The John Lewis advert has been on, the aroma of mince pies and panic buying fills the air whilst every blogger and business under the sun is spewing out yet another “ultimate gift guide”. It can only mean one thing – Christmas is around the corner. The most wonderful time of year where we spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like. As a proud millennial I feel it’s time someone tapped these “ultimate gift guide” givers on the shoulder and let them in on a little secret. WE DON’T NEED ANYMORE STUFF.
Before you add yet another bath bomb set to your basket and the #boydidgood floods your Instagram alongside Michael Kors bags please have a wee peek of our alternative gift guide. A gift guide that shuns materialistic in favour of memories, in the hope of adding back a little sparkle to Christmas stockings. This guide will share not only sustainable gifts, but also little ways you can waste less this festive season.
So fear not, there is still time to “make 2019 your year” like Facebook said you had to, as you officially become Cindy Lou Who and rescue Christmas by giving your nearest and dearest a gift that’s filled with love, not headed for landfill.
These Sustainable gift ideas are not just for the hemp-loving hippies we’ve organised this guide to suit all ages from little eco-warriors to foodies and fitness fanatics – you can find eco-friendly gifts regardless of age or budget. To top it off, we’ve sprinkled our guide with sustainable tips and a few favourite hacks to ensure a guilt free Christmas.
However, despite our endless eco-friendly gift ideas before ANY purchase, always ask yourself will your gift receiver a) need this b) use this c) love this. If the answer is no to any of the above, don’t add to basket!
A GIFT THAT LASTS ALL YEAR LONG NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS
Sustainable Subscription Boxes
Because like puppies, gifts shouldn’t just be for Christmas. And unlike the Christmas number one, we’re not all about the one-hit wonders – we like the gifts that keep on giving so let’s talk subscription boxes. Back in the day, the only kind of subscriptions we’d heard of were magazines and although having Vogue delivered to the doorstep of your fave fashionista for the next 12 months is slightly more exciting than yet another hat & scarf set, we feel these subscription boxes make the perfect sustainable gifts.
This is because all the subscription boxes below follow the ec0-friendly ethos either by replacing single use plastic with more sustainable alternatives or simply offering a service that replaces a more wasteful one. From cruelty free make up to plastic free razors, there’s a subscription box that will make the perfect sustainable Christmas gift regardless of age or budget!
- Honestly Good Smoothies – Whether you’re trying to reverse some damage after the festive season or fancy a January health kick, this smoothie subscription box is ideal! Not only do they deliver the smoothie kits frozen to your door saving you the effort (and waste) of preparing your own but they use recyclable LDPE pouches to pack all the ingredients. As of January you can even return the pouches so they’ll do the recycling for you. All ingredients are 100% organic certified and each kit is pre-portioned meaning less potential waste for you (and effort chopping fruit & veg) Who said healthy was hard?!
- Friction Free Shave – Forget plastic, disposable razors these guys deliver beautiful metal razors (with optional engraving) to your door alongside a blade recycle and subscription service. Saving the planet and saving you time not to mention a perfect dad gift!
- Shorebox – They deliver sustainable goodies to your doorstep each month – meaning you can make a difference to the planet with very little effort whilst providing the perfect polite nudge to that awkward Aunt who still believes “climate warming is a myth.”
- Oddbox UK – Oddbox rescue the odd fruit and vegetables which aren’t pretty enough for the supermarket and deliver them to your door each month. Each box saves 3 kgs of CO2e & 557 litres of water on average no to mention the vast amount of food waste this avoids – suitable for couples, families or individuals. At the moment its only available in London, but fingers crossed it heads this way North soon!
- Ohne – These guys take the stress out of periods by offering a subscription service. Gifts don’t have to be glam, sometimes they can be useful like odd vegetables and tampons. Better yet, they offer 100% organic, 100% biodegradable, vegan and cruelty free tampons. You can tailor your order for the type of tampons you prefer and you’ll never be caught short as they’re delivered straight to your door in beautiful recycled packaging – every single month! They also offer CBD oil for cramps and “harmonally” oil for moody days (to be honest, if this came via drip I’m sure Daz would subscribe me pronto.)
- The Cruelty Free Beauty Box – Do you have a Mac fan in your house? Show them a photo or two of the bunnies that have worn their ruby woo lipstick before them and *fingers crossed* they won’t be a Mac fan much longer. There are a surprising amount of make up brands still testing on animals but this beauty box subscription service aims to change that. They offer an Ethical Rogue box for males, an Ethical Glow box and a plastic free beauty box subscription which you can personalise.
