By Anna van der Heijden
Although Christmas is a joyous time for most, filled with friends, family and food, some people struggle with one major aspect of the holidays: gift giving.
Indeed, it is an art to know what to give a person. You really need to put yourself in their position and ask yourself: what would they truly like? It should be something novel, that they may not necessarily think to buy themselves. It should be something relatively unique that few others have. And it should be something, of course, that you are proud to give.
This latter point is helped along a bit when you know your gift is sustainable. Here, I’ve selected a variety of presents for Eluxe’s 2016 sustainable gift guide that are not only eco-friendly, but were mainly chosen to suit both men and women, to make your holiday giving a little bit easier.
Looking for a truly unique gift? Jacto’s jewellery is made of very interesting kind of natural waste, namely: fish! They use the skin, bones and jaws of fish caught by the commercial seafood industry and turn that into edgy pieces of unisex jewellery. Combined with recycled silver and brass, the fishy leftovers make cool and unique pieces. Wouldn’t every surfer or beach lover you know just die for one of these?
The winter sky might feel fresh and crisp, but unfortunately there are many places where the opposite is true. Especially in big cities, the air can be very polluted. This becomes super visible when you look at the grimy face wipe after you’ve cleaned your face after a long day outside. Yuk! That’s where FOM London comes in. All this skincare brand’s products are natural and free from all the things you would never want on your skin. Their Anti Pollution Skin Supplement Essence deeply cleans skins of all kinds, to help eliminate the damage done by air pollution. This would be a perfect gift for a dear family member living in a big city.
NadiaZ creates perfumes for men and women that exotic, lush and highly unique. Handcrafted in small batches from highly concentrated, all natural materials like oud extract, frankincense and jasmine oils, they are just as focused on making you smell lovely as they are on preserving environment and the health of the wearer. These are pure – no nasty chemical solvents, preservatives or fragrance holders here. They’re the kind of gift the three kings would have been proud to present!
We all have that hipster family member or friend who’s in constant need of keeping organised while they go about their working day, and M.R.K.T.’s durable, unisex bags are perfect for their laptops, phones, trendy magazines and more. M.R.K.T. – which stands for Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger – uses innovatively eco friendly materials which are socially conscious and vegan friendly to create minimalist designs that suite urbanites of both genders.
Wrap someone you want to hug in a super soft cashmere throw by ethical textile company Cosi. Cosi is a company that will definitely be on Santa’s ‘good’ list: they work only with families and small businesses in Nepal and Mongolia, to create beautiful, fair trade and ethical items. The traditional techniques have been passed on for generations, which you can see in their exceptionally well crafted scarves and throws, which are a gift that anyone of any age would love.
Every DIY king or queen’s heart will beat a bit faster when receiving a present by Wool and the Gang. This company creates cool knit patterns and supplies the necessary, carefully sourced, fully sustainable materials to make it. The calming process of knitting is that essential ingredient that will make you love your comfy sweater or cosy scarf just a bit more. For the people who don’t really like DIY but do like the Wool and the Gang designs, you can also ask the Gang to make something especially for you.
It is a gift giving classic: the notebook. For anyone of any age with artistic or writing talent, there is something exciting about starting the new year with a book packed with blank pages. Anything is possible! But if you stack all those pretty books with their white pages and leather covers, you easily collect a big amount of unsustainable materials. Paper Thinks has a solution for this: they use recycled paper and leather scraps to make ecological, elegant notebooks.
Got a vegan friend? No worries: another brand to check out is Kapdaa, below. They use the chic, colourful scrap fabrics leftover from top interior and fashion designers. A stylish way to start the year with a truly clean slate!
Do you know someone who’s always late? Send them a subtle hint by giving them a vegan timepiece they won’t want to separate from. Votch creates minimalistic, unisex watches with vegan straps that match just about any outfit in any man or woman’s closet. Plus, every three months they choose a charity to donate 10% of all profits to, meaning your gift purchase indirectly helps a charity, too.
