Gift guide: 30 vegan and eco-friendly gift ideas for everyone on your list
Your guide to the best 2021 holiday gifts that are vegan, eco-friendly, and all around good for the mind, body and soul.
There’s a good chance that someone—or multiple people—on your gift list is vegan, or a plant-based foodie, or someone that just appreciates veg- or eco-friendly things. Or, maybe you want to support vegan brands and products no matter who the recipient may be.
Whatever motivates you, this guide will help inspire your gift-giving this holiday season. I've rounded up some of the best vegan-approved products not only for a vegan on your list but really that anyone will appreciate.
First, a little vegan education if you are in fact shopping for a vegan. It’s important to know that beyond not eating animals, vegans also avoid any products/goods that contain animal ingredients and by-products. And while it might not be obvious, many animal-based ingredients appear in food, clothing, beauty products and more.
Here is a quick cheat sheet on what vegans don’t use or consume:
Food products that contain any animal products or by-products. (Meat, dairy, eggs are obvious ones, but also gelatin and whey, which are animal-derived, often lurk in products.)
Beauty products that use any animal-derived product, or are tested on animals. (There are two things to look for: 1.) Check for a "cruelty-free" logo which indicates products are not tested on animals. 2.) Look for a "V" (or vegan) logo, or check to ensure there are no animal ingredients in the product.
Real leather, which is made from animal hide; wool, which is made from sheep fur; animal fur—but who wears fur anymore?; and silk, which is made from silkworms. These are some of the most common animal-based items used in clothing, shoes, bags and other items.
Now, it’s time to dive into my 2021 vegan holiday gift guide. Since I write about and review brands and products for a number of publications, I've been researching, sampling, and cutting through the clutter and hype to uncover the best of the best in vegan-friendly beauty, food, clothing, wellness, and more.
For the fitness enthusiast
Manduka yoga mats will beckon any yogi or fitness enthusiast to work out in comfort. Their eKO Lite line of mats are non-toxic and made from sustainably harvested tree rubber.
Any fitness lover will fall booty over heels for this monthly subscription to on-demand yoga and pilates classes from Melissa Woodhealth. With a massive library of classes, plant-based fitness expert Melissa Woodhealth has classes that will suit anyone, no matter what their fitness level. You can pay monthly, or buy a year subscription, and they even have a dedicated page for giving it as a gift.
For the active in-the-outdoors person, consider a Sand Cloud towel which comes in an assortment of sizes and patterns, and best of all its ability to be compacted. The San Cloud Navy Acid Wash XL is their oversized towel that has so many functions and endless possibilities for use—from days outside at the beach, to weekend camping and more. It’s lightweight and ultra-functional providing a quick-dry and no-sand-stick. They also do good by supporting ocean restoration projects.
Story Bikes, maker of high-quality electric bikes, are the perfect accompaniment for anyone with an active lifestyle. This is an ultimate his-and-hers couples gift, or great for the solo person commuting short distances, or needing some new wheels in their life. Rest assured that seats and handles are made from vegan leather. And, for each bike sold, Story Bikes donates a bike to a child in Africa which enables their commute to and from school. Choose from the Electric Road Bike or the more cruiser-style Step Through Electric Bike—both come in five different colors.
For the eco-minded
For the eco-aware who appreciates comfy threads made from recycled material, Wolven should be at the top of your gift list. With athleisure gear for both men and women, there’s a reason celebrities are obsessed with Wolven. The Wolven Joggers are a comfy, do-anything kind of pant that anyone on your gift list will be wearing all year round. There’s a wonderland of colorful signature Wolven prints, and they also have a new collection of joggers, leggings and more in the solid turmeric color which is stunning. Wolven is so dreamy, you may want to add something to the cart for yourself too.
Sustainable Tomorrow makes all sorts of plastic-free items for the home, kitchen and bathroom. The Bamboo Electric Toothbrush will is a nice treat and feels like a massage inside your mouth. They also have functional cutlery travel sets and other great gift-ready gear made out of bamboo.
For a kiddo, or even an animal- and planet-loving adult or family, adopt an animal through The World Wildlife Fund on their behalf and gift them with an adoption kit that comes with a ridiculously cute plush stuffed animal. You can choose from a host of animals, from an Arctic Wolf, to an African Elephant Calf and many more. When you support the WWF, you are funding a nonprofit that is committed to reversing the environmental degradation of our planet and creating a future where humans live in harmony with nature.
