Our environmental awareness and knowledge about the impact that our actions have on the state of our planet is higher than ever, particularly within the younger generation who are paving the way for change. As teen activist Greta Thunberg said, “Change is coming, whether you like it or not.” We are taking a stand to buy less single use plastic, to buy more from charity shops, to choose sustainable brands, and to ‘make do and mend’. But with Christmas fast approaching and the ensuing tidal wave of shiny plastic coated wrapping paper, crackers stuffed with plastic landfill and unwanted gifts that are bought because they’re the ‘in’ thing that year, isn’t it time that we reassessed how we celebrate the festive season and instead come up with sustainable Christmas gift ideas?
Well, eco-warriors we can help you on your way, as we’ve put together a few gift ideas that will bring a smile to your loved one’s faces as well as helping to protect the planet in whatever small way we can. Because small changes are better than no changes at all. Check them out and let us know what you think:
An Alternative To Wrapping Paper
According to an article in the Telegraph, consumers in the UK use approximately 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year. If this isn’t shocking enough, brace yourself, because over 83km² of this ends up in our bins, which of course then ends up as landfill. Most of it cannot be recycled, because it is coated in plastic or covered in glitter and then there’s the bits of sellotape attached to it too. It’s basically an eco-nightmare!
The wastefulness of Christmas wrapping paper has been picked up on over more recent years with people choosing to wrap their gifts in brown parcel paper instead, so that it can be recycled afterwards. And this is fine, it’s great for the environment which is the main thing, but it’s not exactly the prettiest, no matter how much you tart it up with embellishments.
FabRap ticks both the sustainable box as well as the looks gorgeous box. Created by designer Hema Kumar, FabRap is a sustainable and stylish fabric alternative to wrapping paper, which can be used over and over again and will guarantee the gifts you give really stand out from the crowd.
The fabric is made from 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton and doesn’t require the use of tape or scissors. So how do you wrap gifts with it then, I hear you cry. Simply through a series of nifty folds, tucks and ties that’s how, although this handy little how to video will make things a lot clearer!
The entire range is available on the FabRap website with prices ranging from €7 – €25 including UK delivery. So yes, it’s more expensive than your bog standard roll of wrapping paper, but just look at how beautiful it is. Plus, if you sat down and worked out the cost per use, bearing in mind if you use it to wrap your immediate family’s presents you can totally swipe it back after they’ve opened their present, you will easily get your money back before too long. Good for the environment as well as your finances… we love!
The Clever Combo Gift
We love a gift that ticks more than one box and this eco-friendly, design your own yoga mat kit does exactly that. DIYogi covers both your gym loving friend and your craft obsessed teen.
Sometimes products like this rely a little too much on the gimmick factor and this can impact on the overall quality. But this is so not the case with DIYogi mats, which are about as high quality a yoga mat as you can get. The mats are free from the usual nasties: PVC, Phtalates, glue and toxic dyes, and are instead made with sustainably sourced natural rubber, which is 100% recyclable and completely non-slip regardless of how sweaty you get. They are 4mm thick and have a cotton inner layer that adds extra comfort and support. Plus the slightly sticky surface helps too and will even prevent you slipping and sliding during a hot yoga session – now that’s good!
The kit comes complete with a choice of mat – there are 3 different colours (white, pink and blue) – a handy strap to make it easier to carry to classes, and 4 reusable yoga themed stencils (mandalas, ‘Om’ sign etc.) for you to customise your mat. This is quite frankly epic in my opinion and I know so many girls who will think so too. My only beef, and it’s not a biggie, is that the kit doesn’t come with a set of markers. £77 is a lot to spend on a yoga mat and to then have to go out and spend more money on some markers, because lets face it it is slightly disappointing getting a gift only to find you can’t start using it straight away, is kind of a big ask. That being said if you know someone who would love to receive this then wrapping up a small pack of markers in funky colours as an extra small present is very handy for ticking another person off your Christmas shopping list!
As long as you use Stained by Sharpie markers on the mat, your finished design will never rub off. Great if you fancy yourself a bit of an artist, less so if you struggle drawing a stickman… but then that’s where the stencils come in.
To help you with your Christmas spending, DIYogi have kindly given our readers a 10% discount when you quote the code HEALTHY10 at the checkout. For more information abut their customised yoga mats go to the DIYogi website.
The Unusual but Reusable Gift
OK so you might not necessarily consider giving a reusable tampon applicator as a gift, it’s probs not gonna be on the top of anyone’s Christmas list that’s for sure. However, if you’re buying for someone who really, really cares about their impact on the environment then this is a fantastically original gift choice.
The sustainable personal care brand DAME have launched D, the world’s first reusable tampon applicator. Presented in this super stylish gift tin (although also discreet, so there’s no need to worry about any embarrassment when opening in front of the relatives!) it comes complete with their own range of fully biodegradable tampons.
