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CEP Toronto’s Official Sustainability Inspired & Canadian-Owned Gift Guide 2020

‘Tis the season to spread love and joy, and what better way to show your appreciation than giving your friends and family gifts that are not only sustainable, but also support local Canadian-owned businesses?

Here are some curated gift ideas and considerations from the CEP Toronto team for those who want to gift better and greener.

Lively Soap

Launched in September of 2020 by owners Ruth and Anshul, Lively Soap is all about luxury and sustainability. They provide high-quality handmade soaps made of natural plant oils that are Canadian made, planet-friendly and gentle on your skin. Their business incorporates sustainability principles from their supply chain process to their ingredients and packaging.

Forget Me Not Market

An Etsy shop of beautiful hand-sewn home goods and gifts that are made with eco-friendly linen and repurposed/recycled fabric. You can find aprons, bento and bread bags, fabric headbands and reusable cloth wrapping material to elevate your gift wrapping. Carlee is passionate about using eco-friendly methods to create her products.

Cup of Té

Recognized as one of Oprah’s favourite things in 2020 and made locally in Ontario, Cup of Té’s collection of organic ethically-sourced loose leaf teas make the perfect gift for tea lovers. From teaware and accessories to green tea and caffeine-free options, there is something for everyone. Founded by Taylor Lindsay-Noel, you’ll be supporting a black female owned business.


Who doesn’t love a reusable bottle? What’s even better is being able to add a personalized touch! Founders Chen and Leo are two engineers from Edmonton who strived to reduce single-use plastics and create high-quality stainless steel bottles where you can customize with logos, graphics, photos or any design you want.


Knix is a Toronto-based company that creates comfortable bras and leakproof underwear to help you feel more comfortable in your own skin. Founder Joanna Griffiths is a trailblazer for creating their Leakproof Underwear which helps women eliminate the use of tampons and pads during their period. They also consider their impact on the environment throughout their production, transportation, and consumption of their products.


This one is for all the plant moms and dads! eco|stems is an environmentally and socially sustainability plant and flower shop in Toronto. You can find terrariums, air plants, flower arrangements, and indoor houseplants for any plant lover in your life. They offer local delivery and pickup options.


A beautiful shop located in the heart of the Beaches on Queen St. East in Toronto, THE CURATED MARKET Co. is where you’ll find handcrafted goods made by local artists and makers. As a fellow maker herself, Lilly’s shop offers handmade and eco-friendly products such as natural skincare, artwork, cards, jewlery, zero-waste products and much more. During the pandemic, they are offering virtual shopping appointments, curbside pickup.

Lemon & Lavender

Lemon & Lavender is a boutique shop in Toronto that offers a large selection of unique handmade gifts. You can shop online to find a variety of gift sets, natural cleaning products, wellness inspired products, stationery, home decor and more. They are currently available for curbside pickup and local delivery.

CEP Toronto’s Local Eco Business Connection Series

For more local and eco-friendly businesses to check-out, read our blog series where we interviewed Toronto-based businesses who have a sustainability-driven business, such as zero-waste store, bare market; sustainable jewelry store, SPIRIT OF VERA; and others.

Rethink your Gift Wrapping

According to a Zero Waste Canada, 545,000 tonnes of waste is generated from gift wrapping and shopping bags, and 6 million rolls of tape are used for gift wrapping during the holiday season every year. The rolls of gift wrapping you get from the store are pretty and festive, but the bad news is, they can’t be easily recycled due to the glitter and dyes. And if there is tape on them, they can’t be recycled either.

Silver Reusable Satin Cloth Gift Wrap
Silver Reusable Gift Wrapping from Forget Me Not Market

Here are some ideas to ‘green’ your wrapping!

  1. Reuse, reuse, reuse! If you have old newspaper or scrap paper lying around the house or gift bags from your birthday or last year’s Christmas, why not repurpose it for gift wrapping?

  2. Wrap it in cloth. Inspired by a traditional Japanese wrapping technique called Furoshiki, cloth wrapping is making a comeback. It’s an elegant and beautiful way to wrap your gifts that’s also reusable. You can find cloths from the craft store, or check out the Forget me not Market on Etsy we mentioned in our gift guide.

  3. Plastic tape not required. Instead of plastic tape, find paper kraft tape that uses a biodegradable adhesive and paper exterior that can be recycled. Alternatively, you can use twine string or fabric to tie it together.

  4. Say no to glitter. Who else has opened a gift with a glittery ribbon or card that ends up on your clothes, hair and all corners of your house? Me! It’s not only messy, but the tiny glitters are a form of microplastics that pollute our oceans and waterways. Ditch the decorative glitter and get creative with your decorations and cards. Slip in some pine cones and broken-off pieces of your christmas tree or pine trees. DIY your own cards or find cards that are made with recycled papers. There are even cards made with embedded seeds so it can be planted in the spring.

We hope you enjoy this guide and take a more sustainable approach to gift shopping during the holidays and all year round. Happy holidays!

Disclaimer: CEP Toronto is not affiliated with any of the products and brands mentioned in this post.

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