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A Guide to Sustainable Stocking Stuffers

It’s that time of the year again! When we cozy up with a warm cup of hot cocoa in our favorite holiday themed onsies, bake cookies for Santa and share laughs with loved ones. For many, Christmas is literally the most wonderful time of the year but did you know… the holiday season is responsible for a 25% increase of waste disposal for the entire year in America, amounting to 25 million tons of waste? So if we make small efforts to see big change year round, why not do the same during the holidays? According to Stanford, “If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet”. Whoa! That’s a lot of holiday ribbon! Although it may sound like a task too daunting to tackle in addition to all of the other cheerful to-do’s on the list, practicing sustainable wrapping and gift giving can be as simple as setting out the recycling bin every Wednesday. In addition to reusing last years ribbon and wrapping paper, here’s how to make the most out of your sustainable Christmas with the Upward Yoni guide to stuffing your stockings:


Stockings are an excellent way to eliminate wasteful packaging. Personally, “opening” stockings is my absolute favorite part about Christmas morning; because honestly, it’s the little things that count most. But by including some of your “big” gifts in a socking, you can actually opt out of extra packaging (wrapping paper, ribbons, etc. ). Items such as sunglasses, wireless headphones, jewelry, money, or even a reusable water bottle can all easily fit into these enlarged, eco-conscious, holiday socks. But whatever you decide to stuff down in there avoid coal, no matter how naughty he/she/they has or have been. Due to the harmful pollutants and large amounts of carbon dioxide it emits (EIA), coal is actually very naughty to the environment. Use rocks instead or check out this list of environmentally safe, stocking stuffers for just about anyone gathered around the tree.
 photo by: @baggu


  1. ♀ Reusable Tote: These totes are soooo cute! Baggu really has redefined the reusable bag by creating something not only sustainable but also stylish. With a large variety of colors, prints and patterns, there’s bound to be a Baggu for any food shopaholic this holiday. I guiltily end up using one of my reusable bags as a purse from time to time, so having a trendy little tote to rely on for more than just food is definitely ideal.


  1. ♀ Bamboo toothbrush: I don’t know about you, but Santa has always found a way to sneak in some personal hygiene product into my stocking. This year, I hope to find a bamboo toothbrush nestled in there and for a good reason. Toothbrushes are one of the most environmentally detrimental, plastic objects in our home. According to National Geographic, the average human will go through roughly 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime and every year, there are enough toothbrushes disposed to wrap around the Earth 4 times (figuratively speaking). Unfortunately, toothbrushes can’t even be recycled which is why switching to alternative materials to clean your teeth is super important. For a toothbrush that’s biodegradable and BPA free, check out Wowe toothbrushes in support of a brand seeking an environment that’s as clean as our teeth.      
  1. ♀ Face Cream: Ok, so even my super hippie sister approves of this face lotion for sensitive skin by YAYFOREARTH. Not only is this Earth friendly lotion packaged in a reusable glass container, all ingredients are responsibly sourced meaning “no fillers, no palm oil, no plastic” (yayforearth). The results are incredible too! Don’t believe me? Check out @stevieyaaaay ‘s beautiful skin on her insta for yourself. Mother Earth has never looked so exhilarating!


  1. Reusable water bottle: I like my water as cold as the artic, which won’t be that cold much longer if we continue to ignore the global climate crisis. To satisfy my craving and do a little something for the environment, I carry a Hydroflask on my adventures. As a company, they strive to make protect our parks by supporting non profit agencies which is a win-win in my book. For this year’s holiday, check out the Hydroflask 24 oz. Standard Mouth for a perfect stocking fit. These water bottles are vacuum-sealed to perfection with stainless steel. Rumor has it that you can even fill it up with ice water the night before and still expect a refreshing sip come Christmas morning.


  1. Stainless Steel Straws: Plastic straws suck. Get it? They are the 11thmost found trash in the ocean, take 200 years to decompose and on average, Americans use 500 million of them a day (GetGreenNow). So imagine the impact we would have on Earth if we stopped using plastic straws all together! For less than $10 you can get a set of 8 stainless steel straws on Amazon, cleaning brushes included. Happy sustainable slurping!


  1. ♀ To-Go Coffee/Travel Cup: Single use cups are negatively impacting climate change, yet we’re still ordering our double shot, one pump mocha, coconut milk lattes in them. The solution is somewhat simple and it doesn’t involve reducing or recycling but instead, reusing. Ideally, this will lead to eliminating single use products. According to GreenMatch, 16 billion cups are used annually for coffee, resulting in 6.5 million trees cut down and 4 billion gallons of water wasted each year. One way to help improve this is to switch to reusable coffee cups. KeepCup is a great brand, offering a variety of styles, colors and sizes. Looking for something to keep your latte extra hot on a winter day? KeepCup has just launched their new thermal cup in 6 different colors.


  1. ♀ Sustainable Containers: As you know, plastic bags are high on the list of “needs to go” and guess what, that includes the little plastic baggies too. Even as a kid I remember being able to taste and smell the plastic bag on my sandwich after it sat all day at room temperature in my lunchbox. Gross. Stasher offers silicone containers that come in a variety of sets, colors, uses AND they are odor free. These reusable alternatives prevent ocean pollution and landfill piling right from the pantry, fridge or freezer. Not only can you cook with a Stasher in the oven, it’s great for stowing away accessories and even keeping documents safe during travel.



  1. Fair Trade Chocolate: Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s the perfect little surprise for the sweet tooth of the bunch come Christmas morning and what better way than slipping a rich, silky, fair-trade chocolate bar into your loved one’s stocking.Alter Eco is a delicious alternative to this classic treat, offering chocolate that’s actually doing some good in the world. As a certified B Corp company, Alter Eco aims to practice sustainability by supporting farmers, Mother Earth, waste elimination and using clean ingredients. They also use compostable wrappers and recyclable packaging. My favorite chocolaty treat of theirs is the plant-based, super dark truffles.


  1. ♀ Ethical Engagement Ring: For some of you, there’s no time more special than Christmas to pop the question. Make this year’s engagement ethical and ecofriendly by incorporating one of these brands into your magical morning: Vrai makes lab created diamonds ensuring 100% conflict free, and Noémie uses recycled gold as well as conflict free diamonds. She’ll be saying yes, for more reasons than one.


10. E-Gift Card: This one might be tricky to stuff in a stocking but I’m sure you’re creative enough to come up with something environmentally innovative. E-gift cards are the perfect gift for the picky members of the family and they offer a zero waste solution. Consider an Amazon e-gift card for the avid reader looking to go “paperless library” in 2020. Looking for a good book for the New Year? I just finished reading the Nobel Prize winning, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Find the E-Book here.

Johua Tree/ photo by: @mollykinscarter

11. Annual National Park Pass: One of my absolute favorite ideas for stocking stuffers is the gift of the great outdoors. Hiking and nature are Mother Earth’s very own gift in a way and there’s not a better way to share that than an annual National Parks Pass, offering free access year round to some of the country’s most beautiful places to see. Bonus, each pass holder is allowed up to 3 accompanying adults (16+) to enter with them for free as long as they are in the same vehicle. For $80, the Nation Parks Pass can be used nationwide for those adventurers ready to conquer their bucket list. 

 12. ♀ Beanie: Last but not least, shopping local and with small business is almost always the greener option. Check out the new beanie collection at Upward Yoni to support women in business and shop more sustainably. You’ll even receive your purchase in a 100% compostable polymailer.

♀ = Indicates Female Owned

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