Shopping for second-hand and vintage items is always a great sustainable way to go—the fast fashion problem is real, and more and more people are getting into second-hand. When gifting, it may be hard to thrift for someone, so consider a gift card to The Real Real, an online marketplace for second-hand designer goods. You could also just give some cash in a pretty card and earmark it for something second-hand.
For the self-care & wellness warrior
Anyone working on their wellness knows that sleep plays a critical part. This is why Dagsmejan’s Recovery Sleepwear Collection pajamas are a stellar find and help support regenerative sleep, as the company says, with their trademarked fabric that regulates temperature and is said to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. They have cute sleep sets for both women and men.
These eco-friendly scented candles—which turn into a flowering pot after use—from Hyggelight are so neat. Their candles come in a handmade reusable ceramic plant pot, and include a wildflower seed paper label. Once the candle wax is gone, just fill the ceramic container with soil, plant the label to now have wildflowers! So it's a candle, and a plant, in one.
For the person needing attention on hard-worked muscles, a massager will be a welcome gift. Hyperice’s Hypervolt GO is a topline precision massager which can help release muscle tension all over the body and has been shown to help support muscle recovery. Hyperice massagers are top of the line, used by professional athletes and athletic trainers.
For the clean beauty lover
For the person who appreciates discovering new beauty products and taking care of their skin, Common Heir Vitamin C Serum is something they’ll love. High-quality Vitamin C that comes in individual capsules for effective smoothing and evening of the skin. And, the plastic-free packaging and beautiful design helps make this a great buy.
The C & The Moon Malibu Made Body Scrub is a dream product that uses natural vanilla brown sugar for a body exfoliator that gently removes dead skin cells and replenishes the skin with hydrating organic oils and food-grade vanilla. An environmentally conscious, non-toxic scrub made in Malibu, CA? Yes, sign me up.
Thrive Cosmetics has grown to be a beloved vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand. Bundle a few items together to make a clean beauty makeup gift. Their award-winning Liquid Lash Extension Mascara is a lash gamechanger, which can be paired with Brilliant Eye Brightener —these two are a nice gift coupling, and anyone who wears makeup, even the minimalist makeup user, will love these both!
Many celebrities turn to one woman in LA for their skincare needs: Shani Darden. And thankfully, you don’t have to live in LA to reap the benefits of her skincare magic. The Shani Darden vegan and cruelty-free skincare line is available on her online store—from face moisturizers, to retinols to anti-aging products and more. She now has superb value holiday gift sets that come bundled and beautifully packaged that are ready to spoil that special person with celeb-approved skincare in the comfort of their home.
Pacifica is an affordable, always vegan and cruelty-free, beauty brand that has a massive lineup of skincare, makeup and more. You can opt for one of their bundles, like the Vegan Collagen Skincare Bundle, or one of their other popular products like the Wake Up Beautiful Super Hydration Sleepover Mask, the Lavender Moon Bedtime Lip Treatment, and the Fierce Glow Radiance Bears Beauty Gummies—all would be a lovely grouping for an affordable beauty gift pack.
For the foodie (+wine) person
For the plant-based foodie who also loves wine, treat them to the first-ever plant-based food and wine pairing book, The Social Herbivore. The book provides an eclectic array of recipes— created with entertaining in mind—and includes recommended wine pairings and critical wine knowledge that any foodie should know. (You can find and buy direct on The Social Herbivore website, or on Amazon.)
And while you are at it, a nice clean and vegan bottle of wine is always an easy and appreciated gift. (I know, you may be asking, "not all wine is vegan?" My vegan wine guide explains what makes wine not vegan.) Avaline makes some easy-drinking, affordable, low-sugar, and transparent wine that will surely please anyone's palette. I love their Sparkling wine, which uses organic grapes sourced from a family-owned farm in Spain. Avaline also has a guide with a fun way to gift wrap the wine bottle.
SJAAK’S is an all-vegan specialty chocolate company using ethically sourced ingredients to create novel flavored chocolates that taste good...and also look beautiful. They have an assortment of holiday chocolates that make for a unique chocolatey small gift or stocking stuffer you won’t find anywhere else.
