Maybe I should preface this by saying this is more of a low-waste gift guide. But now that you’re here, let’s keep going. This is filled with unique gifts, experiences and ideas for your family, loved ones, friends, co-workers, secret santas, acquaintances and whomever made need a little cheer. They’re all tied together by one thing: they are sustainable options. On last year’s gift guide, I started by saying that the key to truly eliminate waste with gift giving was to tune into who you’re shopping for and what they gravitate to. If you’re interested in my thoughts on that, you can check that out here. With that said, I also think it’s important to explain your gift to someone. Sometimes it’s not the gift itself as much as it’s the thought, process, purpose or where it came from. At LYM, I’m always happy to write up a card explaining what is in the package or gift and what it’s used for to elevate the experience for your loved one.


Let’s start out by talking about GIFT WRAPPING. LYM is selling wrapping paper this year that has been hand stamped with naturally derived paint. These paints really pop against the brown paper which is recycled, recyclable and biodegradable. Due to the paint being naturally derived and therefore non-toxic, it’s also readily biodegradable. Once it’s been used/unwrapped, you could save it as filler for packages or for next year’s “tissue paper” or gift baskets. Find it here, here and here!


For the OC local:

  1. Facials in a Bag - Skin Fitness is offering specialty and custom facials in a bag. Everything you need, including thorough directions, for an at-home facial. Amanda will be able to take information you’ve given her to decide what products will best suit your needs - including the famous jelly mask.

  2. Flowers - Little Miss Lovely is a local florist that curates weddings flowers, event florals, bouquet designs, handmade products and workshops. Head to her website to see if any of her offerings speak to you. Maybe you buy someone a flower delivery for a couple months, maybe you enroll yourselves into a workshop or maybe you buy a custom made flower crown for something special. Take a look at her handmade wreaths created from pieces of nature she foraged on her own property.

  3. Mead - The Buzz Meadery recently opened in the area & are serving up a new type of adult beverage to the area. They source local fermentables (honey and fruits) and bottle their product in glass. It can be purchased by the bottle or you can stop by their tasting room to enjoy a flight. When you’re finished with the bottle, return it to be recycled/reused and receive a discount on your next purchase. Look into the recently launched Bottle Club with monthly releases of several types in smaller bottles which allows you to also receive discounts. It’s also Gluten Free so it makes it easy for everyone to drink!

  4. Winterfest of Lights - I mentioned this last year too, but this year they’ve revisited it and it’s on foot. It will provide a different perspective and different feeling. I would imagine it will take longer to get through and will be more of a night out. Pack up your hot chocolate and head out to check it out. This can be a special night out with someone you love - treat them to dinner afterwards to finish off the gift.

For the Foodie:

  1. The Ultimate, Big or Little Kitchen Zero-Waste Kit - These three different kits are bundled with all things you need for sustainable swaps within the kitchen. Some of these things are unique products that make not only being “green” in the kitchen easier but could possibly make meal prep and clean up easier too.

  2. Silicone Baking Mat - these things are the real deal in the kitchen. They are totally non-stick and a breeze to clean up. They replace the need for foil when cooking. They have multiple uses and different sizes. Use for sweet or salty as they don’t take on any flavors. Recently, I placed this silicone mat over a dough ball to roll out pizza crust and it was seamless. I never knew what I was missing but now that I have one, I use it no less than 5x a week.

  3. Cookbooks - Generally speaking I gravitate to library lends or digital books. Ya know, keeping it green. However, when it’s a book I will continue to reference over the years I will invest in a cookbook. There is something so refreshing about flipping through a cookbook to ignite things in the kitchen. It allows you to spend a little extra time and love in your meals. To take a pause rather than rushing through the process. It makes it extra special. There are so many talented chefs and recipe developers putting out books filled with delicious recipes filled with whole foods. Bonus points if you visit a local or indie bookshop to find one! Also, check in with any favorite food bloggers, I’ve noticed a lot of them are putting pens to paper rather than website (so to speak) and publishing their own books. A few I love: Love is Served, Eat Feel Fresh and Inspiralized and Beyond.

  4. Course dinners or classes at a local restaurant - This can be a treat for the two of you or a gift for them to take someone else. Regardless, course dinners, especially those with themes or pairings, create a different type of experience out that can feel special. Cooking classes are a way to learn something new, have a little fun and support local businesses also.

