Sustainable gifts for Christmas

It’s mid-November and the shops are full of Christmas stuff and, I’m sorry, but I’m not excited. As usual, I’m getting stressed about what to get for everyone, AND depressed about what a big waste it all is. All that new stuff we have to buy, knowing that many of the gifts we give will not be needed or wanted, and will inevitably end up in land fill.

I’m not claiming to be a squeaky-clean green – I drive cars and go on planes, and I buy stuff I need (and some stuff I don’t need), but Christmas is the one time of year when we all feel obliged to buy so many things that have been made using resources the earth is running out of, for people who don’t need any more stuff.

But there is a way to change this – if we buy sustainable gifts…

    Dressing Gown / Robe Hand Block Printed on Organic Cotton   £45    https://www.etsy.com/uk

 

Dressing Gown / Robe Hand Block Printed on Organic Cotton £45

https://www.etsy.com/uk

I hope with this blog to prove that sustainability can be stylish as well as good for the planet. The most obvious sources for sustainable presents are second-hand shops, antique shops and charity shops. These sell treasures that are already made, that are no longer needed by their previous owners, so they are the perfect recycled gifts. Just search google to find the best options near to where you live or work.

There are now many companies making cool products for people who want to be stylish without causing harm. 

EcoAlf make beautiful bags from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles. The fabric is pleasingly luxurious to touch, but strong too.

EcoAlf  'OSLO' WATERPROOF BACKPACK BRONZE. Also available in black. On sale at the  Design Museum  for £100.

EcoAlf 'OSLO' WATERPROOF BACKPACK BRONZE. Also available in black. On sale at the Design Museum for £100.

Loopy Ewes make beautiful sustainable textile products for the home that can be traced from design through production, right back to the flock of sheep that graze the Cotswolds countryside.

Loopy Ewes

Loopy Ewes

Beautiful sustainable ceramics by Rebecca Proctor. Hand-thrown stoneware vase, Cornish clay, nuka glaze, natural ashing £75.   Modern Craft Workshop

Beautiful sustainable ceramics by Rebecca Proctor. Hand-thrown stoneware vase, Cornish clay, nuka glaze, natural ashing £75. Modern Craft Workshop

People Tree

A well-established online shop for sustainable and fair-trade fashion. You will find a large range of gift ideas from clothing and accessories to jewellery and nightwear. Each product has a story about where it’s made and who by. And prices are surprisingly reasonable.   

A delicate ring, £9.60, and Multi Ring Earrings - brass and silver-plated copper, £12.80. Both made by artisans at Bombolulu, a fair trade social business in Kenya that creates beautiful handmade jewellery and provides opportunities for people who have physical disabilities. Available on from  People Tree

A delicate ring, £9.60, and Multi Ring Earrings - brass and silver-plated copper, £12.80. Both made by artisans at Bombolulu, a fair trade social business in Kenya that creates beautiful handmade jewellery and provides opportunities for people who have physical disabilities. Available on from People Tree

Patagonia is an established outdoor clothing brand whose mission is to make the best products using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis

Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Ranch Jacket, £170. This rugged insulated jacket is built for hard work in the open air. Made of tough, comfortable and highly abrasion-resistant industrial hemp, recycled polyester and organic cotton canvas. Also available in black.  Patagonia .

Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Ranch Jacket, £170. This rugged insulated jacket is built for hard work in the open air. Made of tough, comfortable and highly abrasion-resistant industrial hemp, recycled polyester and organic cotton canvas. Also available in black. Patagonia.

The stainless steel classic 18oz water bottle is good for short hikes, trips around town and a perfect big kid water bottle. Small enough to fit in a handbag or backpack and easy to clip with the included BPA-free cap.  Patagonia .

The stainless steel classic 18oz water bottle is good for short hikes, trips around town and a perfect big kid water bottle. Small enough to fit in a handbag or backpack and easy to clip with the included BPA-free cap. Patagonia.

The midsized workhorse rucksack, £110, in the Black Hole® collection is perfect for organising your daily commute and rugged enough to haul around the globe. There are many more bags to choose from on the Patagonia website.  Patagonia

The midsized workhorse rucksack, £110, in the Black Hole® collection is perfect for organising your daily commute and rugged enough to haul around the globe. There are many more bags to choose from on the Patagonia website. Patagonia

Cotton is the most damaging textile to the environment and we in the west buy loads of it. Organic cotton is vastly more sustainable than standard cotton, uses much less water and no pesticides. So if you can possibly buy organic instead, you are making a big difference.

John Lewis sell quite a few organic cotton products including t-shirts, underwear, baby clothes and bed linen.

flannel lined kids jeans from  Frugi Organic , John Lewis £34

flannel lined kids jeans from Frugi Organic, John Lewis £34

Abalon candle.png
Abalon Porcelain black and grey Candle, organic lavender + ecosoya wax, £50.See other options on the website.

Oxfam’s online shop not only sells second-hand donations, many of which would make good presents, but they also partner with sustainable suppliers who put people before profit, and produce quality products with the emphasis on small-scale production and sustainable materials. So you get the added bonus of not only buying sustainable gifts, but your money is going to charity too!

Faith In Nature Coconut Gift Pack £12.99. Containing organic coconut oil:  Shower Gel 250ml, Hand Wash 300ml, Body Lotion 150ml from  Oxfam's online shop

Faith In Nature Coconut Gift Pack £12.99. Containing organic coconut oil:

Shower Gel 250ml, Hand Wash 300ml, Body Lotion 150ml from Oxfam's online shop

Not all the products mentioned here are 100% sustainable, but it is the top priority of the companies that make them, so they are a lot MORE sustainable than most. The money we spend on sustainable products is an investment that will support these companies that are trying to reduce environmental damage.

And that’s a lovely gift to give everyone this Christmas.