Our ethical Christmas gift guide for 2019 has something for everyone…
By Lora O’Brien
Anyone else kind of love, but kind of hate, the holiday season? You marvel at all the gorgeous lights on the high street…and then wonder how much electricity they’re using. You’re thrilled when you open up your gifts…but wonder why Aunt Sally couldn’t have used a recyclable gift bag instead of plastic ‘paper’ for wrapping. And you need to buy gifts for your nephew, mom, boyfriend, sister, colleague…but dread the idea of filling up the world with more wrapping pollution and unwanted gifts. So….what to do?
Well, for starters, be sure that whatever you buy is ‘wrapped’ in something eco-friendly, be it an old newspaper, recycled Kraft paper or a reusable gift bag.
Secondly, make sure you gift something that people will love. Something useful. Something targeted towards that person, but a gift that’s not too particular or personal- just in case.
I think I’m pretty good at gifting. No complaints so far! So I’ve been assigned the task of coming up with gifts for him, her, kids, and everyone, that are sustainable, ethical, and above all, highly desirable. The result? Our ethical Christmas Gift Guide for 2019. I’m sure you’ll find something for everyone on your list this year!
Our Ethical Christmas Gift Guide For 2019
What woman doesn’t like the gift of a stunning scent? The perfect perfume can make a woman feel empowered and sexy, but choosing one for someone else can be tricky – this is usually quite a personal choice!
One thing we can all agree on, though is that chemicals and animal products in perfumes are gross. So gift someone one of Skylar Natural’s perfumes! The brand formulates their scents with safe and natural ingredients based on the strictest of standards. There are no parabens, SLS, hazardous dyes or other nasties in their fragrances.
Skylar makes gifting perfume easy: purchase a $78 sample palette and gift card for your mom, friend, daughter or colleague, and they can then apply the gift card to choose the perfume they love the most. Click here for more information.
Skylar is a brand that not only cares about our health but the planet, too: all their products are made with dual-purpose packaging, renewable resources and recyclable packing materials – making it well and truly Mother Earth approved.
Best for: Allowing your recipient to choose her favourite beauty product
Armenian brand Nairian brings you all-natural plant-based skincare. Its unique formulas have been developed through years of scientific research, and the brand’s cutting-edge skincare solutions are crafted with aromatherapy principles, based on the highest quality organic essential oils.
Their luxurious, softening Hand Cream will be a particular favourite for your mom, gran, sister…you name it! It’s made with a powerful bouquet of ingredients, such as deliciously fragrant rosewater, which collected from Damask Roses grown in the highlands of Armenia; nourishing sunflower oil, which provides protection against cellular and tissue damage caused by free radicals, and golden honey to soothe skin and keep in moisture.
This is a must-have essential for the colder, drier, winter months. Anyone would love to get this in their stocking!
Price: Around $20
Best for: Secret Santa, neutral gifts that suit anyone, stocking stuffers
Let’s face it: gifting cash is, well, lazy. Tacky even. But the truth is, there’s nothing worse than that feeling when you’ve gifted someone with something, and you can just tell it wasn’t quite what they wanted.
A gift card from Net A Porter solves that issue by 1. being elegant and 2. letting the recipient choose whatever they want. We love the fact that they have a wonderful Sustainable Edit, allowing your lucky friend or family member to choose something ethical and/or eco-friendly. And the best part? By the time they open this, the sales will be on!
Price: From $100
Best for: When you really don’t know what to get someone!
Got a friend or relative who’s about to take a winter vacation? These Aria Cateye Sunglasses by WearMe Pro are a VIBE! Chic and stylish, they’re the perfect present. Not only are they surprisingly affordable, but they’re made with polycarbonate frames, a recyclable material.
WearMe Pro work specifically with two families in China, travelling there often to meet with them personally and to spend time ensuring that working conditions are comfortable. In short, it’s an eco-friendly AND ethical sunnies brand.
They’re also proud to give back to the community, via their donations to local and nationwide charities that strive to make a positive impact on the lives of children. For example? This year alone, over 1,000 pairs of glasses have gone to help put a smile on the faces of foster kids through their Kind Campaign, and WearMe Pro also donate any glasses they receive that contain small flaws/are not in selling condition to prevent unnecessary waste.
Best for: Impressing serious fashionistas – these look WAY more expensive than they are!
Is this one for her…or him? Hmm…it’s hard to say! But it either case, someone’s going to be happy!
Posie was founded in 2019 to fuse fashion and sustainability. Posie is for the free-spirited bohemian woman – she who dares stand out from the crowd; who has strong determination, and cares for the planet.
Winter can be a time when we feel a bit pudgy and over-bundled up, but knowing you’ve got some beautiful lingerie under that bulky sweater is a real confidence-booster. Posie’s beautiful products are made from recycled threads whenever possible, with longevity in mind: these should stay in your recipient’s wardrobe for decades to come!
Since they’re ethically designed and crafted in the UK, you can also rest assured there’s no exploitation in the making of these garments.
Price: From around $60
Best for: Making someone feel especially pretty!
If you want to make someone’s Christmas totally memorable, a Piqo Projector is the way to go!
Piqo is a smart mini projector that’s guaranteed to wow family and friends. Compatible with more than 3600 apps including Netflix and Youtube, its 250-inch widescreen will put the icing on the cake at your loved ones’ movie or game nights.
We love how this tiny cube is totally portable, meaning it can be taken everywhere from work to holiday destinations! It’s compact and durable, and totally wireless, with no speaker needing to be added for great sound. Its battery can last up to a whopping 50 hours for music, or 5 hours of video playtime, which allows for around two movies to be seen before it needs to be recharged. Piqo’s HD viewing experience and image clarity are surprisingly sharp by day or by night.
