The Ethical/Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide

I’ve been thinking about putting this together for a few months now. As much as I thoroughly adore Christmas, it can be such a wasteful event. Even all the wrapping paper that’s used makes me a bit sad, especially as I recently discovered a lot of it isn’t recyclable.

As I’ve mentioned before, even making small steps and changes can make a huge difference so don’t feel like you need to have a fully ethical and sustainable Christmas and force everyone to get on board. Just gifting one sustainable present to someone it starts the ball rolling. The most sustainable way of shopping is to buy second hand and from charity shops, but of course it can be difficult to do this for presents. So onto the gift ideas!

Fashion

There are lots of ethical and sustainable clothing brands around now which is fantastic. You’ve probably heard of the main ones like People Tree so I wanted to highlight a couple of others. An app that I frequently use to check whether I want to buy from a brand or not is Good on You which rates the ethics and gives a score out of 5. I might have to do a whole post on ethical fashion brands as there are so many!

""“>Thought* are a brand that I’ve been following for a little while now, they have some lovely items that have on trend designs and prints as well as classic and timeless styles (and a great sale on at the moment too) and I think these packs of ""“>bamboo socks* in particular would be a lovely gift.

They have lots of different colours and patterns for both men and women, who doesn’t love a nice pair of socks?

Described as minimalist and effortless, the Kowtow aesthetic is inspired by art, architecture, culture, craftsmanship, landscapes and travel. Their collections are entirely made with sustainably and ethically sourced materials.

Kowtow are on the pricier end of the scale. But that’s what makes their clothing the perfect gifts. Timeless designs that will stand the test of time and made from materials that will last for years if properly looked after.

If you’re shopping for a shoe lover then you need to check out Beyond Skin. Everything is handmade in Spain with vegan materials and with ethical and sustainable practices. You can read more about their philosophy here.

Patagonia is one of my boyfriend’s favourite brands and they’re a pioneer in sustainable clothing. They have some great pieces for both men and women (and children) but I think of them as a go-to brand when shopping for Lee. They have great basics that last well as well as more specialised outdoor clothing. 

If you prefer shopping on the high street or want some more budget friendly options that aren’t second hand then some of my favourite more ethical and sustainable stores are Marks and Spencer, Primark, H&M and Monki.

Jewellery

Oh My Clumsy Heart is the jewellery brand of Sophie who also runs my fave minimalist and ethical blog A Considered Life.

The designs are all gorgeously minimal and elegant, meaning they go with the most basic and casual outfits as well as when you’re dressing up to the nines.

Everything is also really affordable for such well made and good quality pieces, prices start at just £12 and you can also buy gift cards if you’re not sure what the recipient would like!

Kind Jewellery have a really similar vibe but have a few more options and a much higher price point, starting at around £50. Their jewellery is all handmade in London and the collection has a solar system theme which I love.

They can also create bespoke pieces on commission if you want to go all out for that special someone. You can add engravings to many of their existing pieces too if you love a design but want to add a touch of personalisation.

Food and drink

I think food can be one of the best gifts. Especially for people that are more minimalist as it’s something that won’t be taking up space for long. I love baking treats as gifts, I have a few recipes that could make some tasty presents!

If you want to impress the food lover in your life, I would head to your local independent deli. They often make hampers of wonderful local produce that you can choose from. I know a cafe near me does this and I’ve always drooled over the cheese hamper (not literally, of course). I’ve also found Borough Box that delivers across the UK if you don’t have anything local!

Gin is all the rage at the moment (for good reason, wouldn’t you say?) and who would say no to a beautiful bottle like this from One Gin

One has a simple vision: A world in which everyone has access to clean and safe water, forever. So far, the brand has raised over £17 million, changing the lives of over 3 million people.

I can’t talk about foodie gifts without mentioning chocolate. One of my favourites is always Green and Blacks. They’re fairtrade, organic, easy to get hold of, affordable and absolutely delicious. They have some gifting options on their website too with baskets and advent calendars!