  5. Local Veggie Boxes, Deliveries or Subscriptions - This does two things; supports local farmers and connects your loved one with fresh and locally grown veggies. Besides supporting small businesses and stimulating local economy, the vegetables are likely to be healthier than those bought within the stores thanks to them being grown on a smaller scale with healthier soil. Generally speaking these veggies come in paper bags or cardboard rather than plastic (I personally reach out and ask for mine to be without plastic!). You could reach out to the farmer and ask to pre-pay or subscribe someone for the deliveries. Bonus if they like to get creative in the kitchen, you can challenge them to whip up something seasonal and tasty from the box. Currently in Berlin, MD, Splendid Earth Farms is doing a weekly box.

  6. RAW Designs Cheese Boards - these cheese and cutting boards are crafted from recycled wood by hand and designed with resin to make unique pieces. Local to the OC, it’s a woman-owned business who seeks inspiration from nature and the sea. They second as a piece of art for the kitchen. I have a wall piece that I actually use as a “couch table” to hold my coffee, tea or laptop when relaxing.

  7. Farmers Market Goods - A string bag and a couple reusable produce bags will be all you need to stock up at the market or the produce aisle. Eliminating single-use plastic, it’s the gift that keeps giving.

  8. Hot Sauce - The perfect gift for the spice head in your life, Hell Fire Detroit's sauces are packaged entirely in biodegradable or recyclable materials. There's a small-batch Hell Fire Detroit sauce for everyone- from mild poblano to the adventurous Cabernet and Reaper sauce.

For the Wellness Lover…or Wannabe Wellness, because we all need it:

  1. Reiki & Yoga with Emmanuelle Clouser - Extremely educated, practiced and experienced in her craft; her goal is to help you live a healthier life, whatever that means to you. Reiki is a form of energy healing with roots in the Japanese tradition. It is a subtle form of energy work that can help ease tension and stress and is often used for personal wellness. This technique helps activate the natural healing processes of the body and restore overall well-being. Emmanuelle also offers in-depth and personalized private yoga sessions. Reach out here for more details on services, practices and pricing. These offerings are unique, so don’t be shy about asking questions about this magic.

  2. CBD Products - CBD is everywhere, however it’s not all grown, harvested and turned into products the same. It’s also extremely beneficial to have someone selling it to you that knows what they’re talking about. Someone who has educated themselves and genuinely wants healing for you. You’ll find that knowledge here at Health Freedom in Berlin, MD.

  3. Gift Cards to services - I know gift cards aren’t always the best gift to give but when they’re personal like this, it’s a little different. Not all wellness services are covered by insurance or all insurances. Acupuncture, massage therapy, reflexology, yoga, meditation, salt floating, etc. are examples of that. If you’re loved one has expressed interested in something like this, and the cost is the issue as to why they haven’t gone yet, consider pre-paying for a service for them or getting a gift card to get them started. Remember to include information and explain to them why you gave the gift (aka that you were listening!) and it’ll be even better.

  4. LYM’s Ultimate & Big Self Care Zero-Waste Kit - there are two different levels to this kit, the Ultimate and the Big. Both are full of mindfully selected things for time spent in self-care. These products will make one feel good, but will also be good for the planet.

  5. Loofah Pumice Soap - this soap has organic coconut oil, shea butter & coconut milk mixed in with pieces of loofah and essential oils. It has a cooling effect and will scrub the dead skin off your feet or other body parts. Consciously and mindfully created in a sustainable manner.

  6. Body Butter - crafted in Southern, DE. This is a rich, whipped body butter that deeply moisturizes your skin. Made with skin-loving shea butter, mango butter and jojoba oil and deliciously scented with cardamom, orange and frankincense essential oils. Packaged in a UV-protective amber glass jar that can be reused and recycled.

  7. Essential Oil Aroma Rollers - carry one wherever you go and never be without the ability to seek aromatherapy. Consciously created and blended with pure botanical and essential oils, resins and absolutes. Only the purest, finest oils available - ingredients chosen with extreme care and intention.

  8. Smudge Stick - grown, dried and wrapped by Little Miss Lovely, Floral Designs. This smudge stick bundle comes with a scallop shell for burning, a sage bundle and a rose quartz. Sage is known for its healing properties. Burning sage helps with spiritual cleansing, restores positive energy, and revives one’s environment.

  9. Traditional Medicinals Herbs and Teas - these teas full of healthy herbs will provide ease to whatever ailment one may have, even if it’s as simple as needing to relax. Their packaging is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.

  10. Yoga Mats - Liforme and Yoloha Yoga. These two brands are yoga mats that I’ve thoroughly used and loved. Not only that, they’re made sustainably. For the Yoloha mats, the cork is harvested ethically and for the Liforme mats, they’re biodegradable when you’re finished with them.