Compatible with Apple and Android, Piqo’s modern design is extremely intuitive – even your old uncle Charles will know how to use it! And if you’re wondering why it’s sustainable, well – it takes up a heck of a lot fewer resources than a wide-screen TV, right?
So, have you decided who will receive a Piqo yet?
Best for: The guy who loves his gadgets
We couldn’t do an Ethical Christmas Gift Guide without including some ‘smellies’ for the guys!
Natural brand Le Labo’s Body & Hair Travel Set includes a shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion, giving a wee taste of the label’s most coveted range to your recipient.
Infused with plant-based ingredients, each product is gently scented with Hinoki – the sacred wood has been used for building shrines in Japan for centuries because of its uniquely sensual – almost spiritual – aroma.
The bottles are all sized for carry-on luggage, and are stored in a printed canvas pouch, so you need never be without them while travelling.
Best for: Guys on the go, or a hint to your boyfriend that you want to go on holiday together!
Once an industry aimed at women, the ethical jewellery market is becoming more versatile. We’re thrilled to find stunning accessories targeted to men that stretch further than say, a watch or holiday friendship bracelet.
Indeed, Boho chic brand MAQÉ is changing the game when it comes to masculine jewellery. Not only is their menswear range super sleek and stylish, but it’s ethically sourced and produced, too.
This is jewellery that’s not for the status-seeker; rather, it speaks more of the wearer’s connection to the Earth. Each unique, responsibly-mined stone that’s set in these durable macramé pieces, accented with recycled gold or platinum, has a story to tell that only the wearer can help reveal.
Price: From around $2,300
Best for: Gifting to the confident, modern man with an understated style
Is it even Christmas if you don’t give the man in your life a pair of socks?
Yep, socks have become a traditional gift in most households, and why not? There’s a lot to be said for a comfy pair of socks through the colder months!
These luxurious organic cotton socks by Fair Trade Winds are super lightweight and breathable, not to mention sustainable and eco-friendly.
UNAIDS works to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages in over 100 countries. They support the strategies and tools that prevent new HIV infections, and making sure that everyone has access to the information and HIV services they need. This is really a gift that keeps on giving!
Best for: Literally everyone on your Christmas list!
Yes, guys like scented candles too, you know! Especially when they exude spicy notes of Lemon, Moss, Mint and Ginger, like this Alexandrie fragrance by Buly does.
It comes housed in a carved marble vessel inspired by Ancient Indian vases, and is made exclusively from plant-based ingredients with a pure cotton wick. As an added bonus, the candle is packaged in a gorgeous green gift box, making this a truly lovely luxury gift.
Best for: The sensual aesthete
The Buyger Tool Box for Kids offers nuts, bolts, and all the tools little builders need to tinker, neatly packed in away in a wood box. It includes loads of wooden tools and fixings, and is guaranteed to stimulate the imagination and help develop dexterity. Suitable for children from two years old, it allows smaller kids to bang away, simulating ‘construction’, and older kids to actually build figures and toys from the pieces in the kit.
Price: Around $15.00
Best for: Active toddlers
Let’s face it – kids want TOYS. But if you’re trying to please the parents as well as the tyke, these Chelsea boots by Stella McCartney are guaranteed to impress! Mom and dad will love them because they’re cruelty-free and chic, and the tot will love the stars and the fact that they slip on and off so easily.
Best for: Making an impression
Kids can create their own Christmas gifts with this box full of 20 easy crafts. It includes recycled stickers, spools, buttons, craft sticks, spools, beads, paper, string, ribbons, glue, tissue paper and papers and pencils that allow children aged six and up to make puppets, animals and jewellery. Easy instructions are included, and the box is even made of recycled paperboard and soy ink.
Best for: Empowering kids to make their own fun!
Know someone that loves their coffee or tea? Encourage them to join the plastic-free movement by gifting them their own reusable coffee cup! You can take one to most coffee chains for filling up, and often even get a discount for doing so.
Made from bamboo with a silicone lid, these coffee cups are super lightweight to carry around, perfect if the person you’re buying one for is a commuter or traveller. These cups are 100% BPA and BPS free, and are the perfect sustainable gift for all ages.
Oh, and if the recipient doesn’t like hot drinks, these are great for cold drinks, too!
Best for: Your coffee-loving friend on the go
Plastic straws aren’t the only issue plaguing our planet: single use cutlery is, too. And that’s why the two friends who founded DueBest decided to make a difference.
They created a lightweight wooden cutlery set that can be washed and re-used wherever you go. It comes in a handy cloth kit that’s easily tucked away in your handbag or briefcase. This is the perfect set for anyone you know who often eats lunches out at fast food joints, or who just likes to dine out frequently.
Best for: Eco-minded friends who eat out a lot
While my favourite part of Christmas is sitting down to write out my Christmas cards, the part I don’t like so much is the waste. Each year 6 billion Christmas cards are thrown away – that’s shocking, right?
So, if you’re old school like me, and still want to send physical cards to your loved ones over the festive period, make sure you choose cards that are ethical as well as gorgeous.
1 Tree Cards have two festive boxes to choose from. Not only are their cards super cute with festive motifs, but they’re also great for our planet. Made with 100% recycled card, vegan inks and completely plastic-free, the company also work with Eden Projects, and have pledged to plant one tree with each and every card sold.
Oh, and each card comes with a flower seed token to plant which is such an adorable gift to the recipient.
Best for: Gifting to colleagues BEFORE the 25th, of course!
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