A chocolate brand that I’ve come across that looks like they would make a perfect gift is Chocolala. You can get the chocolates packaged in a metal tin that can then be reused. Their flavours include chilli, lemon, praline and mango – the hardest part would be deciding which one to get!

For those people that are all about food prep and taking packed lunches, an environmentally friendly tupperware option is this stainless steel two-tier lunch box. I love the look of these and there’s no risk of BPA or BPS, but of course, it’s not a good idea to put metal in microwaves so these are best for cold lunches!

I think of water bottles and flasks as absolute essentials but it’s something that a lot of people don’t think to buy or don’t want to spend the money on which makes them a great practical gift. Keep cups come in lots of different sizes and styles, and you can design your own!

Homeware

If your gift recipient loves minimal and rustic design then you need to head to Lisa Valentine Home. I’ve already made a Christmas gift purchase from Lisa – she’s actually my old landlady and if you’ve seen the house I used to live in you’ll know that she has great taste.

A couple of other websites that I frequently browse for home pieces are The Future Kept and Wearth London.

I recently discovered Decorator’s Notebook and I’m obsessed. There are so many incredibly beautiful homeware items, all individually handmade by talented artisans.

These tonal mugs are so gorgeous, perfect for a cosy hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows!

From fashion pieces to throws and tableware, you’re bound to find something to love. They even have Christmas decorations – the brass star tree topper is calling my name!

I also adore these picture frame tree ornaments. They could become seasonal decor by adding different leaves and flowers inside them through the year!

You might have read about my Leesa mattress, but did you know that Leesa now also make a pillow*? They kindly sent me a pair to test out which was perfect timing as I had just been thinking about getting some new pillows. Let me tell you, they are a dream. I’ve always had cheap pillows but now I know the difference I’m totally converted. Bedding is the kind of thing that you never really want to invest in but that you really should. I’m sure we all know someone that could benefit from a better nights sleep so why not give them that as a gift! This would be perfect for people that have just moved house or even those that have gone to university (maybe get them a pillow protector to go with it too).

Beauty

There are so many great cruelty free beauty brands out there, and more and more options for more sustainably packaged cosmetics are cropping up.

Zao are a great example of this, their products are cruelty-free, mostly vegan, made with 100% natural and organic ingredients AND most of their products are refillable and packaged in gorgeous bamboo pots. What more can you ask for?

Of course the obvious go-to for products is Lush. I’ve been using their bath bombs, soaps, shampoo, moisturisers, hair masks and various other things on and off for years. They’re probably the biggest company shouting about ethics and sustainability in the beauty industry. 

What you might not know is that they also do cosmetics and perfume. These are relatively new in their range but are just as delightful as the rest of their items. If your local Lush store has a spa then I would highly recommend getting a treatment as a gift. They are quite pricey but the whole experience is just magical.

Gadgets

For the music lover you need to head to House of Marley, they are “built on the principles of superior quality, earth-friendliness and a commitment to global charitable causes” and have products including headphones, turntables and speakers!

Everyone knows someone that would benefit from having a power bank. Whether they use their phone constantly or are travelling a lot, power banks often come in handy. The trouble is though, you have to remember to charge the power bank. That’s where a solar power bank* would be super useful. Just pop it in the sun and you don’t need to use electricity at all!

Speaking of saving electricity, one of the ways you can do that is with smart home features. You can monitor your home from an app on your phone so if you get to work and realise you forgot to turn the bathroom light off then just switch it off from the app! There are a lot of options for this but I like the look of the Wemo range from Belkin.

Other

I was looking for ways to gift a charity donation last Christmas but I couldn’t find one that seemed legitimate so I’m very pleased to have come across the Oxfam Unwrapped gifts. I think it’s such a great idea and you can add little extras like chocolates too so the recipient receives something is. These are only available within the UK though.

If you’re looking for more charitable gifts and things that you can do this Christmas then check out this post from Queen Beady.

Of course, you’ll need something sustainable to wrap all these gifts in – I love this reusable fabric gift wrap. If you want more ideas then Wearth London are an amazing resource for all kinds of ethically made items and they have a great zero waste section too.

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