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Photo: Andreana Bitsis

The Best Holiday Gifts for Millennials (2017 Edition)

Millennials typically like products that are handmade, small-batch, ethically sourced, made in the USA, organic, fair trade, and one-of-a-kind. If proceeds from purchase go to a charity, even better. (This might sound like a Portlandia sketch, but it's true.)

While the idea of a “Conscious Gift Guide” might sound like a satirical essay about GOOP– or the beginning of a sketch from Portlandia– millenials do typically like products that are handmade, small-batch, ethically sourced, made in the USA, organic, fair trade, and one-of-a-kind. If proceeds from purchase go to a charity, even better.

Still, we understand that it’s hard to find gifts that satisfy all of these requirements– especially at an affordable price.

Our solution? We did the legwork for you and put together a gift guide for environmentally friendly, botanically oriented, and/or socially impactful products that any conscious millennial will love. Check out our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Millenials, below. (P.S.: In case there was any doubt, this list was curated by a millennial.)

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Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Gifts Under $150

Box gifts for every personality.

Botanical Tea Towels, $14.99

Illustrator and textile designer Maral Varolian makes cute, hand-illustrated botanical tea towels on British-sourced 100% cotton fabric. Her “succulents in pots”, herbal, and floral designs combine the millennial obsession with houseplants with the timelessness of an enduring kitchen staple that works well as a dishcloth, napkin, placemat, or other decor element (if nothing more, it will make your homemade brunch Instagrams that much prettier).

DIY Mushroom Sawdust Block, $28

Smugtown Mushrooms of Rochester, New York makes incredible grow-your-own mushroom kits for growing several different varieties of mushrooms both indoors and out. Their Reishi Mushroom Sawdust Block and/or the Shiitake Mushroom Sawdust Block are perfect for novice foodies who want to get into growing their own fungi. Much like the chia pets that were popular in the 90’s, these DIY grow kits require daily mists of water and storage away from the sun in order to thrive (depending on the mushroom variety, you can often keep them in the fridge). After about 2 weeks a kit will yield its first harvest, which is as incredible to watch as it is shockingly easy (a few of our former staff writers who were never successful at keeping houseplants alive had much success with these kits).

Photo: via Recliner

Pink Bamboo Nightgown, $85

Recliner’s Second Skin Nightie in “blush” is our new favorite sleep garment, but we’ve long been a fan of the brand’s super cosy silk pajama pants. Made with silky-soft, lightweight bamboo jersey (one of the most environmentally-friendly textiles known to man,) this nightie hugs your curves like a second skin. Moisture-wicking bamboo keeps you cool, whilst ample stretch gives you all the room you need to move around in bed. The highly flattering fit features a scoop-cut front with racer-back finished neatly with bound seams.

Palm Slippers, $27

“Slydes” make the ultimate summer comfort shoe, but we love wearing them indoors year-round. These super comfy (and super cheap!) palm slyders make excellent “house shoes” that come in black and white, for both men and women. The effortless luxury of the design harkens to a vacation in Saint-Tropez…almost. But when it comes to comfort, these shoes can’t be beat. (After all, there’s a reason why those Adidas shower shoes have made a comeback since the 90’s…)

Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Carr’s Ciderhouse Apple Cider Vinegar, $12

Carr’s Ciderhouse Apple Cider Vinegar is the most beautiful and delicious apple cider vinegar we’ve ever had. Small batch made in Hadley, Massachusetts, the cider’s gorgeous glass bottle and sophisticated label is one that you’ll want to keep on your bookshelf long after the vinegar has been used up– and given that the cider is made from 100% organic juice pressed at Carr’s Ciderhouse, that shouldn’t take long.

Reclaimed Down Scarf, $138

Alabama Chanin partners with Patagonia to create a recycled down scarf from repurposed Patagonia down jackets. “Each scarf is truly one-of-a-kind and represents a Cradle-to-Cradle method of manufacturing that reflects sustainability by upcycling into a new form,” they write. “The scarf features organic cotton trim, and its generous length and cozy feel make it the perfect cold weather accessory.” Best of all, they are designed and hand made in the USA.