Subscriptions That Don’t Come In A Box
But let’s not stop at subscription boxes, your sustainable Christmas gift can be even more simple – think of the subscriptions your family use every year and consider one of these subscriptions like 12 little gifts…
- Cineworld Unlimited Card – No need to fight over the TV remote, buy one of these and they’ll never have to watch TV again. Cineworld Cards are incredible value for money and they usually include discounts on nearby restaurants as well as food in the cinema.
- Audible – Who doesn’t love listening to a psychological thriller as you do the dusting? Or an empowering autobiography as you do the school run? If you know a book fan, an audible subscription will change their life! We now consider it one of our road trip essentials as listening to novels on the go kept us awake on long campervan journeys and made long haul flights far more entertaining!
- Netflix – Ah, like toilet roll Netflix is one of those essentials that nobody likes to pay for. If you’re one of the unfortunate few who don’t borrow their sisters/neighbours/classmate’s cousin’s account and actually pay for Netflix why not add it to your santa list and get someone else to pay it for you.
- Amazon Prime – Ideal for the impatient ones in your life, you don’t realise how much you need it until you have it. Not only does it give you access to TV shows & films but free next day delivery. This subscription may come in handy once you read about our sustainable gift ideas below!
SUSTAINABLE GIFTS FOR MUSIC FANS
Just The Ticket
Tickets are the perfect tinsel treat as there are so many different kinds it’s very easy to tailor to their musical tastes. Not to mention it’s something to look forward to in months ahead, and something they’ll remember months after. From festivals to theatre shows – there’s a ticket to suit any price and personality.
One of our favourite Christmas gifts was our Belladrum Tickets – it is an artsy music festival in the Scottish Highlands, almost like a baby Glastonbury. After attending the past 10 years we put together the ultimate list of top tips on our Belladrum Festival Guide.
If dancing in the mud isn’t your cup of tea, we recommend Benicassim music festival in Spain. Guaranteed sunshine, guaranteed insane line up and it is only 110 euros for an early bird ticket (if purchased before Christmas). Read our full Benicassim Festival Guide for our ultimate tips & advice!
Eco Conscious Portable Speaker
Music fans and festival fans will be overjoyed with festive cheer when opening this handy sustainable Christmas gift. Our portable speaker has probably been THE most used item in our backpacks when travelling however, this one is bound to top Christmas lists this year as it has so many useful features as well as designed with sustainability in mind.
This little guy can connect via Bluetooth, so no need for wires. It is created from sustainable bamboo giving it a beautiful aesthetic as well as a more eco friendly design. A definite crowd pleaser for those after sustainable gift ideas for gig goers.
Eco Friendly Festival Essentials
After over 20 festivals, you could say we have earned our festival veteran titles. You could also say we have perfected our festival packing list. However, the guys at Pic N Mix Festival Kit have revolutionised the way we prepare to party in a park all weekend. Kiss goodbye to plastic glitter and wasteful wipes and instead welcome their eco-friendly festival kits complete with biodegradable glitter, biodegradable ear plugs, metal straws plus much more. The perfect sustainable Christmas gift that can be used over and over again by your favourite festival goers.
Their eco friendly gift ideas aren’t just for festival fans, they also have ethical treats which are perfect for camping, van life or glamping so take a peek!
SUSTAINABLE GIFTS FOR TRAVEL LOVERS
Offset Their Carbon Emissions
Although you can’t buy happiness, you can buy flight tickets which to us, is the same thing. However, we do understand that our flights round the globe cause major carbon emissions which is essentially choking the planet and undeniably plays a role in climate change. Although our suggestion is to be a responsible traveller and always travel slower and overland when possible, it is possible to offset your carbon emissions (or someone else’s if searching for eco friendly gift ideas!)
Offsetting carbon emissions essentially means you calculate the carbon emissions from your recent flight then from this calculation you can donate to a cause such as reforestation in Kenya or planting trees in the Scottish Highlands among many other ideas. Although there is no way to reverse the damage of your flight, carbon offset schemes aim to balance the damage and essentially aim for carbon neutrality.
