Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Intellectual

November 21, 2020  •   2 min read


We’re sharing sustainable gift ideas for the intellectual that have been curated and hand-selected for the highest quality and ethical & environmental manufacturing processes. The intellectual in your life is sure to appreciate a gift that benefits others in a positive way, and one that is socially-responsible. Whether you choose to surprise them with a subscription to the Economist, or a book on the Hidden Life of Trees, support sustainable gifting during the most indulgent time of year.  


1. DRIFT Magazine Subscription, $52 USD/year

For the coffee-loving intellectual, a subscription to Drift magazine is the best gift to give. Taking an in-depth and historically-centred approach to coffee, each issue explores coffee in a different city around the world. Learn about the origins of coffee in that city, where the best places to enjoy it are, and the stories of the local baristas, vendors, and café owners. Sustainable gift ideas for the intellectual can include literature in areas that they are passionate about or fond of. Try finding other magazine subscriptions that might speak to them, personally. 

2. Book of the Month Club Subscription, $45-$150 USD

Your bookworm friend won’t complain when you get them a subscription to the Book of the Month Club. Your friend can choose from five of the best new reads every month, and have them delivered to their doorstep. Instead of fretting over which book to get them, let them choose. Pick from a 3, 6- or 12-month plan, and all your friend has to do from there is pick their most-desired reads.

3. Thesus, Rain Boots, $138 CAD

For the intellectual who loves solitary walks in the rain, these Canadian-made rain boots are the perfect gift. Thesus (formerly Alice + Whittles) favours transparency, ethical manufacturing, and worker empowerment. With natural rubber sourced from local rainforests in Sri Lanka, this brand ensures environmental responsibility, socially-beneficial trade, and worker safety.

4. Blisscraft and Brazen, The Original Couch Arm Wrap, $250 USD +

The original wooden couch arm wrap is made in Canada from Bliss Craft and Brazen. The intellectual in your life will get great use out of this. Perfect for balancing a laptop, book or drink on, transform your friend’s couch into a mini office. Handmade from solid wood and without the use of formaldehyde wood glue.

5. Museum Membership, $150 CAD +

The intellectual in your life will love the chance to infinitely tour their favourite museum or art gallery. A membership to the places they love the most, is a great way to skip the material gift and give them the opportunity to explore inspiring places, with unlimited access to talks, experiences, and exhibits.

6. The Economist, Subscription, $12 CAD for 12 issues

Give your intellect friend a portal into the world’s most pressing issues and discoveries with a subscription to The Economist. Choose from either print or digital subscriptions, and help keep them up to date with the globe’s happenings. In print since September 1843, The Economist is an established source of the best information.

7. House of Marley, No Bounds Sport, $119.99 USD

The intellect in your life will enjoy listening to podcasts and audio books on this portable Bluetooth speaker from House of Marley. With 12-hour battery life, a waterproof design, and 360° sound, this portable speaker is crafted from recyclable aluminum, recycled fabric that is 30% reclaimed organic cotton, 30% reclaimed hemp and 40% recycled PET, and reclaimed and upcycled post-consumer waste silicone. Each purchase plants one tree, contributing to global reforestation. Your intellect friend’s learning will now know no bounds.

8. Ode to Things, Carl Auböck, Oversized Paperclip, $250 USD

This giant, oversized paperclip marries sculptural design with the functionality of an everyday object. This bold desk accessory can be used as a paper fastener or bookmark, as well as a gorgeous paperweight. Hand-crafted from solid brass, this paperclip is the perfect example of Austrian modernism. At 9 inches, the intellect in your life will have a lot to boast about.

9. The Hidden Life of Trees, $29.95 CAD

The intellect in your life will love this international bestselling book by Peter Wohlleben, where he explores the idea that trees are social beings with networks and communities. This ground-breaking scientific discovery describes how trees are like human families, with parents living with their children, communicating with them, supporting them as they grow, sharing nutrients with others in the community who are sick or struggling, and even warning each other of impending danger. A fascinating peek into the woodlands of the world, your intellect friend won’t beleaf the amazing complexities uncovered.

10. Harvest and Mill, Organic Cotton Socks, $10 USD

The intellectual in your life will love this pair of cozy reading socks, made from organic cotton, grown, spun and knit in the US. Harvest and Mill demonstrates that not all cotton is white, showcasing the plant’s beautiful fibres that are naturally brown, tan, green or cream coloured. Because heirloom cotton doesn’t need to be dyed, it uses significantly less water, energy and resources. A pair of these socks saves 30.8 days of drinking water and 3.9 sq feet of farmed land – the intellectual in your life won’t just love wearing these, but will love learning about them too!

