To some, the term ‘eco-friendly gifts’ is somewhat of an oxymoron. We have consumerist mindsets, trained to seek out shiny, new gifts, usually guarded by walls of unnecessary plastic. Sustainability isn’t an overly festive concept, but it’s desperately needed. We can do our bit by shopping locally and buying more eco-friendly gifts where possible. If you’re sceptical then I hope that this gift guide will show that sustainability doesn’t have to compromise on quality.
These gift suggestions won’t make you feel guilty for being a typical consumer, because most of us are. As someone who loves luxury and gifting thoughtfully, I know the importance of purchasing high-quality gifts that make their recipients feel special. However, a sustainable approach doesn’t mean that Christmas as we know it is canceled. From home fragrance and beauty products to traditional over-indulgence of food and drink. Here are some sustainable gifting suggestions.
LIBRARY TRAVEL CANDLE, LOVE JAMILA | £18.00
Handcrafted in Suffolk, Love Jamila’s travel candles have an impressive burn time of 10-15 hours. The brand slogan is ‘kind for you, kind to others, kind to the planet’. You can’t argue with that.
10% of the companies turnover goes towards helping refugees, so as a small business they’re definitely practising what they preach. As well as boasting cruelty-free and vegan status, the packaging of their products is 100% recyclable. Aside from being a great brand to support, scents featuring festive cardamom and cinnamon ensure that these candles make perfect stocking fillers.
HAND WASH & HAND CREAM, NORFOLK NATURAL LIVING | £15.00 EACH
Norfolk Natural Living holds a personal value for me because their products are handmade in Norfolk. Their packaging is completely recyclable but even better, if your recipient is local to Holt, they can reuse and refill their bottles in store.
Co-founder Bella Middleton is passionate about creating plant-based products that are biodegradable, non-toxic and free from chlorine and bleach. With Norfolk Natural Living products, there’s no need to worry about chemicals and the damage that they’re doing to the environment because there simply are none.
Hand wash sets make perfect gifts because everyone uses them. It’s a safe bet to gift loved ones with basic products that you know they’ll use but it’s nice to opt for ones which offer a little more luxury than they’d usually buy themselves.
Norfolk Natural Living also have the most gorgeous diffusers. Scents include Coastal Sea Salt, English Lavender, and Rose Garden, which make perfect gifts for any fresh or floral lovers. With beautiful attention to detail showing in the shell or floral additions to the glass diffuser jars, these are definitely a little bit of luxury.
WIPEOUT CLEANSING CLOTH, MAGNITONE | £20.00
Reusable cleansing cloths have been a staple in my skincare routine for years now. I recommended them as a small eco-friendly beauty swap and a great way to cut costs long-term. These make a perfect gift for any sustainable beauty or travel lover as they completely replace face wipes and other makeup remover products. The 3 pack makes a great gift, but they also sell a 2 pack which would make a better stocking filler.
KEAR HERBAL SOAPS | £5.00 – £6.00
Bar soaps are another eco-friendly swap I’ve made over the past year or so. These ones are perfect for gifting as they come in beautiful cardboard packaging. They’re also multifunctional and feature high-quality essential oils.
REUSABLE BOTTLE, OHELO | £29.00
Reusable water bottles are one of the easiest swaps to make for anyone who is looking to cut down their plastic waste. There are definite standards of water bottle though, and the Ohelo ones are very high quality. They’re lead, BPA, BPS and BPF free, durable, and keep contents hot for up to 12 hours and cold for up to 24 hours.
They also stock a range of colours, so there’s one for everyone.
Food and drink make some of the best eco-friendly gifts, bonus points for homemade. Earlier this year we made batches of sloe gin so that we can bottle it up individually and give to friends and family. These make great little ‘thinking of you at Christmas’ gifts, but can also be incorporated into hampers.
Making your own alcohol is so easy to do, and is a great way of reducing waste because you can reuse old bottles. For a bit more of a professional vibe though, there are loads of places that sell preserving bottles. We got a couple of Sloe Gin bottles from The Range for £3.49. I also make chocolate truffles at Christmas time, and whilst in previous years I’ve wrapped them in cellophane, I plan on re-using jam jars this year.
HAMPERS & GIFT WRAPPING
It’s all well and good buying more eco-friendly gifts, but what about all of the potential waste in wrapping them?
At Christmas, we use so much wrapping paper, so it’s important for us to look into the ones we buy. We can’t just assume that because it’s paper, it’s recyclable, as that’s often not the case. Good quality, sustainable wrapping paper can be more expensive, so I tend to buy mine in the sales after Christmas and to pop it in the loft for next year. I also sometimes use simple brown paper which has a rustic charm.
This year I’ve found the perfect place to purchase hampers, Claris World, who sell hamper and storage basket sets. They’re essentially traditional hampers with a sustainable twist. Firstly, they feature strap locks, which means that there’s no need to use reels of awful cellophane. Secondly, because they can be used as storage baskets, they have a purpose after Christmas and won’t just be thrown away like typical open hampers, which have a more limited purpose.
I opted for a set of three grey hampers and a single white storage basket box. In previous years I’ve bought single hampers from local garden centres and have paid more than £20.00 per hamper. I don’t actually need the whole set for hampers, so I’ll also be using these as alternatives to gift bags for people I’m buying a few things for.
Although my Christmas certainly won’t be fully sustainable, I’m really working towards it. I’ve shopped small as much as possible and will also be avoiding unnecessary festive items like generic Christmas crackers. I fully believe that every little helps, and that every swap to something more sustainable, matters. If you have any sustainability tips, specific to the festive season, then please do let me know.
* This post contains gifted items. As always, all words, images and opinions about the suitability of these products are my own. Please read my full disclaimer for more information.