As a tip, as of next year, easyJet are the world’s first major airline to offset their own flights – to find the best easyJet deals we find searching via Skyscanner and using the “everywhere” tool for the cheapest flights.
Book An Experience To Learn With A Local
How do you buy a sustainable Christmas gift for the friend that’s never at home? If you’re worried their gift won’t be used or won’t fit in their backpack book an experience instead of an item. Better yet, book a once in a lifetime experience that avoids the usual tourist traps and supports a local community. We’re talking about Backstreet Academy. From jewellery workshops to cooking lessons these guys provide a platform for locals to share their culture for a fee. The visitor receives a far more authentic experience than they would onboard a 50 person tour bus.
We had our first experience of Backstreet Academy in Vietnam – we wanted to experience the famous coffee culture in Hanoi but didn’t want to visit the usual touristy cafes. Instead we opted for a tour from these guys which was led by a local resident. Not only did she take us to hidden gems but she explained so much more tips and coffee info than we would have ever found from a guide book or Google.
Book A Sleepover In Someone Else’s House
AIRBNB: If there’s one thing my mum absolutely loves, it’s snooping at other people’s houses. I swear, she even looks up houses for sale just to peek inside. Therefor a stay in an Airbnb is ideal as it’s a home away from home. Not only that, you can stay in some seriously unique homes too. To date, we have stayed in some seriously quirky accommodation – from jungle huts whilst backpacking Hawaii to rooftop hot tubs in Iceland.
BOOK A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: Admittedly some of our most memorable stays haven’t been booked via Airbnb. There are SO many ways you can find quirky accommodation for the travel enthusiasts in your life, all while avoiding the big hotel chains and supporting small businesses. A few of our favourites include Canopy & Stars, One Off Places and Cool Stays.
HOUSE SITTING: From parents to partners this is a sustainable Christmas gift that EVERYONE will love. For the small fee of £89.00 per year (which is basically the same price as one night’s accommodation) you have an entire year of unlimited access to homes and pets all over the world. It is every travel lover’s dream – you get to stay in a property for FREE in your ideal location in exchange for caring for their home and/or pets.
During our travels in Australia, we didn’t fancy spending Christmas in a hostel so gifting ourselves with a Trusted Housesitters memership and consequently spent Christmas in a beautiful home for three weeks with a private pool – all without spending a penny! Again, it gives the opportunity to live like a local whilst avoiding expensive hotel chains but it also allows you to care for pets or stay in neighbourhoods you otherwise wouldn’t afford to.
For us, this is the perfect sustainable christmas gift as it lasts all year long but can provide endless opportunities and memories for one affordable fee – better yet, we offer a 25% discount if you book via our link.
Give The Gift Of Free Accommodation & Friends For Life
Our next suggestion has to be one of our favourite sustainable gift ideas yet! For the small fee of 36 Euros you can pay for your favourite person (or 48 Euros for a couple) to join Workaway. As mentioned earlier we prefer to travel slower and longer to genuinely enjoy a country (whilst avoiding the rip-off tours and expensive hotel chains) this is why we LOVE Workaway.
It is an online platform that offers hosts in over 170 countries who allow you to stay in their home FOR FREE in exchange for volunteering your time. Our hosts also provided 3 meals a day, took us on day trips, provided a car as well as shared knowledge and skills we will never forget.
Perhaps you know someone who’d love to volunteer at a surf school in Portugal? Help save turtles in Sri Lanka? Harvest Grapes in New Zealand? We have completed 3 experiences – working on a glamping site in Switzerland, an olive farm in Crete and assisting photographers while backpacking Hawaii. Some would say our Workaway experiences are the kind of travel memories that money can’t buy which is true, but you can buy a membership as a gift which is close enough!
Not only did these experiences give a unique boost to our CVs, we have made friends for life and stayed in some of the most stunning locations around the world. They taught us to live like locals, give back to communities and avoid over tourism. We can’t think of a better sustainable gift!
If you do buy a Workaway membership, don’t forget to take a peek at our guide to creating the best Workaway profile to ensure your dream host says yes!
