Ethical Gift Guide: Our Top 6 Eco-Friendly Christmas Present Ideas

20 November 2019 - by Jenna Thompson

When you’re worried about the environment, the festive season can be a difficult time where many of us feel pressured to buy things we don’t need. While arguably we would all get by without Christmas presents, there is something lovely about unwrapping a little something on Christmas Day. Happily, finding ethical and eco-friendly gifts is much easier than it used to be, with retailers catching on to the public’s desire for less wasteful items. 

We’ve curated a list of some of our favourite eco-friendly and ethical gifts that you might want to consider this year. But first… 

What else can you do?

Remember, newly bought gifts are not the only option. There are lots of ways to give back to the people around you that don’t involve hiking down to John Lewis. For example:

  • Give memories: event tickets, experience days, memberships 
  • Give your time: share your skills, help someone decorate 
  • Upcycle: repurpose old toys, makeover an old piece of furniture 
  • Buy second hand: search eBay or antique shops
  • Make something: take up a craft, bake some tasty treats  

And if you choose to buy – choose organic, choose ethical, choose eco-friendly.

1. Handknit vegan scarf

We love these super chunky handknit scarves made in Bristol by Sophie Moloney. Knitted from soft vegan acrylic yarn, these thick and cosy scarves are perfect for cold winter days and come in 11 different colours – with tassels to match (or not!). Get the mittens too if you’re feeling fancy.

2. Biodegradable phone case

Pela is the organisation behind the world’s first truly sustainable phone case, selling compostable phone cases and zero-waste screen protectors for both Apple and Android. 

The cases are made from Flaxstic® – flax shive and a plant-based biopolymer – which has a lower carbon footprint and lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional plastic. The company also donates money to help protect coastlines, oceans, parks and wild animals.

3. Handmade eco-friendly candle

Now your home can smell like a library! If you or someone you know loves the smell of old books, may we recommend Ash & Quill Candles on Etsy, makers of amazing handmade book-smelling candles made with soy wax and vegan-friendly, cruelty-free fragrance oils. 

These clean-burning candles are hand-poured in small batches and, if the reviews are anything to go by, smell incredible. We suggest the popular Library Candle with plum, peach, peony, violet petals, distressed leather and patchouli.

4. Eco felt mule slippers

It is my professional opinion that there are few people who would not be thrilled to receive slippers at Christmas. This is a time when slippers really come into their own. Chilly toes can absolutely bog off forever. 

These hand-felted eco felt mule slippers are produced by a women's co-operative in the Kathmandu Valley. They come in five different colours made with azo-free dyes and use 100% raw sheep wool, soap and water. The soles are made from natural suede, sourced from a small family tannery in Kolkata and road freighted to Kathmandu in bulk. All chemicals used in the tanning process are contained and reprocessed within the water treatment facility on site. 

5. Handmade soap bars

Soap, the ultimate Christmas gift for a) people who love soap and b) people you don’t know very well. The Proper Soap Company makes handmade soap bars that are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free and shipped in plastic-free, recyclable packaging. Plus, they smell amazing and lather really well. Try the best-selling Almond Oil Soap Bar or Dead Sea Salt Soap Bar.

6. Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet

Finally, a book recommendation. Natalie Isaacs’ Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet is part inspiring story, part practical toolkit for reducing your carbon footprint and mobilising your community around the biggest issue of our time – climate change.

Realising that women make most of the purchasing decisions in the home and so have genuine power to make a difference, the author went on to found 1 Million Women, the lifestyle movement helping women and girls to tackle the climate crisis. 

We hope this list has provided you with some festive eco inspiration. Don’t forget to share and bookmark it for future reference. We'd love to hear your eco and ethical Christmas present ideas, so leave a comment below! 

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Jenna Thompson

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