100 billion period products are thrown away every year, many of these flushed down the toilet and out into our oceans. In a recent UK beach clean up, 9 used plastic applicators were found for every kilometre of beach. That’s shocking. And it’s entirely unnecessary if we all start buying products, such as D, that can be safely reused when we get our period each month. In fact DAME have worked out that for every woman that makes the switch to using a reusable tampon applicator, she’ll prevent roughly 12,000 single-use applicators from being dumped in our oceans. I mean, when you put it like that, it’s clearly a no-brainer!
And there’s no need to worry about hygiene, because D is made using BPA free medical grade Mediprene®, which has clever inbuilt antimicrobial Sanipolymers® in it that helps keep it germ free. Obviously it’ll need a wash, but there’s no need to sterilise it or run it through a hot dishwasher, in fact this only damages the self-sanitizing polymers which in turn makes it less hygienic.
Each gift tin costs £24.99 and includes the D applicator, a zipped wallet and 6 organic, toxin free tampons. We think this is a unique yet practical gift for the VSCO girl in your life. For more information about D and their organic tampon subscription service visit the DAME website.
The Reusable Beauty Gift
I’m sure we all know someone who absolutely adores make up. I have a couple of nieces who, like most girls their age, are literally obsessed with it. They watch the make up tutorials on YouTube, they have those eyebrows all the girls seem to have these days, and they love their products. They know exactly what they like and they’re unlikely to use any make up you buy them unless someone’s given you the heads up about what brand they use. So basically buying make up for someone is a bit of a minefield and should probably be avoided at all costs.
However, the layers of make up need to come off at some point and with the shocking news that 11,000,000,000 wet wipes go to land fill each year, it’s about time we looked at a different way to shift that foundation!
These gorgeous Reusable Make Up pads from Squidge and Smudge are perfect. They’re made from natural soft bamboo fibres. which is way better for your skin because it’s softer than normal cotton wool pads. And they also don’t use any nasty chemicals and so won’t cause any irritation, which means they can be used around the sensitive eye area too.
Handmade in the UK, each beautifully designed pad is made up of a gorgeous quirky printed fabric on one side and a soft white layer on the cleansing side that is stitched together with vibrant rainbow coloured stitching round the edges. The re-useable pads come in a 100% cotton string bag, which is also super cute, and means there is no plastic packaging to worry about either.
When it comes to cleaning the pads, simply rinse with shampoo or soap immediately after use so that you get out most of the make up out and to reduce the risk of staining, and then pop in the washing machine (ideally in a mesh bag or tied up pillow case to avoid losing them) the next time you’re doing a wash.
Think not only of how much money you’ll save in the long term, but most importantly how many packs of cotton wool pads you’ll be stopping going to landfill!
A truly beautiful gift that I for one would absolutely LOVE to receive this year. These reusable make up pads cost £10.99 for a set of 12 and are available to buy from the Nurture Collective website.
The Eco Conscious Gift
Finding natural beauty products that are both affordable and luxurious enough to give as Christmas presents, as well as being kind to our winter ravaged skin and to the environment all at the same time sounds like a pretty big ask, right?
Well, lookie here what we have for you!
Conscious House London sells handmade, natural and eco-friendly home and beauty products that are on another level gorgeous. Their Orange and Cinnamon Bar Soap (£4) for instance, basically smells like Christmas in soap form – Christmas pudding, mulled wine and mince pies all rolled into one. And their best-seller product, Berry Lip Scrub (£12) is equally as tasty smelling plus feels super gentle and nurturing, as though it’s giving your lips the attention and care they need to make it through the winter. Some lip scrubs leave your lips feeling tingly and exposed to the elements, but not so with this creamy, almost mousse-like natural scrub.
All of the Conscious House London products are packaged in containers that are either recycled or recyclable. Plus when the products are sent out, they of course ensure that they arrive in one piece, but use a minimal amount of packaging and what is used is recycled or reused paper.
We think both of these items would make perfect stocking fillers or combined with a few more bits and bobs to make up a self care hamper of treats to show someone how much you care about their wellbeing.
To view the full range of products head to the Conscious House London website.
The Family Gift
Let’s face it, these days kids know way more about how we can help the environment than us adults do and many of them are already excellent eco-warriors. But they’re not always so great at brushing their teeth and this bamboo toothbrush subscription from Blue Rock could be exactly the solution to that problem!
OK, OK so it may cause a few eye rolls – who the hell gets a toothbrush for Christmas? But the way we see it is that the Tooth Fairy and Santa are clearly in cahoots and it just kinda figures that the big man would need to counter balance something good with all those sugary Christmas treats. Failing that, we reckon this would make a lovely addition to a Christmas Eve box that you can all unwrap together as a family and create the tradition for each and every year.