Organise A StaycationIf there’s one thing we’ve realised since returning home to Scotland it’s just how stunning our local area is. If you have a travel lover on your christmas gift list, why not organise a staycation as a more sustainable (and cost friendly) option than a trip abroad? We created an entire guide to staycation ideas to help plan the perfect holiday at home. This is one of our favourite sustainable gift ideas as not only are you investing in the local community, but you don’t need to take damaging flights. With beaches on our doorstep, distilleries all around us and some of the best food in the country we’d be delighted if someone created a mini staycation itinerary without the hassle of airports or having to take time off work. A night away will always help rejuvenate and relax, even if it’s just 15 minutes down the road not to mention it helps inspire others to view their local area with new eyes and a holiday at home will boost local business.
More Sustainable Gift Ideas For Travel Lovers
During our travels we have perfected our packing list and welcomed some sustainable swaps travellers which have not only made our lives easier, but help keep the planet safe. There are many ways to be responsible travellers but upgrading your backpacking essentials to more eco-friendly alternatives is one of the most effective.
As a tip, if you have a loved one preparing for a big trip soon make sure they choose the right backpack to carry your eco friendly gifts. We’ve found so many travellers opt for cheap backpacks that break or rip very early in their trip and end up in the bin. Invest in a backpack that will last which will not only prove more comfortable and convenient for you, but more convenient for our wee planet also. We recommend the Osprey backpacks as they come with a lifetime guarantee – if they are damaged, Osprey repair them from anywhere in the world FOR FREE so you’ll never have to buy another one. Repair, don’t replace!
These handy little gadgets and essentials make the perfect sustainable gift ideas and are ideal stocking fillers to avoid land fill.
SUSTAINABLE GIFT IDEAS FOR ANIMAL LOVERS (SO EVERYONE YOU KNOW)
We’ve already mentioned house sitting and Workaway where you can stay & play with pets but the sustainable gift ideas for animal lovers could rival the length of Santa’s naughty list – here are just a few of our favourites:
ADOPT A FURRY FRIEND: A lil cliché’ but one of the greatest gifts I ever received was my sister adopting me a penguin named Sparkle. To be fair I am disgustingly obsessed with penguins so knowing I now have my own wee fella knocking about the Antarctic fills me with that fuzzy festive feeling. But it’s not just me – my mum received a donkey adoption one Christmas for our local sanctuary (so she had even more excuses for her weekly visits) and my sister even received a reindeer adoption last Christmas after falling in love with a rudolph lookalike at a local park.
PAY A POORLY PUPS VET FEES: Searching for ethical Christmas gifts on a budget? From as little as £5 you can purchase medication for a poorly cat or pup from PDSA. If you can spend £25 this cares for an arthritic pet for a whole month and your pet mad pal then receives a cute gift card as proof of your pet saving present. This is yet another sustainable Christmas gift where you both receive that feel good factor which yet another box of chocs can’t quite master.
BORROW MY DOGGY: We’ve all heard a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas however sometimes life can get in the way and we have to do adult stuff like work and pay bills so we won’t have the time (or money) to care for a pet properly. This is where Borrow My Doggy comes in! We first heard of it in London when my flatmate longed for a dog but living in a rented property wasn’t able to get one. Instead the platform matches animal lovers with pet owners and you simply “borrow their pet.” Don’t worry it’s all super safe so no one can nick your Newfoundland.
The owners receive free dog walking, the dog makes new friends and you get to play with puppies. It’s a win, win situation all round. Perhaps, you know a friend or relative who’s doggy would appreciate some new pals? You can sign up both ways – for pet owners or for those wanting to meet pets.
SAVE THE BEES PLANT MORE TREES: One of the best sustainable gift ideas we’ve found for wildlife lovers is the “virtual gifts” from the Woodland Trust. For a small fee they will replant hedges for our fluffy friends, keep bluebells blooming, turn baron land into blooming wildflowers or even plant 25sq metres of new woodland. Better yet, your gift can be sent via email (or post) so no wrapping required!
VOLUNTEER: Instead of those “zoo keeper for a day” experiences which don’t make the most ethical christmas gits, arrange for your animal enthusiast to spend some time in a local puppy rescue shelters or donkey sanctuary. Many of these places allow open days in return for donations or simply appreciate your time. Its educational, you get to hug animals and wear welly boots, did someone say BEST DAY EVER?
Know some animal mad mates? Organise a placement with one of these charities and create a jazzy we certificate to represent it. A day dog walking and puppy kisses beats giving pyjamas any day! A few ideas include:
SUSTAINABLE GIFTS FOR THE FOODIES
This is also known as the fool proof gift as everyone likes (and needs) to eat. However, the festive season is already infamous for being the worst time of year for food waste, infact according to Unilever over FOUR MILLION Christmas dinners are binned each year. This is the equivalent to 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies and shockingly 11.3 million roast potatoes!
