of Jack & Mary Designs who repurpose them to make beautiful mittens, hats, and more for men, women, and kids.

Reduce: Want a gift that helps cut down on waste? Check out Eco Lunchboxes that come in a variety of styles and sizes. Fill them with a special treat or small toy to make a great gift (and avoid using wrapping paper!) or use them to store small toys or crayons while on the go. For the minis try a miniware set of dishwasher and microwave safe sippy cup and containers. Pair with a BusyBaby Placemat to give baby a reusable placemat that easily fits in the diaper bag. It also comes with tethers to keep toys from falling on the floor to save water!

Recycle: From looking at Green Toys, you might not believe that they are made out of your old milk jugs, but that’s exactly what they are made out of. They are super-sturdy and can be washed right in the dishwasher for longevity and to keep them looking new. These special stuffies from Wild Republic are so soft and cuddly that you would never guess they are made from recycled water bottles.

No Carbon Footprint: For a truly carbon-free footprint look for a gift that won’t linger. A subscription to a family-friendly streaming service like Pinna has tons of books, podcasts, and music curated for kids. This gift will last all year and kids won’t get tired of it since there are so many options for all ages.

No Emissions: Get the family out of the habit of driving everywhere. Invest in bikes for the whole family and start going car-free for rides to the park, to get ice cream, to school, to playdates, or wherever life takes you. Classic bikes like the Schwinn Ranger and Schwinn Signature Fremont exclusive to DICK’s are fantastic choices to take you anywhere your family likes to ride. If bikes aren’t your style, consider electric scooters which are growing in popularity as a form of transportation since they are affordable and easy to learn how to use. Swagtron has a number of electric scooters for kids and adults for different ages and skill levels.

Pre-Loved Clothes: Clothes are a popular gift for good reason — kids are constantly outgrowing their duds. The holidays are a great time to refresh a child’s wardrobe. Kids on 45th will send new-to-you clothes, free from signs of wear-and-tear, at about 90% off retail. You pick the size and style and the rest easy knowing you made your kids happy while being kind to Mother Earth.

Reusable Bottles and Cups: Waste from plastic water bottles is significant. Add disposable coffee cups and other paper and plastic cups to the mix and you’ve got a big environmental problem on your hands. A pretty S’well water bottle in a bright color that won’t get lost and will keep your cold drinks cold. For grown-ups, this adorable reusable travel coffee cup by Fressko that looks strikingly like the take-away kind would make a great gift. These Rabbit steel tumblers complete with lids make a great alternative to plastic cups that might be used outdoors or on the go. They even come with lids and work equally well for milk and wine!

Recycled Diaper Bag: Babies and kids need a lot of stuff just to leave the house. Try to minimize the impact with a Paperclip diaper bag made from recycled water bottles. These sustainable bags are also very practical and very stylish so it’s a win-win for parents, babies, and Mother Nature.



Jamie lives in Washington, DC with her four children. She loves exploring and chocolate. She can be reached at

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Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie lives in Washington, DC with her four children. She loves exploring and chocolate. She can be reached at