So what’s the deal? Well, basically you choose a subscription program on their website (you can have a parcel turn up every 1, 2, 3, or 4 months depending on how often you like to change your toothbrush) and then select how many people you want it for. Each letterbox friendly, recyclable parcel comes with individually wrapped (it’s OK it’s all plastic free!) eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes.
There are lots and lots of things which make these toothbrushes great in the sustainability stakes…
- They are made from Mao Bamboo, which is the world’s fastest growing plant thus making it a sustainable super force to be reckoned with.
- It can be recycled! Come on, we all know that things like toothbrushes have to be replaced after a while – hygiene people, hygiene. But if you remove the bristles from your bamboo toothbrush, the handle is actually biodegradable and can therefore be put in your compost bin.
- The packaging is all completely recyclable.
- Blue Rock donate 50p to WWF for everyone who uses their discount code (see below) to sign up to a subscription.
- Choosing bamboo over plastic toothbrushes helps reduce plastic pollution and protects our oceans and marine life that little bit more.
Prices vary depending on how many people you want the subscription for but as an example for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids it will cost you £14.40 and you then choose how often you want to pay this (it’s the same price regardless of whether you have it every month or every 4 months for instance). And if you go for an annual subscription, you can choose from the same packages but instead of paying every month you can pay up front for the year and this will save you 10%.
For more information about these bamboo toothbrushes go to the Blue Rock website and don’t forget to take advantage of their Discount Code – SEALS – to get 25% off when you join.
The Kind In The Kitchen Gift
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love receiving Christmas gifts that are both practical and beautiful at the same time. I mean I know they say that it’s the thought that counts, but what good is a gift that you’re never going to use? Basically that’s the very epitome of waste!
Handmade using organic cotton, organic jojoba oil, organic natural resin and sustainable beeswax, Finlay Bee wraps are biodegradable and compostable when they eventually reach the end of their very long life. Because you see these little beauts can be used over and over again to keep your food protected and fresh, all you have to do is give them a wash in cool or lukewarm water (not hot or you’ll melt the beeswax!) and they’re good to go. Beeswax by it’s very nature is both antibacterial and antifungal, which makes it the perfect material for wrapping food as it allows it to breathe and therefore stay fresher for longer and there’s none of this food sweat business going on.
Each mixed pack includes 3 different sized Finlay Bee beeswax food wraps (1 x 20cm x 20cm, 1 x 27cm x 27cm and 1 x 35cm x 35cm) or you can buy a three pack of each size if you already know what it is you’re going to use them for. The small size is good for wrapping things like fruit or for popping over the top of a small pot, medium is good for sandwiches and cheese, and the largest size is great for covering a salad bowl for example.
Regardless of whether you’re a foodie or not, we think these reusable Beeswax Food Wraps from Finlay Bee make the perfect Christmas gift. And if you don’t receive any yourself, then we say go and buy yourself some to wrap up all those Christmas dinner leftovers.
You can buy a pack of these beautiful beeswax food wraps for £15.99 on Amazon.
The Stocking Filler Gift
In our fight against all things plastic, this year has seen a real boom in alternative products that use more eco-conscious packaging. Shampoo bars are one of those products. Now, there are some out there that are, well to put it bluntly… a bit pants. They don’t lather up very well, they leave your hair feeling dirtier than before you washed it, and they don’t always smell that good.
Not so this hydrating shampoo bar from Christophe Robin. Having tested it out myself I can vouch that a) it lathers up an absolute treat, b) it smells divine, c) it is super easy to apply, and d) it feels really lovely and gentle and soft when you rub it into your hair, unlike the harshness that ordinary chemical laden shampoo can leave your hair feeling like.
The shampoo bar is 100% natural, meaning there are no parabens, silicones or SLS contained in it, and it is also 100% vegan. It is made up of Aloe Vera, natural glycerin and castor oil and it’s unisex look means it is suitable for both men and women.
The beauty of a shampoo bar is that it requires no plastic packaging – a huge environmental no-no. And it will last a lot longer than a bottle of liquid shampoo, which is good because this bar will set you back a rather costly £16 (pretty sure it saves you a bit of money overall though). It will take a while for your hair to adapt, as it needs to strip away all the build up of other hair products from your hair, but persevere and you’ll get there, it’s totally worth it I promise.
We reckon this would make a gorgeous little stocking filler or perhaps even combined with some of the other eco-products featured in this guide within a personalised Christmas hamper.
For more information about this shampoo bar and the other products in the range visit the Christophe Robin website.
You’re Good To Go!
So there you have it. I reckon we’ve pretty much got you covered in the sustainable gift stakes, so what you waiting for… there’s less than 8 weeks until Christmas. Get shopping!
*products gifted for review
Do you have a sustainable gift idea you’d like to recommend?
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