Although we offer a few sustainable tips on reworking Christmas leftovers later in this guide, let’s change some bad foodie habits with eco friendly gifts for the food lovers also. Whether you have a friend who loves to cook up a storm or a son who doesn’t know the difference between a microwave and a kettle, these sustainable gift ideas are for the foodies…
- Cooking Lessons – Ideal for the couple that never shut up about booking yet another holiday. Spend 20 quid for them to learn how to cook food from their favourite holiday destination and they may even invite you along next time. From Thai to Tapas there are so many options and some even include free goody bags and cocktails. The experience of cooking lessons makes a far more sustainable christmas gift than yet another cookbook that’ll sit gathering dust. You can book cooking lessons on Airbnb, Get Your Guide, Klook or even Groupon.
- Afternoon Tea – This is one of those cheeky treats you are unlikely to buy for yourself but everyone and their nan loves afternoon tea so it is guaranteed a winner. Particularly perfect for those you know with Champagne tastes when you’re on a Cava budget as there are so many “bottomless” options and 2-4-1 deals. Not to mention the fact it requires zero wrapping and if you’re anything like Daz, zero waste as you hoover up every last crumb.
- Grow Your Own Veggies – Although supermarkets have came on leaps and bounds with efforts to reduce plastic, it’s still frustrating how much veggies are still wrapped in the stuff. If you have a green fingered friend who is also a bit of an eco warrior encourage them to plant their own with this fabulous sustainable christmas gift. Not only does it avoid shopping for the supermarket veggies that are shipped from miles away, it encourages us to eat only the veg in season while consuming less pesticides and all that jazz. If they’re limited on space don’t panic you can purchase a grow your own herbs kit which is perfect for window sills or for the hipsters, you can even purchase an “edgy veggies” kit complete with purple carrots and black corn!
More Sustainable Gift Ideas For FoodiesIf we haven’t tempted you with a sustainable Christmas gift yet, our ideas below are guaranteed to be the ones that persuade you. These are not just environmentally friendly gifts but items that have actually made our lives easier saving us both time and money every single day! From wax wraps that avoid a fight with cling film to the cutest reusable food containers, party kits that avoid the dreaded plastic cutlery and even sustainable silicone bags for your foodie friends – all of which will make the perfect stocking fillers this Christmas.
SUSTAINABLE GIFTS FOR THOSE WHO LIKE A DRAM
It is the season to get merry after all and being Scottish we certainly love a wee dram around the festive period. However, what we don’t love is those hellish huge boxes filled with 80% plastic packaging and 20% gin miniatures. We can’t be the only ones who feel alcohol is a welcomes stocking filler but the pointless packaging, not so much. Here are a few sustainable gifts for the winos, the whisky fans, the shot-takers and the beer bellied brothers…
- Gin Tasting – As the popularity of mother’s ruin continues on the up, price for gin tasting sessions keep going down. Far more thoughtful than a boring bottle of plonk and a lot cheaper too!
- Whisky Tour – We’re probably a little biased because we’re based in bonnie Scotland but whisky tours are guaranteed to earn you good karma points this Christmas. Not only are they run by a local guide so you’re investing in the local community, but they are smaller more intimate tours to avoid the huge commercial bus companies and no one has to pull the short straw and drive! Select Scotland Tours run amazing whisky tours whilst promoting a green tourism ethos. They also offer outlander doors and wildlife tours for those not a fan of a dram.
- Brewery Tours – For the craft beer hipsters or anyone with taste buds, a jaunt to their fave brew house such as BrewDog will avoid any mainstream gift dramas. The “Dog Walk” brewery tour of BrewDog HQ is £15 for a 90 minute tour including 4 tastings, so cheaper than a crate and there’s no need to wrap it. We’re recommending these guys because they’re 5 minutes down the road (and we’re a tad obsessed) but a quick google search might surprise you how many there are nearby.
- Brewdog Shares – Did you know Brewdog is actually owned by 97,000 craft beer fans?If you’re stuck for a unique gift this Christmas you can actually gift shares in the company and turn your pal into an “equity punk” which not only gives them part ownership but also discounts on merch and bars. Again no wrapping and no waste = the sustainable Christmas gift of champions.