Willowvane Ceramic Planter, $52

Willowvane ceramics makes small batch, hand thrown pottery in an art studio in North Carolina. Known for her gradient, sprinkles, and dip-dyed glazing techniques, Erica Tuomi’s mugs and gradient planters have become something of a cult favorite on Instagram, so be sure to join the mailing list and order while these planters are in stock– trust us: they won’t be there long.

A “Farm To People” Subscription, $59.99

Farm To People is a CSA-like food delivery service that works with small local farms to deliver “the best of what’s in season every week”. Operating on the Eastern seaboard from NY to the DC area, they offer omnivore, vegetarian, paleo, and vegan produce boxes along with cooking tips and foodie-approved recipes like braised pork chops with roasted apples and steak with roasted carrots and celeriac mash. For cooks who rarely have time to go to the farmers market, this is a great gift idea that can be renewed or cancelled at any time (boxes are delivered weekly on the day/time of the recipient’s choice).

Terrarium Moss Necklace, $46

With Roots Jewelry is a Brooklyn-based, one-woman business that makes tiny terrarium jewelry with real plants living inside. We like the understatement of the Curve Necklace with white moss.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Flower-Filled Lipstick, $14

Winky Luxe’s Flower Bomb Lip Stain comes with actual flowers embedded inside the applicator. The coconut-scented balm “reacts with your skin’s pH levels, uniquely creating the perfect shade of pink lips just for you”, the brand writes– but they pretty much had us at “flowers”. (Garden Collage readers can also use the code GARDENCOLLAGE to get 20% off at winkylux.com.)

Organic Cotton “Slim Scarf”, $34

Sustainable fabrics are huge nowadays, and Alabama Chanin is doing amazing work to support jobs, industry, and craftsmanship in the textile industry. One of their most accessible items, The Slim Scarf, is made with a single layer of 100% organic cotton jersey that is available in nine different colors, from tea dye and vetiver to baby blue and navy.

Photo: via Seedlip Drinks

Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Drink Tonics, $30

Seedlip’s copper pot distilled, garden-inspired tonics are billed as “The World’s First Non-Alcoholic Spirits”, currently served in an array of Michelin starred restaurants, cocktail bars, and luxury hotels around the world. The “Garden 108” and “Spice 94” spirits can be served with mixers, teas, brines, and salts to create dry, sour, bitter, and savory drinks, like their recommended “Seedlip Garden & Tonic” (made with 1.8 oz Seedlip Garden Spirit and Indian Tonic Water served in a highball with a handful of peas over ice, above).

SPF-Infused Infinity Scarf, $68

Mott 50 is the industry leader in sun protection infused clothing, and their Lani infinity scarf makes it easy to transition from summer to winter (when most people don’t realize they should still be wearing sunscreen). Protect your neck and décolletage this winter with this super soft bamboo scarf (also available in black): double it up, wrap it around, zip it up, or let it hang loose. Either way, you’ll be protected and shielded from the elements, no matter what the season.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

For The Stockings

Small, thoughtful items that improve lifestyle and delight the senses.

Naturopathica’s Stress Fortified Honey, $19

Infused honey is very trendy at the moment, and Naturopathica infuses their Stress Resistance Fortified Honey with Siberian ginseng, ginger root, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and ginkgo to restore strength and vitality. (Siberian ginseng is known for its energizing qualities while cinnamon, ginger, clove, and cardamom have all historically been used in Ayurveda to calm the nervous system.) Add 1 Tbsp to warm (not boiling hot) tea, oatmeal, toast, yogurt, or other beverage of choice for an added boost of calm. Try mixing 3 Tbsps cacao powder with 2 Tbsps honey and 3 cups of milk to make homemade, stress-reducing hot chocolate that’s perfect for a cozy night spent curled up by the fire.