11. Articture, Mersenne Speaker Table, $499 USD

For the tech-loving intellectual, this speaker table from Articture provides an immersive sound experience and combines functionality with style. Using high-quality materials in its wooden design and smooth fabric speaker body, this table is multifunctional, acting as an end table, high-range Bluetooth speaker, and eye-catching piece of furniture. Articture prides itself on its rigorous quality control protocol and makes their pieces to last. The intellectual in your life will love listening to podcasts and audio books here, while sipping on their favourite warm drink.

12. Sapiens, $15 CAD

For the history buff who loves learning about the etymology of things, Sapiens is destined to become a modern classic, teaching us about the ground-breaking history of humankind. Asking and answering questions about our species, the battle for dominance, how our ancestors came together to build kingdoms and cities, and a look at the many revolutions (cognitive, agricultural, scientific) this book is an intellectual’s dream. Be prepared for some enlightening banter post-holiday season!

13. LOHN, Candles, $39 CAD 

The intellectual in your life will love the intention behind these expertly hand-crafted candles. Made in their own custom scent blending studio, LOHN creates scents designed to transport us to another time and place. With the belief that scent is part of our personal journey, these candles reimagine the ancient world, bringing to life trade routes, forests and fields, bazaars and old-world perfumeries, with each scent profile having its own unique narrative. Hand-poured using sustainable coconut and soy wax, non-toxic, paraben, phthalate and cruelty-free, LOHN will take your intellectual friend on a journey too hot to candle!

14. Jiggy Puzzles, $49 USD

Elevating the experience of a puzzle, this female-founded company supports and highlights the artwork of emerging female artists from around the world, with a portion of each sale going directly to the artist. Not just for play, these puzzles can be used as fun wall décor, with each puzzle coming with specific glue to keep the pieces together. Jiggy ships carbon neutral and each puzzle comes in a reusable glass jar, instead of a plastic bag like most brands. The intellectual in your life will love spending hours putting the pieces together, as well as knowing they’re supporting small artists.

15. Emergence Magazine, Print Issue, $30 USD

The intellectual in your life will adore these print issues from Emergence Magazine featuring a collection of essays, poems, adapted multimedia stories, and photo series. The stories here are from revered novelists, writers, researchers, ecologists, Indigenous community members, and more. Exploring the timeless connections between ecology, culture and spirituality, the intellectual in your life will expand their mind to new ideas, alongside a better understanding of nature and humankind.

16. Ordinary Habit, Puzzle, $40 USD

Founded with a simple purpose, Ordinary Habits aims to create artful objects that are designed to be both fun and functional, helping people access moments of calm and connectedness. These puzzles are simple, beautiful and luxurious in quality, serving as a form of tactile meditation. The intellectual in your life will love the mindfulness these puzzles bring about, as well as the brand’s recurring donations to groups that support emotional and mental wellness. Gift giving doesn’t have to be so puzzling after all!

17. Somavedic, Vedic, $1,190 CAD – FORAGE10 for 10% off

For the intellectual who has read up on all the toxins in our environment and the effect EMFs have on our bodies and health, Somavedic will be just the gift for them. After years of innovation, research and testing, Somavedic’s devices are making noticeable differences in thousands of people’s homes. Helping to block harmful EMFs from phones, laptops, wifi routers, Bluetooth devices etc., these devices aid with anxiety, depression, brain fog, fatigue, irritability, tantrums in children, and quality of sleep. Get your loved one a Somavedic and watch the quality of their life improve!

18. The Mysteries of Sleep, $39 USD

From blue light to pink noise, Da Vinci to Feng Shui, hunter-gatherers to NASA, The Mysteries of Sleep is an endlessly fascinating grab bag of knowledge about the third of our lives spent with our heads on our pillows. The intellectual in your life will love the magical artwork, memorable explanations, and pointers on how to get the most out of their snooze. Help them sleep into a deep slumber with this beautiful book – but let’s just hope they don’t stay up all night reading it!

19. Opus Mind, Circular Backpack, $295 USD

With more than 15 million tons of textile waste being generated in the US each year, Opus Mind decided to transform those discarded leather scraps into a long-lasting, timeless backpack, aptly named the Circular Backpack. Truly sustainable from its conception to execution, this backpack uses 90% less water than ordinary leather processing, and is ethically made by expert artisans. The intellectual in your life will love learning about this bag as much as they’ll love filling it with their favourite reads.

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