Many of those ultimate happy holiday feelings are linked to scents. Whether that comes from the gingerbread men cookies baking in the oven or from a walk in the cold woods, we often associate memories with smells; and a delicious aroma can wash over you like a comfortable and warm blanket. A scented candle can have the same effect. Those by the Pure Candle Co are all vegan certified and handcrafted in the USA using only pure essential oils and non-GMO soy wax.
The Pure Candle’s Holiday Collection is a Limited Edition that comes in festive scents like PEACE (a blend of Pine, Balsam Fir and White Spruce) and MERRY (Cinnamon and Orange). The Simplicity Collection is also lovely, and consists of single scents like Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus and Lavender. All candles come in an artisan made recycled glass vessel which can be re used after candle is finished. Start the New Year with creating resolutions which will manifest with the INTENTIONS candle collection, which consists of aromas to help bring joy, health, prosperity and more.
Winter is a time for pampering and hot baths, and a good mask goes perfectly with both. This one by Glacial Facial is made with the most mineral-rich and pure glacial clay in the world, sustainably hand-carved from the remote waters of the Copper River Delta in Alaska and enriched with a special combination of certified organic and wildcrafted botanical extracts from the Pacific Northwest. It’s perfect for anyone who loves soaking in a hot tub – whilst they relax in the bath, they can apply this and benefit from its moisturising, skin-softening, anti-aging and immunoprotective properties.
No one likes the dreadful morning commute to work or school in a stuffy tube or bus, so why not make it more fun with a lightweight scooter by Swifty Scooters? They’re great for people of all ages, but Swifty acknowledges that sometimes, adults may feel odd scooting along in the city, so they made the first ever scooter that transforms into a bicycle, too! Add a few parts and presto – start peddling to work. Your commuting loved-one couldn’t ask for a cooler gift!
Made from the purest silks and wools, scarves by Emma J Shipley are basically works of art. Her designs are truly unique, and to be frank – they could be hung in a frame as art, or worn with pride with any man or woman’s outfit. The Star Wars themed designs are our favourite gift idea for your favourite film fan of all ages.
Who wouldn’t want a gift box packed with Nathalie Bond Organics’ beautiful skincare products and fragrant candles? Made in small batches using organic and wildcrafted ingredients, this range includes handmade soaps, lip salves, balms, body oils, scrubs, bath salts and body creams that are perfect for men, women and children of all ages. Housed in heavy glass containers, these make lusciously scented gifts!
A lot of people find gift certificates to be the easiest gift to give. And whilst they are kind of impersonal, since you didn’t actually choose a gift yourself, per se, I think if you select the right shop, it IS a personal gift! For example, people who are into organic and natural grooming and beauty – be they female or male – would love a certificate from Love Lula, who do them in denominations ranging from $30-100.
Alternatively, give a gift that keeps on giving: sign your loved one up for a subscription box for food or beauty. You can choose a selection of organic, ethical and natural products to be delivered to the person each month from Birchbox, for example, or you can even get undies delivered door to door each quarter with Dada’s subscription service for guys. No more knackered elastics or holes ever again!
15. Just Your Basics
Socks, undies, tees. The three things all people need, always. So an organic cotton tee is always welcome, for both men and women. They’re great under a shirt in winter, on their own in summer, and can be worn casually or even at the gym.
This one by KOTN is found at Either/Or, an eco friendly Canadian fashion shop that delivers internationally. The style and fitting suits both men and women – meaning you can buy this for him, but ‘borrow’ it constantly. Bwah ha ha!
16. A Damn Good Book
Books are a classic Christmas gift for people of all ages. We especially those which are meant to be displayed on a coffee table. There are plenty around – Taschen makes some great ones – but those on fashion are always popular.
One we recommend for just about anyone is designer Daniel Lismore’s new tome. Given the unofficial title of “U.K.’s most flamboyant dresser,” his latest photographic book is called “Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken,” based on his most recent exhibition, which toured during Art Basel in Miami Beach in December. The hardcover book is filled with rather incredible and creative ensembles crafted from recycled and upcycled knicknacks, clothing and other materials. This would make for a very colourful and special Christmas present.