  11. Peace Juice - we have all been through a lot and that's just worldwide and as a nation. You’ve probably had your own things you’ve been through. Packaged in glass and full of plant medicine, these little supplements created by an herbalist will help calm you down, boost your immunity, balance within amongst other things. This Peace Juice by Organic Olivia will instantly release tension and nervousness and calm the body.

For the Adventurer or Traveler:

  1. LYM Silicone Pint & Lid - These cups are fantastic. Silicone, flexible, un-breakable. 16 ounce silicone pints are more than a rugged alternative to the beer glass. These pints are perfect for beach days, boat rides, taking hikes and camping out. Did I mention hammock swings and outdoor concerts? From the patio to the campground, beach vacation or daily commute, these versatile drinking glasses are as flexible in shape as they are in utility. These cups are thick and sturdy, yet have squeezable walls that are not too squishy, and a grippy outer surface for extra safety.

  2. The Ultimate or Big Adventure Zero-Waste Kits - these consciously curated kits have lots of sustainable options for products that you, or your loved ones, could need for adventures big and small. As they adventure on, their impact will be minimal and positive.

  3. Toothpaste Tablets - a new way to brush. Pop the tablet into your mouth, chew a few times and brush as you normally would with a wet toothbrush. Really great for backpacking, camping and road trips. Easy to store and carry around.

  4. Bamboo Cutlery - Always be prepared for snacks on the go. Say no to single-use plastics whenever you can. This easy to carry pouch is always ready to slip into your bag or pocket. This also is great for camping, road trips & backpacking.

  5. Rumble Go - a small cold brew maker designed to steep coffee grounds on the go. Compatible with a wide mouth water bottle. In 8-12 hours at room temperate (no need to refrigerate while steeping) you’ll have smooth, rich and bold cold brew. This process of making the coffee taste different than typical drip so you can heat it up and enjoy it hot and it will be just as delicious and bold. You can hike to camp and brew coffee for later at the same exact time. I love to fill it before I leave the house for a trip or adventure so it’s ready for me when I’m ready for it.

  6. Bicycle - try a new way of getting around. Get some exercise, fresh air and cut-back on emissions into the air. I’ve been riding a Huffy for years and have a basket and cup holder and am good to go.

  7. Bamboo Toothbrush Case - a toothbrush carrying tube made entirely from bamboo. Bamboo is a natural microbial so it will help prevent any molding and a special design and air hole will also prevent most growth. It’s heavy duty and will easily slide into any pocket or bag and keep your toothbrush protected for even the smallest trips. It will last ages too and when it’s time to move on it will be readily biodegradable.

  8. Mountain Lake Decomposition Book - A bounded composition book made from 100% post consumer waste materials. Biodegradable when you’re finished with it. With a camp scene on the cover, this notebook gives travel junkies a place to write what they see, what they want to remember and how they feel. Or, if they’re currently landed and stuck, it gives them a place to write down their travel dreams.

  9. Solar Powered Power Bank - This power bank can be charged via USB or with an attachment (purchased separately) it can be charged via solar panels. Battery capacity gives about 2 recharges on most phones and can even boost a tablet in a pinch. Ideal for phones, GPS receivers, headlamps, fitness trackers and more. It’s the perfect size for any backpack, purse or carry-on. Great for adventures off the grid. The solar panels that this is compatible with gives you the solar collecting capability needed to charge up your phone, power bank or other small devices anywhere the sun shines. Built-in kickstand clicks into place at multiple angles, so you can easily position your panel for optimal solar collection.

  10. Fleece Pullover - while more expensive than it’s comparable counterparts, it’s with good reason. This Patagonia fleece pullover is a versatile, technical, midlayer fleece for stop/start activities in cold conditions. Made from 93% recycled polyester and constructed in a classic grid pattern to trap heat and wick moisture. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. Tough enough for the trails, cozy enough for cuddling up. A thin yet full of performance it can be layered on top of or underneath anything to keep you warm. Available in women’s & men’s . Shop their whole for the Planet sustainable line here.


For the Philanthropist type:

Do you have someone who doesn't need ANYTHING? Yet you’d still like to do something for them? Think outside the box and consider donating in their name or honor to a well-intentioned cause. Below are a few:

  1. Go Green OC - Go Green OC has recently gone through many efforts to start compositing in OC! Go Green wants to re-introduce dual-stream traditional recycling in Ocean City starting with cardboard and believes that burning of recyclables is unacceptable. They want to introduce composting to Ocean City. After introducing composting with a goal of removing 30% of organic waste, we want to focus on cardboard recycling. Go Green OC wants to introduce dual-stream recycling to businesses in Year 1. Currently, they are consulting with a local recycling company to walk them through the process of setting up an efficient sorting plant. To learn more about their actions, research, plans and mission head here. If you’re considering making a donation or volunteering, click here.

