The top eco-friendly companies to give all your holiday money to

Let me tell you why you should reconsider who you give your money to this holiday season.

It’s the holiday season and despite how hard we try to remember the “true spirit of the season,” we’re going to be materialistic and buy gifts for ourselves and others.

Recently, I watched Leo DiCaprio’s collab with National Geographic called, Before the Flood. It is hard to ignore the harsh realities presented in this truly moving documentary. What is even harder for me to ignore is Leo’s call to action: invest your money and your vote into individuals and companies that are like-minded and aligned with the fact that we ALL need to do better for our planet and its people.

I already strive to be health, eco and animal conscious in my beauty, skincare, food, and home good products. Those areas are easy not only because of their marketing and open reputations, but also because there are apps available for consumers to check on those products and companies.

An area I haven’t been as vigilant in has been apparel and home decor. After some research, I’ve found some great companies that I not only highly recommend to friends and family but also will be purchasing gifts from these amazing companies this holiday season!

PACT: Change you can wear | website
This wonderful company sells organic cotton, fair trade certified, sweatshop free every day basics perfect for the athlete, stay at home mom, and college student in your life.

Personal favorite: Stretch-fit flare pants
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New Belgium Brewery | website
If you’re going to or hosting a holiday party this year, I highly suggest you give your money to New Belgium Brewery. Not only are they one of the most eco-friendly companies out there, but they also are very transparent about their environmental impact…plus, they also carry options for your GF friends, too!

Personal favorite: Tartastic lemon ginger sour aletartastic_l

Sierra Club | website
For the animal lover, nature adventurer, or kids in your life the Sierra Club offers a variety of stuffed animals included in your donation to their greatly important organization.

Personal favorite: Black bear stuffie w/ John Muir inspired backpack
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Ethics Supply Co. | website
Perfect gift for that special friend, partner, or family member you’ve gone on an adventure with. The scents on these candles are completely spot on, and will bring back great memories each time they are lit. The name shows that this company cares about its products, its impact on the environment, and its customers from start to finish. Made in the USA, you won’t regret splurging on these. Pssst! You can buy these on Anthropologie’s website, so stock up when they’re running a sale! 

Personal favorite: Yosemite’s Firefall
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Lush cosmetics | website
This eco and animal friendly company takes out the complication of picking gifts by offering multiple themed sets at a variety of budget levels. You really can’t go wrong getting a bath bomb + soap gift set for your sister-in-law, girls you used to babysit, or your college roommate!

Personal favorite: The Night Before Christmas gift set
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Honorable mentions
The companies and products listed below don’t have much on how eco-friendly they are, but do give back to great causes, regardless.

Bombas: One pair purchased = one pair donated | website
You may have seen these guys on Shark Tank, and it’s been nothing but up since then! This great company sells high quality sports performance, dress, and every day socks and with each purchase donates a pair to a homeless shelter since that is one of the items most needed. The price point seems higher, but the quality is there, PLUS remember that you are actually buying double the amount, you’re just donating half to people in need!

Personal favorite: Women’s brights 4-packScreen Shot 2016-11-27 at 2.07.21 PM.png

EcoFlower | website
Another Shark Tank gem, this company creates beautiful faux flowers masterpieces made from resources such as book pages, wood, and more! Instead of bringing a hostess a bottle of wine or real flowers, why not give her something to remember you by? *Note: Since these are hand made, it takes up to 2 weeks to create your order with the free shipping option. You can upgrade for $5 to have your order be put “in the front of the line.”

Personal favorite: Louisiana bloom tin can
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Why everyone should work retail during the holidays

Working in retail during the holiday season takes the happy into horror.

I have worked at least 7 holidays in retail. First one was at 16 as a sale associate while my last was as management. Regardless of the position I was in, it sucks. Capital S-U-C-K-S! Why? Let me provide you a simple numbered list as to the major reasons why being in the retail industry during the holiday season is one of the WORST times of the year:

  1. You work until it’s illegal for you to work any more that week. But sometimes you get sucked into working extra hours or even a split shift because a new temp decides to bail on her first shift & the team needs you!
  2. The big guys & gals say they appreciate you, but instead of showing it through a raise they order Domino’s pizza + discount Walgreens candy.
  3. Customers tend to personify the Grinch over Cindy Lou Who, but still expect you to treat them like Cindy Lou Who even after they’ve spit in your face.
  4. Last minute shoppers still expect you to have exactly what they want even though it’s 10 minutes before you close on Christmas Eve.
  5. Don’t you DARE say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” unless you expect to be corrected and perceived as offensive.
  6. You are allowed one day off – either day before a holiday or day after a holiday. So, if your tradition is to go out of town to see family, forget about it! Unless, you’re okay with hoping a redeye + heading straight to work from the airport.
  7. Everyone wants gift wrapping. If you are not a pro at gift wrapping, ask to be front zone or fitting room the entire holiday season or you will be crucified.

As many know, I do NOT like to tolerate any of the following: bullish*t, rude comments, a sense of entitlement, whining, temper tantrums, threats, or vanity. Understandably so, working the holidays completely drained me of the enthusiasm I have for the season. I’ve been in charge of making everyone else’s holiday a memorable one, but what about my own?

Now, this is a crazy (read: brilliant!) idea, but maybe if everyone aged 16 & up was required to work at least one holiday season in retail (November 1 through January 1), then maybe we wouldn’t be such asshole consumers?

Not only would requiring all individuals to work in retail allow them to feel the same emotions of despair, NOT joy, during the holiday season but it would provide them a reality check of maybe we’ve gotten to be a little bit too materialistic and lost the meaning of season.

But as long as holiday movies keep getting made, my genius idea will never grow into fruition. ::Sigh::

But I do wonder if my retail experienced readers find yourself getting back into the holiday mayhem as a shopper, or do you still hold on to the empathy you have for the store workers who brave this crazy storm?

For those of you working holiday this year, here’s another numbered list with some points of advice:

  1. Even if you’re hired as seasonal, you are expected to work. If you think you can request days off, think again. Not only will management hate you, but your new co-workers will hate you.
  2. When in doubt, smile it out. I got through some of the most ridiculous customer situations by just smiling softly as the customer ranted and raved. Typically, when a customer is cranky during the season, it has nothing to do with you and letting him or her let it all out will help him or her to realize they’re being a dick. This isn’t always the case, but I’ve found just listening to be the best response to cray.
  3. If you feel overwhelmed on Black Friday or Boxing Day, don’t hold it in. Communication to your manager on duty is key. If you need a second set of eyes, don’t be afraid to ask. If you need a break off the floor to gather your thoughts, ask. If you aren’t sure of an answer to a question, be honest with the customer about your limitations and then ask someone else.
  4. Technology will fail you. Often at the worst times. Remember, it is out of your control.
  5. Get to work 10 minutes early so you can walk the sales floor and have an idea of your surroundings. Nothing worse than running around like a chicken with your head cut off.
  6. Be a team player. You all are in this together. Don’t take out your negative emotions onto your peers. If you do, it’ll be all down hill from there.

Good luck, holiday workers! I’ll be rooting for you from the comfort of my computer screen!