Orange Glasses for Blocking Blue Light, $19.95

By now you’ve probably heard that the wavelength of light emitted from digital devices like iPhones, computers, and televisions can prevent users from getting a sound nights sleep, but did you know that orange glasses can counter the effect? According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, nighttime exposure to blue light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs can be harmful to your health, because bright light tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime (and thus, that we need to be alert), which in turn makes it harder to fall asleep.

One fix? Try wearing blue-blocking orange glasses if you can’t seem to put the screens down at least an hour before bed, which is another recommended solution. This gift is particularly good for insomniacs or anyone who uses a computer late at night. (Our Editor-in-Chief swears by them!)

Biodegradable Konjac Cleansing Sponge, $10

Konjac sponges originated in Japan over a century ago. Made from the roots of the Konjac plant, these biodegradable cleansing puffs gently remove pore-clogging dirt, oil, and other impurities from the surface of the skin without stripping it of its natural moisture. Originally, they were used for babies, but these eco-friendly sponges (which are made from vegetable fibers extracted from the roots of the Konjac plant) have a soft and porous texture that works well for dry, aging, and acne-prone skin.

We particularly love Yosh Konjac Sponges as they come in a number of lovely botanical scents– the wild mint facial cleansing puff, cherry blossom konjac puff, and citrus konjac puffs are our favorites (they also make bespoke versions for body and baby, as well). And don’t let the bright, beautiful colors worry you: these sponges contain no artificial colors, preservatives, or toxic and harmful chemicals, and they are cruelty free and non-GMO. (The bright-blue revitalizing wild mint facial puff contains only %100 Konjac Glucomannan fibers, Japanese peppermint extract, and blue clay, for example.)

Floral-Inspired Nail Polish, $16

Our favorite flower-colored nail lacquer, Flora 1761, offers a suite of new, eco-conscious nail polish in rich tones that accurately approximate the true “red” of a poppy, or the subtle “pink” of a camellia. We love these gorgeous, traditionally feminine colors; it’s hard to find a good nail color that is also natural, let alone one inspired by our favorite flowers. (Botanical nails are all the rage, after all.)

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Endoca CBD Gum, $15

Tiny, alternative CBD supplements are all the rage these days, and we like Endoca’s CBD gum for its beautiful packaging and more important ability to deliver the benefits of CBD oil supplementation in a palatable form. Chewing gum increases the bioavailability of CBD, and each piece contains 15mg decarboxylated CBD and the gum is sugar free. Like all Endoca products, it is organic, 3rd party lab tested, non-GMO, and gluten-free.

Elyptol All-Natural Hand Sanitizer, $4.89

Natural hand-sanitizers like Elyptol are great for urbanites who take public transportation, teachers, and/or people with small children whose immunity they want to safeguard.

In the wake of the FDA’s ruling that triclosan can no longer be marketed due to safety concerns, Australia-based company Elyptol has emerged as the next generation of hand, skin, and surface hygiene products– and it just so happens to contain all botanical ingredients. The brand’s FDA-registered Natural Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer gels are infused with eucalyptus essential oil, which is effective at killing “99.9999%” of germs with the added benefit of cognitive aromatherapy.

ChocoVivo’s Squeezable Cacao Butter, $5.49

L.A.’s coolest chocolate apothecary sells squeezable tubes of pure cacao butter mixed with hemp butter, almond butter, or hazelnut butter and a little sugar to taste. These portable chocolate butters are raw and dairy, soy, gluten, and GMO-free and made from cacao nibs grown on the company’s own plantation. Chocovivo also makes excellent cinnamon crunch-covered cacao beans, which you don’t see that often, even at natural food stores.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Vertly CBD-infused Lip Balm, $22

Vertly’s CBD-infused lip balm takes plant wellness and skincare to another level.  It contains CBD (Cannabidiol), a compound we’ve sourced from hemp, which research indicates could help relieve anxiety, reduce pain & stress, and promote a subtle state of tranquility. The hemp oil base is also rich in antioxidants omega 3 and omega 6, which help remedy sun damage.