Upcycled Alcohol Glasses
What’s cooler than drinking your favourite tipple from a glass made out of old vodka bottles!? A recyled glass you’ve made yourself! As we’re all about the DIY instead of BUY BUY BUY here at Faramagan, we not only found funky recycled glasses which repurpose old alcohol bottles but a fun wee kit so your crafty pal can make their own. This handy kit is a great investment for you or a friend as depending on how many empties you rack up in a month, you can create endless sustainable gifts for others!
SUSTAINABLE GIFTS FOR FITNESS FANS
Everyone has that one friend who is constantly trying a new fad diet or falls for the January “new year new me” phase. Perhaps you’ve a zumba mad Aunt or a football obsessed nephew? Regardless of the sport, feel free to fuel their fire with these sustainable gift ideas from sportwear made of recycled plastic to water bottles that help save the planet. These eco friendly gifts will make everyone feel good without dragging yourself to a gym.
Trainers Made From Recycled Plastic
Not so fun fact – more than 150 million tonnes of plastic exist in our oceans today, so Adidas decided to do something about it. Their Adidas x Parley collaboration collects plastic waste, reworks it into fibres and uses them in the Adidas X Parley trainers. The range is suitable for men and women, young and old and also at a fabulous price. Take a peek at our favourite styles below.
Biodegradable Yoga Mats
As someone who has dabbled with yoga for nearly 5 years I was SO shocked to discover the lifespan of a yoga mat is only 6-12 months. I was even MORE shocked to learn that when yoga mats are disposed of they can take anywhere from 1-5 years to decompose due to the durable plastics they are made from. Therefor if you have a fellow yogi on your sustainable christmas gifts list purchase a biodegradable one. This guide shares the tell tale signs your mat is due an upgrade and with our ideas below ranging from organic jute to industry leading Liforme there’s no excuse for you to be attempting child’s pose on potential landfill.
Gym Classes WITHOUT The Gym
Let’s be honest, if santa’s wee elves could create us a gym where you rock up in your pajamas, your cat can come too and you can blast Bad X Factor auditions in the background it would be a pretty great place. Well, you can now do exactly that thanks to Fiit – the app that has revolutionised gym classes so you can now work out anywhere with professionals – including your living room with cat & said X Factor auditions.
There is a free version of the app for a cheeky taster or for a sustainable Christmas gift for your get-fit fam you can subscribe which offers 350+ classes including HIIT, yoga, pilates and more! The app also provides 14 training plans tailored to your level, expert support 7 days a week and the ability to track fitness levels as well as compete with others on the app – all for as little as £10 a month if you subscribe to the yearly plan.
It means no one is wasting money on an intimidating gym membership, you can work out in your garden (pyjamas optional) you are not restricted by gym timetables and you are still receiving professional coaching without the premium costs. If this sounds like the alternative christmas gift you’ve been searching for, take a peek at pricing of Fiit here.
SUSTAINABLE GIFT IDEAS FOR BEAUTY LOVERS
If you’re searching for sustainable gift ideas for those pampered pals who love nothing more than a stocking full of beauty products then we have a few treats for you. Christmas is the perfect time for a pamper sesh but not if it damages the planet in the process. These eco friendly gifts will not only help others look good but make you feel good too.
For The Make Up FanaticsI bet you know a make up lover or two and one of these magical things will not only help them save money, but also our wee planet. For years I used baby or cosmetic wipes to remove my make up, not realising they take over 100 years to decompose – avoid that landfill by purchasing these reusable make up removers instead. The microfibre fabric is specifically designed to clear pores and leave skin even cleaner than wipes can anyway and the best part is you can simply chuck them in the washing machine. They make an ideal sustainable christmas gift for travel or make up maniacs alike.
A Planet Friendly Pamper Sesh
After a solid season of eating and drinking, nothing cures a hangover (or prepares you for your next night out) quite like a pamper sesh. However those pals who love a pamper maybe don’t realise the damage their bubble baths and beauty regimes are causing. If you are lucky enough to live nearby, did you know Lush offer spa treatments? From chocolate body scrubs to bath times like no other, their ethical beauty treats aren’t just stocked in store – you can indulge at one of their onsite spas too! One of the best sustainable gift ideas for those in need of a little me time and best of all each treatment is cruelty free and handmade using natural ingredients that are kind to the earth and skin.
