Have a Happy (Eco-friendly, Cruelty-free) Holiday

Happy Holidays! Whether you celebrated a few weeks ago, or still have a few weeks to wait, the holiday season is upon us! The holidays can mean a lot of things to people such as spending time with your family and getting to bask in your appreciation and gratefulness for life and all you have been blessed with. But let’s not kid ourselves, holidays also mean PRESENTS!

Whether you are buying stocking stuffers for your family, or just treating yourself to a little special something, there is a way to combine the gift of giving with being the eco-friendly, cruelty-free advocate that you are! The Creatures Division and some of ISF’s other awesome volunteers put together some of our favorite eco-friendly, cruelty-free products to share with you to enjoy this holiday season and all year round for years to come!

“Some of my favorite cruelty free products are ice cream, and perfume. I love companies that provide cruelty free and vegan products. My first favorite vegan product is So Delicious coconut milk ice creams. They are truly “so delicious!” You get every bit as much flavor and creamy goodness with this vegan dish. They come in a variety of flavors and they even make an ice cream sandwich that is truly heavenly. I am also a big fan of Aveda, also known as Estee Lauder, products. They have everything from bath products to perfumes. I buy my favorite perfume from this company. They are a cruelty free committed company, which makes buying from them easy and guiltless.”-Megan Frison

“My favorite brand of cosmetics is Ecco Bella which features a line of all-organic products that are never tested on animals, environmentally friendly and 100% cruelty free. They make high quality makeup products, which are not only great to wear, but good for the planet, too. I love the perfume products especially, and they contain no water, dyes, GMO’s or preservatives. My favorite product is the Ecco Bella Organic Lavender Eau De Parfum because it has a great scent that is floral and fresh and I always get compliments on the fragrance. I also love the Ecco Bella Organic Vanilla Body Lotion because it keeps my skin moisturized and has an amazing vanilla scent that lasts all day. Ecco Bella offers skincare, bath and body products, fragrances, and cosmetics. The company believes in helping animals and sources ingredients from ethical suppliers of organic materials. All of the products are vegan, except for a few of the lip products which contain Carmine, a purified version of cochineal extract for the pink colors.”-Stefanie Schmidt

“There was a time when there were not many brands of personal care products from which to choose if you demanded cruelty free and organic. These were typically small companies many available only in their local area. Today, there is a dizzying variety of these from which to choose – but it’s actually much more difficult to find items which completely ‘meet’ my demands. Greenwashing, buyouts by larger, nonorganic and/or animal testing companies, and lingering questions about ingredients’ pedigrees have actually made it more of a challenge.  Dr. Bronner’s soap is one product I do still purchase which is readily available in most stores. It is fair trade, cruelty free, all vegetable based and organic. They have minimal packaging, which is 90% recycled paper content, and is therefore recyclable. I confess, I hadn’t read the ingredients in years. To my horror I discovered it contains palm oil! On the surface, what is used in Dr. Bronner’s appears to not be a conflict ingredient. It does, however, leave me wondering if I should continue to buy it or not.”-Lorelei O.

“You can go natural and cruelty free with make up without giving up quality. One of my favorite brands is Honeybee Gardens cosmetics.  I like the company because their products are natural, cruelty free, and have sustainability in mind.  If you aren’t familiar with this company check it out, there is a lot to like. My favorite product is the mascara, which is very smooth and natural looking.  This year, I made sure to buy a few extra as stocking stuffers for my closest friends. Other great animal friendly gifts ideas are making a donation to one of the many wildlife or animal organizations out there, including yours truly, ISF.  If you don’t go the donation route be sure to check out the organization’s store for great gear. And finally if you really want to think outside the box for holiday gifts, a box may just be the answer.  Supporting wildlife in your backyard is the perfect gift idea.  You could buy someone a bat box, a birdhouse, bird feeders, and native plants to attract our fellow pollinators who need us too!  They even have houses for bees and butterflies. You are sure to win points for originality on that!”-Kate Harms

“I love desert essence jojoba oil. I use it for my hair, and skin. It makes them both shiny and is great at getting all the stubborn makeup left from the day off. I love it!”-Catie Licalzi

I love, love, love Korres all natural products. Korres, a Greek brand, uses active ingredients found from plants for their makeup and skincare line. Their core principle is to produce products that are healthy for your skin but also healthy for the environment. Their plant operates entirely on hydroelectric power and uses 100% renewable energy! Their body wash smells heavenly – my favorite scent is Jasmine. I am also obsessed with their Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream. It’s perfect for those freezing winters in Chicago and keeps my face moisturized!” – Helen Nissan

“My favorite ‘I forgot to bring a lunch’ or ‘quick dinner’ is the Soul Vegan meals sold at my local Whole Foods. Found in the 'fresh' section, my absolute favorite is the macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and barbequed tofu meal-all vegan! It is ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, and they have a variety of entrée dinners and wraps to choose from! They come in a recyclable container, but honestly, I keep mine, wash it, and reuse it for future leftovers because it is made of fantastic quality.  I am also a big fan of Tieks vegan line of ballet flats. I literally stumbled across this company as I searched for a pair of brownish-colored ballet flats, and I hit the jackpot! I love wearing flats on casual Friday’s and when I travel because they are so easy to get on and off, and I love that they make a fun striped pair. Those will be my next purchase! Another really great way to celebrate the holiday that can get your whole family involved is to donate to your local no-kill animal shelter.  Contact the shelter and ask them what their biggest needs are, then send a quick email to the family and friends you will be seeing and ask them to bring something off the wishlist when you get together. Any animal shelter will love and appreciation the extra good will!”-Amanda Kaminski

When you are buying gifts and stocking stuffers for your loved ones (and yourself!) this season, and after keep in mind that gifts and fun indulgences can be eco and animal friendly too!  What are some of your favorite vegan and eco-friendly products? We want to know! Send them to us at Creatures@ISFoundation.net.

Happy holidays and may 2014 be your best year yet!


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