Cricket Flour Chips, $12.99 for a 6-Pack

Chirps cricket-flour chips make it obvious why more and more people are embracing insect protein. In view of the increasingly problematic carbon footprint of beef and soy, these high protein, low impact, iron-rich chips are made with cricket flour, which is a natural source of protein that uses 90% less water and land than the aforementioned protein sources, and since the crickets are ground into a flour and baked, you never have to experience the weird feeling of eating insects directly. (No legs or wings here!) Chirps taste just like regular corn chips, except that they are loaded with environmentally-friendly protein that comes in BBQ, Sea Salt, Cheddar, and sampler varieties. For those who are less squeamish, Aketta also makes savory cricket snacks that taste like corn nuts but are much healthier for you.

Botanical Chocolates, $3-$9

Plant-based, ethically-sourced chocolates can be as beautifying as they are delicious: Yes Cacao‘s bars contain active superfoods like turmeric and reishi, and others like Elements Truffles are inspired by Ayurvedic medicine and formulated using raw honey instead of cane sugar. No holiday stocking would be complete without a little chocolate, but these bars are ones you can feel good about giving. (Read more about our favorite botanical chocolate brands here.)

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Natural Sheet Masks, $3-$42

Sheet Masks are a beauty junkie’s best friend, but many masks contain harmful chemicals that most people forget to consider. There, are, however, a few brands that are making natural and organic sheet masks that live up to Garden Collage standards.

They are: Orgaid Organic Sheet Masks, Leaders Cosmetics’ Naturally-Fermented Premium Coconut Gel Masks, Alba Botanica’s Fast-Fix Sheet Mask Series, Yes To’s New Paper Mask Line, Andalou Naturals’ Hydro Serum Facial Mask, and 100% Pure’s (epic) Caffeine Mask. Read more about all of them here.

Jade Roller, $24.88

Jade Rollers are popular among beauty junkies and Chinese Medicine practitioners, who claim that rolling the face with a cool jade stone can help stimulate circulation and de-puff the face when used first thing in the morning or during times of bloat. Best used after serum has been applied, a jade roller helps smooth facial lines and move lymph away from the fragile eye area, which is often puffy after sleep. (For what it’s worth, Khloe Kardashian seems to be a fan…)

Jaw Clenching Remedy, $48

Facial pain, tooth pain, headaches, and even earaches can result from teeth clenching or grinding, which is a stress induced reaction at the root of TMJ. This deeply grounding, sweet, earthy roll-on essential oil blend from H. Gillerman Organics helps ease facial muscles and de-stimulate a racing mind that can cause this common problem. The all-natural formula is great for travel and scented with lavender, palmarosa, vetiver, and german chamomile for sweet-smelling stress relief on the go.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Splurge/Higher End

Because that special person in your life is worth it.

Brooklinen Cashmere Blanket, $229

Brooklinen made a name for itself as a disrupter in the luxury linen game. Their high thread count sheets and super soft blankets offer top-notch, five star luxury for a fraction of the normal cost, in a chic, sensible style tailored to a modern, hip clientele. We love Brooklinen cashmere and lambswool throw, which comes in Camel, Grey, Charcoal, Cream, and a variety of lovely plaids. Made from the finest, soft virgin lambswool, these blankets are handmade in Germany by a 100-year-old family mill.

A Happy Light (For Seasonal Affective Disorder), $99.99 – $199.99

Desperate for some sun? According to the latest reports, Seasonal Affective Disorder, appropriately known as SAD, effects up to 20% of people worldwide. Verilux’s signature “Happy Light” helps mitigate the effects by offering the same quality of light as the sun, which can help improve mood, energy, and sleep. Use for 30 minutes a day for ideal benefits.