No Lush Spa nearby? No problem! The following ethical Christmas gifts avoid the harmful chemicals and plastic packaging, palm oil and potential animal cruelty which many bath sets and beauty treatments contain. From cotton buds that won’t end up in the sea to vegan friendly beauty products, our environmentally friendly gifts below will help ya feel like Queen B while saving the trees.
SUSTAINABLE GIFTS FOR THE PERSON WHO HAS EVERYTHING
Give The Gift Of Time
Although free, this is probably one of the most valuable eco friendly gifts you can give. Save the wrapping paper and pennies by giving up your time for someone else. Whether you cook your best friend’s dinner, do your Aunt’s ironing for a month, take your grandma to the cinema or use your time to help strangers by volunteering at a homeless shelter, animal sanctuary or local charity shop.
There is nothing more fulfilling than someone willingly wanting to share their time with you as well as providing a feel good factor in return. Get creative, there are so many ideas that many people you know (or don’t know yet) will be so grateful for. You can give your best friend a weekend of free babysitting, teach your cousin guitar, your dad how to cook – the options are endless but most importantly, time is not so share it wisely.
A Gift That Can Help Beat Poverty
Instead of spending money on the person that has everything, give that money to the people who have nothing. Oxfam Unwrapped is a Christmas gift giving scheme where the pennies you’d usually spend on a dust collecting present goes towards an essential item for those in need.
For £25 you can provide clothes, food and shelter to a refugee, £20 provides support for female entrepreneurs or simply a tenner provides safe drinking water for a family of four. There are so many options to suit every budget. They’ll post you out a gift card to represent your kind gesture, simply pop on a bow and *Tada* your tenner could change lives instead of buying silly socks.
Buy Them Their Dream Job
Not exactly, but you can buy them a pretty good shove in the right direction. Do you know someone who has always wanted to be a photographer but is still using their iPhone to take photos? Or an Xbox fanatic who has an idea for the next GTA? Or possibly that friend whose eyebrows are so on fleek she needs to share her beauty tips with the world?
If searching for sustainable gift ideas, you can’t get better than giving a course (either online or offline) which will give them the stepping stone from daydream to dream job. A quick search online produces thousands of options from floristry to photography, make-up artists to martial arts, cake decorating to computer programming.
From one day crash courses, to online tutorials where you can take as long as you need, the hardest part is deciding who the lucky recipient will be.
TIPS FOR A MORE ECO-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS
We hope our eco friendly Christmas gifts have inspired an idea or two but sustainability isn’t just limited to gift giving – there are so many ways we can limit our waste and up our eco-friendliness this festive season. Below are just a handful of eco friendly Christmas tips to top up our good karma points and help us onto santa’s nice list as well as helping our wee planet.
Avoid Wrapping Paper
Now you’ve found the eco friendly christmas gifts of dreams you’re gonna have to wrap them *cue crying* There are a few more sustainable swaps you can do to ensure your sustainable christmas gift isn’t tarnished by wasteful wrapping paper. It’s surprising just how many kinds of wrapping paper cannot be recycled – nearly all kinds with glitter cannot as well as if there is too much sellotape or metallic dyes. To avoid this extra landfill switch out the sparkly stuff for brown paper and extra bonus points if you recycle last year’s Christmas cards for gift tags. You could also get creative and use old magazines or newspaper or reuse gift bags from previous presents. As a tip, you can also purchase biodegradable tape to help wrap your sustainable christmas gifts.
Save Lives Everytime Ya Poop
During Christmas it is not just us who get CRAZY busy but our toilets too. Whether you’ve suffered a dodgy trifle on boxing day, head in the bowl with a hangover after the work’s Christmas do or simply you have a house full of guests there is one thing you’re gonna use a hella of a lot of – TOILET ROLL. Not only is it one of those annoying things that we forget to stock up on among the Christmas chaos, but we are essentially flushing thousands of trees down the toilet every. single. day!
This is where Who Gives A Crap comes in. We subscribed earlier this year after hearing that not only are their toilet rolls created tree free, but they deliver it as a subscription so you’re never caught short. Best of all 50% of all their profits go to supplying toilets for some of the 2.3 billion people across the world don’t have access to one. Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused from poor sanitation, therefor your purchase from these guys can help beat poverty as you poo.
