14 Cool Things: ODP-Approved Gifts for Everyone on Your List This Year


By Zoe Hawryluk, ODP Director of Digital Content

As the holidays are here, we’re all doing a virtual mad dash to make sure we take care of everyone on our gift lists. This year looks a little different from previous years, and many small businesses are struggling. We believe that supporting these businesses strengthen our communities, and we want to encourage our readers to shop small and local this year. To help with the holiday gift-giving stress, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite unique, sustainable, queer- and BIPOC-owned small businesses that give back. We hope you love them, too. From apparel to candles, to jewelry, to socks, to stationery – this list has something for everyone. Send us pictures of Friends of the Planet enjoying the gifts you select and we will share them on social media!

Parks Project

Parks Project is an online marketplace for artistic apparel, accessories, and housewares featuring unique designs based on your favorite outdoor activities and national parks. They partner with nature conservancies and foundations to fund education and advocacy projects that protect the future of America’s public lands.

Frères Branchiaux Candle Co.

Frères Branchiaux is a clean and eco-friendly candle company founded by three young Black brothers in Baltimore, MD. On top of creating clean and incredible smelling candles, they donate 10% of proceeds to homeless shelters nationwide. They also have a candle jar recycling program where you can return an empty candle jar to receive a discount on your next purchase.

Leaf Shave

Over 163 million consumers in the United States use disposable razors, amounting to 3 billion plastic razors disposed of each year. Leaf Shave is set out to save you money and dramatically reduce plastic waste from shaving–their carbon neutral-certified business produces, packages, and ships their metal razors 100% plastic-free and donate to climate action nonprofits.

The Giving Grace Shop

This fun Etsy store creates topical and witty custom t-shirts and stickers that also give back. For every purchase, the artist sends a card letting you know which organization your purchase benefits. It’s also considered a top shop for gifts by Etsy.com.

Love Your Melon

Love Your Melon began in 2012 because two college students wanted to put a knit hat on every child battling cancer in America. Every purchase on the website, whether it is a knit hat, mask, or accessory, 50% of profits are donated to nonprofit organizations around the world leading the fight against pediatric cancer. To date, they have donated over $7.2 million to these organizations and over 200,000 hats to children battling cancer.


For the reader in your life, thriftbooks is an online marketplace for new and used books. They wrote the original software that Amazon used to sell books, but knew they had a greater responsibility to protect the environment and give back to their communities. They save millions of books from being destroyed each year, and any books that can’t be salvaged and saved are recycled to create new books. You can find almost any book on this website, including some lightly used bestsellers for less than $10.

Love Hand and Heart

This Etsy shop features one-of-a-kind, handcrafted, and lightweight clay jewelry created by a talented woman of color. Artist Walanya Vongsviarates puts all of herself into her creative, colorful, incredibly detailed designs. Her shop has earrings specifically for the holiday season, as well as the opportunity to commission custom designs.


Socks are the number one most requested item by people experiencing homelessness. When you purchase a pair of Bombas socks, they donate a pair to someone in need. The socks that are donated are the same high-quality material as the ones you purchase. They have donated over 40 million items to over 2,500 community organizations around the country to date.

Queer Candle Co.

Owned by a queer couple in New York, Queer Candle Co. features detailed and clean soy wax candles in luxurious scents that are fresh, non-toxic, and authentic. The company donates 10% of their monthly earnings to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an NYC grassroots organization ensuring the freedom and safety of all LGBTQ+ individuals regardless of race or income.


Allbirds is a certified B Corp, with their entire company revolving around the environment and sustainability. Allbirds shoes are made of 100% merino wool and other natural. sustainable materials. All of their shoes are packaged in 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard, and customers can send their lightly used sneakers back to the company for them to be donated to those in need.

Adam J. Kurtz

Adam JK is an award-winning gay artist from New York whose colorful, down to earth work is a meaningful gift for the holidays, any special occasion, or just because. He creates planners, books, pins, prints, and apparel featuring snappy quotes and vulnerable anecdotes that feel like therapeutic self-care.

Chiegeshiuka Agu

Chiegeshiuka Agu is a powerful black woman from Ohio who creates art for your ears. With inspiration and patterns from her African cultural roots, she creates small batches of colorful earrings and jewelry for everyone at incredibly affordable prices.

Outdoor Afro

Outdoor Afro is the nation’s leading, cutting edge network that celebrates and is committed to connecting Black people with nature and changing the face of leadership outdoors. They have a merchandise store that features shirts, hats, and bottles that give back to the organization. We love their collaboration with Smartwool on a high-quality hiking sock.

Ladyfingers Letterpress

Award-winning Ladyfingers Letterpress is an LGBTQ+ owned-and-operated stationery and gift brand based in Colorado Springs, CO. They have affordable options for everything from cards, to tote bags, to stickers, and they focus on supporting Black art and artists.

Up Next

The Dark Secrets of the Apparel Industry

The Dark Secrets of the Apparel Industry

By Alejandra Pollak, Originally published September 14, 2021   New York Fashion Week (NYFW) took place from September 8th through 14th. On its final night, all eyes were on the Met Gala in New York City, arguably fashion’s biggest night of the year. Designers, models, celebrities, influencers, and the media — the entire fashion world — […]

Continue Reading 1458 words
One Cool Thing: Happy Meal, Happy Earth

One Cool Thing: Happy Meal, Happy Earth

The McDonald’s toys you grew up loving (and then losing under the seats in your mom’s car) are going green. The iconic toys that come in every meal will soon be made mostly from corn and other sustainable materials instead of petroleum-based plastics. The company hopes to make the transition complete across all stores globally […]

Continue Reading 129 words
One Cool Thing: Get on Your E-Bikes and Ride

One Cool Thing: Get on Your E-Bikes and Ride

Bike riders and commuters across the nation will be getting some special benefits for purchasing an electric bicycle. Included in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget plan is $7.4 billion in tax credits for e-bike purchases. The administration hopes that it can encourage more people to choose biking instead of driving to help curb transportation emissions, […]

Continue Reading 135 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.