  2. Surfrider Foundation - Surfrider's main focuses are on plastic pollution, ocean protections, beach access for all, coastal preservation, and of course, clean water. We achieve this through the activist network of over 80 chapters across the nation who all work on a variety of common programs and campaigns. This includes things such as beach cleanups, ocean friendly gardens, ocean friendly restaurants,and the Rise Above Plastics program, which is aimed at reducing single-use plastic to help eliminate the impact of plastic on the marine environment. We also work on getting legislation passed at the local, state, and federal levels on topics such as reducing single-use plastics and shifting away from fossil fuels to protect our ocean and beaches. This is the page to become a member of the Ocean City chapter and therefore the donation would go toward supporting our local chapter's efforts. They can also just make a donation (if they don't want to become a member) by selecting the box "To Ocean City Chapter" under the "Other Ways to Give" text. Surfrider also has an online store that carries apparel but also has some Surfrider reusable items for sale (cups and water bottles), if interested in the traditional gift route that still gives back to Surfrider (note: donations from sales in the store would go straight to Surfrider HQ).

  3. Debriefing the Frontlines: Heal the Healers - Heal the Healers is a non-profit multifaceted mental health program for Registered Nurses across the United States. Initially created in response to COVID-19, it quickly became evident the need for a formal debriefing program stretches far beyond the global pandemic we are living in. Everyday, nurses are grieving traumas that cannot be unseen. Traumas requiring emotional support, self reflection and debriefing. Heal the Healers creates a psychologically safe space for nurses to express emotion without fear of judgment. Drawing upon her 16 years within the nursing profession, experience within the walls of the burn trauma ICU and debriefing training, Tara Kosmas (MSN, RN, CHSE, SOAR) artfully holds for conversations regarding the complex emotions we are feeling. Consider making a donation, checking out this valuable resource or sharing it with others by clicking here.

Book Nerds:

  1. The Book Drop - This is a monthly book subscription that was created by Bethany Beach Books (which is a neighboring beach town to LYM). They offer different types of subscriptions that best suit the recipient and the subscriptions can be mixed and matched for different types of books. You can gift a month, three months, six months or a whole year to someone. This supports an Indie bookstore and gives something for your loved one to look forward to. The books are thoughtfully selected for each month’s shipment.

  2. A library card - I shared this last year too. I’ve had the same library card since 5th grade. I don’t mean that I’ve had a library card since 5th grade, I had one before that, but I’ve had the same literal card since 5th grade. I’m now 30. You do the math. I love my library card. I love visits to the library. The smells. I love being able to use the statewide database to request books that my local library doesn’t carry & getting the email that they’re in. I’m not sure if it’s possible to sign someone else up for a library card (things may be different this year, they may be allowing online sign-ups) so if you do have to bring the recipient along, make it a fun date. Take them on a surprise outing, stop for coffee or lunch, use the time to connect and dedicate some time to wander the shelves after signing up for the card. Bonus, second hand books creates less waste.

  3. Gift cards or outings to local Indie bookstores - I get it, a lot of people order books from Amazon or from big box stores, it’s just books after all. But the thing is, although few and far between, book stores are SO RAD and deserve your business. They do what they can to revitalize the small business economy by creating quality connections between readers, collectors and booksellers. They seek out and support new or small-name authors whose works deserve to be read. They make connections within the community. When not in a pandemic, they have cozy author events. Reading itself is a beautiful escape in more than one way and books of all kinds are lovely gifts. Check out The Greyhound if you’re local to OC/Berlin. Southern Delaware, check out Bethany Beach Books and Browseabout Books.

  4. John Muir Books - a naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, botanist and advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the US (in the early 1900’s at that). He published 6 volumes of writings describing his adventures.

For the Homebody:

  1. Almond Cow - this machine creates nut and plant based milks as well as tonics. It makes making these milks easy and quick. It also makes clean up a breeze. It eliminates the single-use packaging (even if it’s not plastic, that cardboard generally isn’t recyclable or biodegradable), it makes healthy milks without weird ingredients or preservatives and you can repurpose the leftover pulp into different things. Almond Cow has a plethora of recipes for milks and for leftover pulp ingredients.