Nguyen Coffee Supply, a specialty Vietnamese coffee company that makes delicious coffee, imports beans via direct trade from family farms in Vietnam, and roasts in Brooklyn, New York. You can mix and match beans or grounds, or opt for the Vietnamese Coffee Lovers Bundle. Any coffee connoisseur will appreciate the artisanal blends.
For the traveler in comfort & style
Slip into comfy and stylish gear from Aviator Nation, a made-in-LA brand making men’s and women’s sweatsuits, sweatshirts, and other apparel. With a 70’s vibes and ultra-soft fabric, someone who likes to travel and lounge in comfort and style will appreciate their new digs.
Day Owl makes minimalist, eco-friendly backpacks that are built for the on-the-go. Whether you’re buying for a traveling college student, or a working professional, Day Owl’s Slim Backpack is like a cloud on your back that also fits all the essentials. You’ll also have over eight colors to choose from, while also appreciating that all bags are made from recycled materials.
One thing every traveler appreciates is being organized. Any traveling jewelry-toting person will love this vegan leather Made By Mary travel jewelry case. The Made By Mary Jewelry Case comes in five colors and wows with its beauty and function. (And while you’re at the Made By Mary online shop, you may want to look at some of the amazing jewelry they make too!)
For the trendsetter
Save the Duck high-quality coats for men and women are a perfect blend of fashion and function. They specialize in using a vegan feather-like interior that creates super comfy puffer coats. Their latest Love Recycle Collection uses 100% recycled materials. For men, we’re loving the Calvin Hooded Jacket and for women, the Laia Faux Fur Reversible Hooded Jacket, which comes in seven color options and is giving all sorts of fashion-forward winter vibes.
Stylish? Sustainable? Fashionable? Gunas New York delivers on all three with its trendy vegan leather bags and purses they will swoon any fashionista. The Gunas About Last Night - Black Vegan Clutch, which can be dressed up or down, and is made from Mulberry plant material to create a shiny and durable vegan leather. For a more roomy bag, the Tippi Mustard Vegan Leather Tote is also a gem. It holds up to a 15” laptop and has an interior pocket to hold smaller essentials.
For the graphic tee go-to person—and someone who likes to be out and proud about loving the planet and animals—check out Wholesome Culture which has an assortment of tees, sweatshirts, gift items and more for men and women.
For the down-to-earth guy or gal, check out the vegan collection of slides and slippers from NAOT. The NAOT Santa Barbara Vegan Slide is a fashionable women’s favorite made with adjustable buckles and a comfy insole that molds to your feet. Also from NAOT consider the gift of stylish coziness with the men’s vegan slippers and the women’s vegan slippers, lined with ultra-soft fleece and addictively comfortable foam padding.
Thankfully, denim is something that is always in style, and in case you have not heard, back in style are full-fledged 90’s-inspired loose-fitting denim. So, someone on your list—or maybe a gift for yourself :) —will appreciate some new and trendy threads. Pistola, a denim-centric brand, has a host of denim so you can give your gal pal or partner something they want to wear—trendy denim! Pistola’s The Cassie denim collection is a good place to start. They also have a vegan leather pant that’s perfect to pair with boots as the winter weather sets in. You can find Pistola on their website, and also on Revolve.com
For the splurge
If opting for an at-home splurge, consider a mattress from the eco-friendly Avocado brand, which uses certified organic material and whose mattresses are all non-toxic. What’s more, they have an Avocado Vegan Mattress, which ditches the wool and uses premium organic cotton instead. Make sure to opt for the add-on pillow top for extra cushion for a truly effortless sleep.
There’s a slurry of electric cars coming onto the market, but one of the most anticipated brands of the year is Rivian, an exclusively electric car maker that has made a stunning SUV and truck that effortlessly balance form, function, and style. With sustainability at its forefront, Rivian uses vegan leather in its interior, and recycled materials as well in many places. Check out the Rivian R1S which will be sure to make someone’s electric SUV dreams a reality.
For your family, or for a couple, a remarkably special gift would be a trip to the all-inclusive plant-based luxury resort, Palmaïa, House of Aïa in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. From a nearly all plant-based menu across all of its restaurants; to wellness activities; to classes like yoga, meeting with Shamans and more; to a luxury spa—all set beach-front and surrounded by trees and nature—this will be the gift of the decade...and maybe even a lifetime.