Christmas is consumerism incognito, but that doesn’t make it ok. It’s the worst time of year for unnecessary waste, unwanted gifts and empty purses. Don’t be a contributor to the Christmas buying fiasco this year and choose eco-friendly gifts instead and you’ll be kinder to our planet along the way.
I’ve put together my favourite thoughtful eco-friendly and sustainable Christmas gift ideas to inspire you to shop consciously throughout the upcoming festive season.
Isn’t it fascinating watching loved ones, friends or partners eagerly unwrapping their parcels on Christmas morning? In an instant, you’ll see either glee or disappointment wash over their faces – raw emotions that aren’t easily hidden.
If you prefer to see a gleeful giftee, give them what they want, not what they don’t. Reduce waste by addressing that “gifting for the sake of a gift” mindset and adopt a more mindful approach this season.
Time whizzes by (once you pass twenty-five) so plan your Christmas shopping well in advance and observe your loved ones, friends and family members. Make mental (or physical) notes of anything they inadvertently mention they’ve seen, or like throughout the year and watch their face light up when they receive that little something they already had on their must-have list.
01. Give a sustainable self-care subscription
An eco-friendly (and body-friendly) deodorant or razor subscription gets a big Christmas tick from me.
Regular deodorant is powered by aluminium salt which blocks pores, penetrates the skin and finds its way into your bloodstream. Applying a known carcinogen to your armpits is a little too close to breast tissue for comfort so ditch the nasty chemicals and give the gift of toxin-free armpits this Christmas.
My tried and tested favourites are:
Get Fussy – offering plastic-free, compostable refills with a choice of pastel or brightly coloured cases; smells great too with a good selection of scents. I use Get Fussy and my only gripe is that the lid gets a little loose after a while. Other than that, the science-backed pro-biotic formula works a treat.
We Are Wild – claims its eco-friendly case is made from anodised aluminium and recycled plastic, comes in a gorgeous array of shades and is designed to last. We Are Wild natural deodorant formula is 100% effective, 100% plastic-free and fits through your letterbox with no problem at all.
Note: Natural / eco-friendly deodorants aren’t going to suit everyone as we are all physiologically individual. However, once you allow your armpits to breathe freely as nature intended (and you get through the two-week transition phase) you’ll not look back. I certainly haven’t.
I managed to get my husband off his spray can deodorants and onto a We Are Wild subscription and after a few days of use, his armpits came up in sore red lumps, and at first, we thought it was a reaction, but after a bit of research, we found that it was his armpits detoxifying after many years of using aluminium based deodorant and was quite a shocking, but normal phenomenon. It took a couple of weeks or more for the detox process to finish but after being so reluctant to change, he says it’s one of the best things he’s ever done to safeguard his health.
Eco-friendly razor subscription
Buying endless plastic razors is not conducive to our fight against plastic waste with around two billion of them ending up in landfills each year. Give the gift of smooth legs (and other body parts) with a plastic-free razor subscription. Save buying even more unwanted gifts by doubling a subscription as a birthday present too. You’ll need to pay monthly or quarterly for replacement blades so that your recipient can continue using their razor year-round.
I recommend both FFS which I use myself and Estrid which my daughter uses. The blades are recyclable in both cases and as a concept – it just works; the razors are worth their salt too. There isn’t a great deal to set them apart so go with the colour or style you like best – I have FFS “Ivy” and my daughter has “Space” from the respective brands mentioned above.
Get started with vegan-friendly Estid for as little as £7.95 (includes a steel handle, wall mount and 2x razor blades each of which incorporates 5-blade technology) for an unbeatable smooth shave. Delivery is free too.
Note: If finances won’t allow, you can pass the ongoing cost to your loved one if they’d like to go ahead and subscribe thereafter. You can pause, or cancel any time so there’s no risk involved.
If you’d rather choose the safety razor option as a one-off purchase, read about the pros and cons here in my article – Safety razors, all you need to know.
02. Bake your own gifts
I for one, never turn down a free cake (all year round, or mince pie at Christmas). Baked gifts are always a treat and well-received in my experience. You don’t have to be a chef-extraordinaire, simply bake a batch of seasonally themed biscuits (yourself, or with the children) and decorate them with fondant icing – (you’ll want it to set hard). They only take around seven minutes to oven-bake but make it extra special by hand-crafting eco-friendly wrapping for your gastro gift and you can be sure you’ll not disappoint.
03. Buy someone a bonsai tree
Giving a loved one their very own mini tree that will hopefully last a lifetime is sure to make someone’s day. My daughter turned sixteen last year and I bought her a sixteen-year-old bonsai tree to mark the occasion; I wanted it to be a life-long companion for her – they’ll be turning seventeen together soon. Bear in mind that most garden centres won’t know the age of their trees so buy from a reputable bonsai specialist to be sure. Otherwise, an ageless tree will do just fine for Christma – the ultimate gift of longevity – bonsai trees can live for hundreds of years.
If you can’t stretch to a bonsai, a pot plant is just as lovely. Choose plants known for their air-cleaning qualities such as Peace Lily. This commonly found plant is capable of ridding the air in your home of unseen toxic gases such as formaldehyde, carbon and benzene. It’s also very beautiful when in bloom. Keep it happy and it will flower bountifully a couple of times a year and for several weeks. Nature is pretty clever, don’t you think?
04. Support charity shops
When was the last time you visited a charity shop? They aren’t like they used to be you know. Admittedly, some of what’s on offer might be straight out of TKMaxx circa the late 90s early 2000s, but for the most part, there are gifts galore for the discerning, eco supporter.
Support slow, not fast fashion and make conscious choices for the fashionistas in your circle this year.
05. Treat someone to a workshop day
Who doesn’t love a workshop? Whether it be wreath making, candle making or even a day with a ceramicist. If you know your recipient appreciates a slow and simple lifestyle, giving them a hand-making style workshop day would be the perfect gift with nothing wasted at all. Hint hint.
06. Stop buying plastic tat.
Stop Perusing the pound shop for mass-produced plastic tat must stop. Boxed bead boards, games and the like are simply the worst unsustainable gift you can buy. What’s more, it will likely be shoved under the bed with bits missing, or, end up in a landfill before schools return. Refer to thoughtful gifting and observe before going down the aforementioned “gifting for the sake of a gift” route.
07. Finally, just ask.
If you’ve not picked up any verbal clues throughout the year, just ask. Wouldn’t you rather receive a small present you really want than something you don’t like? Otherwise, make a pact with family members not to give gifts at all. Let’s face it, we live in an age where we all pretty much have what we want anyway, and I’m never one to encourage consumerism.
Don’t forget to support small businesses. There is an abundance of wonderfully creative lifestyle businesses online that could use all the support you can give this Christmas
I hope you’ve been inspired to be a thoughtful and responsible shopper with my eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas this season.