  2. The Ultimate, Big or Little Cleaning Zero-Waste Kits - There are three options for cleaning bundles filled with sustainable swaps from LYM. This is a carefully curated box of all things cleaning, but the sustainable versions that are either reusable or biodegradable.

  3. Swedish Dish Towels - these biodegradable paper towel replacements will last 6-9 months. A bonus is they come in many different cute prints so you can pick one out that best suits who you’re giving it to.

  4. Berkey Water Filters - these plastic-free & easy to use water filters will quickly filter water using minimal parts. Easy to clean and replace the parts. It’s a staple on our kitchen counter off to the side and is perfect for our needs. The included filters have been tested to remove 203 contaminants commonly found in drinking water. Excellent for refilling reusable water bottles.

  5. Lucerna Planta Candle - these soy candles are hand poured by a woman owned company in Charleston, SC. I, Lizzie, went to high school with the creator and am happy to carry Bohemia. The scent and story (each candle scent has a story ) that gives back to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. This has notes of bamboo, leaves and coconuts. The box is designed to be reused to hold your knick knacks. Each candle is created and packaged as sustainable as possible.

  6. Kristina Young Designs Pillow - pillows printed with original designs intended to spread feel good and cozy vibes. Made in small batches with love. You can also shop her prints & canvas wall hangings.

  7. Mineral Bath Salts - Salt soaks are packaged in a recycled paper envelope with a compostable plant resin sachet full of salt on the inside. Pure sea salt, Epsom salt and a bit of bio-dynamic raw honey intended for an exquisite soaking experience.

  8. Spiral Decomposition Book - a notebook made from 100% post consumer waste with ethereal designs on the cover. A place to catch one’s thoughts, gratitude lists, goals, doodles and so much more. Biodegradable when it’s time to be finished.

  9. An electric kettle - these things heat up almost instantly and use electricity than the stovetop. Hot tea, tonics, coffee, hot water with lemon or whatever else will be ready within seconds to cozy up with. Pair with the mesh tea strainer & bulk loose tea so they can create their own blends.

  10. Herb Garden - create an at-home herb garden to gift to someone so that they can grow their own herbs to use for cooking, tonics and teas. It will eliminate the need to purchase it and it’s definitely more enjoyable when it’s the fruit of your labor. If you’re feeling creative enough you can also decorate the planter. If you’re not feeling creative, already made options are available on Etsy.

  11. Grounding Oil - this company sources sustainable ingredients and packaging, uses post-consumer waste recycled packaging and shipping materials and ensures that their products and packaging are either compostable or recyclable. They purchase monthly carbon offsets through the B Corporation TerraPass as well as other initiatives to regenerate the environment. For every bottle you purchase they donate $1 to Annunciation House — aiding the migrant, homeless and economically vulnerable people of the border since 1978.

For Mama & Me:

  1. LYM’s Zero-Waste Ultimate and Big Mama & Me Kits - A handful of sustainable swaps for Mama and baby.

  2. Nipple Salve - For runners or a nursing mama, this balm will help soothe raw or irritated skin. Organic and non-toxic.

  3. Dry Shampoo - Organic and non-toxic dry shampoo to help refresh a tired mama’s roots. For light or dark hair. Easy and healthy to use.

  4. Crayons - These creative crayons are hand-made with beeswax, carnauba wax, coco butter and non-toxic earth pigments. They’re packaged in a 100% cotton bag and contains no plastic, paraffin wax, or soy wax. All of The Nature Atelier's products are designed to inspire the next generation of environmentalists through creative discovery, and everything from ingredients to packaging is eco-friendly.

  5. Cloth Napkins - small and extremely soft washable and reusable. Easy to carry with you and tackle any mess on the go. Soft enough to wipe baby’s face or tackle serious messes.

  6. Green Toys - Green Toys makes 100% recycled toys in the USA. They have different types of toys for different age ranges and are overall very cute.

  7. STEM Science Kits - these Kitchen Science Discovery Boxes will inspire pint-sized scientists with three creative STEM science experiments. It includes three projects making homemade soap, fizzy bath bombs and a volcano. Through a partnership with CarbonFund, Green Kid Craft offsets 100% of the carbon dioxide generated by their business and at least 1% of sales are donated to environmental organizations through their membership in 1% for the Planet.


I hope you’ve found this resourceful and it’s alleviated some stress during your holiday shopping season. Please remember that at LYM, I’m so happy to add hand-written cards explaining products and their importance or value with any purchase to go along with a gift. In addition to the Zero-Waste Kits from LYM listed on this gift guide, there are many more here.
Happy, Safe and Full of Love Holidays to you!
- Lizzie

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