Recycled Cashmere Sweater, $229

Patagonia’s exclusive recycled cashmere sweater is made of 95% recycled cashmere (the lamborghini of textiles, which usually has a price tag to match). This super-soft formulation uses a fraction of the materials, water, and chemicals of a virgin cashmere sweater, and 5% wool made from pre-consumer cashmere waste that’s mechanically broken down and spun into new yarn. Stylish and good for the environment? You had us at “cashmere”.

Countertop Compost Bin Made from Salvaged Wood, $175

Alabama Sawyer’s Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin is made from walnut and magnolia wood salvaged from fallen trees in the Birmingham, Alabama area. All of their products are modern and environmentally sustainable, made with wood that is diverted from landfills and crafted into mitered boxes to hold a stainless steel pan and lid. All of their wood is urban timber– none of it is farmed– so the results contain a gorgeous and unique array of grain patterns. (In addition to looking chic, the interior of this composter is removable and lightweight for easy emptying and washing, and it is dishwasher safe.)

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Gift Combos

Looking for something a little more involved? Combine several items to make a bespoke concept gift.

Make Them a Sleep Kit, ~$338

Consider pairing a Brooklinen Cashmere Blanket with an iTunes Gift Card for the Sleep Genius App, a pair of orange glasses, and a set of Recliner nighties for a homemade “Sleep Kit”. Thoughtful combinations of consciously-purchased items go far with today’s millennial, and items that add to wellbeing– like anything that helps with sleep, diet, or exercise– will have lasting effects long after the season of good cheer passes.

Design an Eco-Friendly Outfit Box, ~$281 – $481

Grouping together a few select items to make an outfit of sustainable items can be a great way to show you care while also introducing recipients to brands that eco-conscious fashionistas will love. Reformation jeansAlabama Chanin‘s gorgeous cotton loungewear, and rompers from Faircloth Supply are just a few examples of stylish, ethical clothing lines working to make a difference for both the environment and women. If you’re hesitant to buy clothes, gift some sustainable accessories like a bracelet from The Brave Collection or Stella McCartney sneakers made from reclaimed ocean plastic— the makings of a wardrobe fit to inspire.

Plant a Tree, Give a Tree, $125

Tiny bonsai trees makes excellent house guests. This year, consider planting a tree in someone’s name via The Arbor Day Foundation, who accept donations to plant trees in honor of your loves ones (you even get a fancy card to prove it, which you can then give as a physical gift). Pair this card with a bonsai tree from Dandy Farmer and you’ll have a literal and figurative present that will delight plant lovers and tree huggers alike.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

The Sqirl Cookbook + Some of Jessica Koslow’s Amazing Jam, $79

If you live in LA and you haven’t yet been to Sqirl— what are you waiting for?! Get over there!

And for those who don’t live in LA: have no fear. Jessica Koslow’s amazing, seasonal jam is available to ship nationwide; you don’t have to go to her iconic, beloved breakfast restaurant to get it. While the new Boysenberry & Apricot is the darling jam flavor of the moment, staples like Shady Lady Tomato and Elephant Heart Plum bring the unique, regional flavors of California to your morning porridge (or toast, parfait, or favorite dessert…have it your way). Pair a three jars with Koslow’s book Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking, and you’re well on your way to a breakfast of champions– no matter what coast you live on.

Improve The World in Their Honor, $25 – ?

Know someone who already has everything? Donate in their name to any number of these cool environmental organizations:

Earth Justice
Sierra Club Foundation
Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Wild Oceans
Defenders of Wildlife
Rainforest Alliance
Sustainable Harvest International
The Organic Seed Alliance
Friends of the Earth
Coral Restoration Foundation
National Parks Conservation Association

We’ve vetted each of these organizations for reliability, transparency, and maximum impact. To read more about what each of these environmental charities does, go here.

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Happy Holidays from Garden Collage Magazine!

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