So far, we’ve found there rolls last longer (saving us some pennies) not to mention we’re horrifically millennial and they just look cuter in our bathroom thanks to their epic branding. If you fancy stocking up for your crowds of visitors this season (or purchasing for a pal) our wee referral code will give you £5 off!
Secret Santa With A Difference
Don’t get us wrong, secret santa can be bloody hysterical but my goodness, it can involve some serious tat. What is the point in buying a a gift for someone you don’t probably like, which they won’t probably use, with money we don’t really have!? It’s madness. Speak up this year and ask your office to donate the dosh to charity instead. Or if they insist on a secret santa, try getting creative – maybe there’s a DIY theme or an eco-friendly gift?
Alternatively, friends of ours do secret santa within their family which makes SO much more sense as we don’t need anymore stuff. You set a price limit and only purchase one gift for the adults in your family instead of for each person – less cost, less stress, less waste…taaada!
We get it, buying online is super convenient especially if they only time you can shop in store is during weekends when it’s crazy busy, not to mention the traffic involved. However, shopping local and more importantly, shopping independent is hugely beneficial to local communities. It also means stumbling across hidden gems where as you need to search specifically online. As well as searching for local Christmas markets, search on Etsy (they host local events too) as well as Not On The High Street, or try searching the hashtag #shoplocal on Instagram to find artists and indy businesses. Facebook is also a great way to find local business pages in the marketplace as well as events in your local area.
Buy Second Hand
Second Hand is also a fave option – I am a self-confessed charity shop junkie and can proudly proclaim I can count “new” items I’ve purchased from the past 5 years on one hand (not including underwear!) To me, it makes my clothing addiction a little less guilt inducing as I’m rescuing clothes from landfill while getting my fashion fix. My Christmas party dress this year still has the £35 tags on while I paid £2 from my local PDSA. I’ve bought Office boots which were £85 brand new for £4 and don’t get me started on the treats I’ve found for other people.
It’s not just charity shops – there’s eBay, Depop, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Vintage Shops, Car Boot Sales, Shpock. If searching for eco friendly christmas gifts this year, why not purchase second hand? It saves you ££££s and helps save the planet from yet more waste!
1. Get Crafty – Whether it’s that Christmas party outfit you’re only gonna wear once or an extra cheese board or two “just incase” think about the waste involved not to mention the people and planet who could be potentially suffering behind your purchase. One of the obvious ways to buy less is to make more. This means getting crafty – whether you bake your own shortbread or attempt a Pinterest gift idea or two, you’d be surprised at the ways you can recycle old tat to make glorious new gifts and avoid a trip to the crowded shops in the process.
2. Hampers – Another way to buy less is creating hampers. These are probably one of our fave gifts as its one gift for the entire family to share. Chuck in some homemade shortbread, a bottle of vino, a few books or DVDs from the charity shop, some local treats like cheese and chutneys all presented in a wee basket and viola you have the perfect night in for the whole family. Having one gift everyone can share saves buying and wrapping lots of individual ones – not to mention the cost of them all.
3. Finally, re-gift – I may be spilling a major secret here but I have been regifting for years and it saves some serious dollar. Maybe you receive a jumper 3 sizes too big, a candle you can’t stand the smell of or a book you’ve already read – don’t chuck it or let it gather dust, instead save it to re-gift. We’ve had a regifting drawer for years where we pop the presents we know someone else will love more than we will. It’s like free shopping and again, you’re giving eco friendly christmas gifts as they’re being reused and rehomed.
Before the turkey has even digested, our inboxes are inundated with diet plans, stop smoking lectures and dry January sponsorship requests as New Year’s Resolutions are all we talk about. Although we don’t normally advocate this sort of #newyearnewme behaviour we do have one wee request, that everyone tries to make the conscience effort to be a little more sustainable next year and our sustainable gift ideas will give a little kick up the butt to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
Living out of a backpack has taught us just how little belongings we actually need and how – like many others – we’d rather have a life of adventures than a house full of stuff. This alternative gift guide has hopefully giving you a sustainable gift idea or two and shows just a handful of ways to share the festive spirit without caving in to the commercialised craziness Christmas has become.
Whether you simply swap out one or two presents for an more sustainable Christmas gift or you go wild and ensure eco friendly gifts for all, every little help counts. After all, everyone knows the true meaning of Christmas is spending time, not money but nothing says “nailed it” like adopting a penguin.