This year, we’re dreaming of a green Christmas. Whether you’ve already got the mulled drinks flowing and Feliz Navidad on repeat or have so far managed to resist Mariah Carey season, the holidays are upon us. We are major advocates for avoiding unnecessary consumption, but if you are buying gifts for your loved ones and are based in Europe – this is the guide for you.
First, revisit that list
The festive zeitgeist is already full of advice on what to purchase to achieve the “perfect’ holiday – outfits to look perfect, decorations for the perfect tree and home, expensive gifts for everyone. Advertisers are clever, they know how to draw us in with enticing marketing. But, the planet has a serious waste crisis and the holiday season is the epitome of that. You know the scene – discarded wrapping paper piling, endless boxes of chocolates everyone is sick of, presents from relatives that you are already trying to figure out how to regift. We want to buck those trends this year and gift-giving is a great starting point.
The holidays are about our loved ones. This time of year is for slowing down, spending quality time together, enjoying meals together, being thankful for what we have, sharing what we have, reflecting on the year we’ve had and looking forward to the next one. Your time, attention and affection are the most valuable gifts you can offer those you love this year. The pandemic has kept so many families apart over the past two years so if you are fortunate enough to see those you love, make the most of it. Turn off your devices and be fully present. Grab that old deck of cards or monopoly board, gather around the kitchen table and enjoy each others company. Until the squabbling starts over who might be cheating of course.
If you do want to purchase a gift for your nearest and dearest, aim to buy something that is long-lasting and durable that they can treasure. Seek to spend your hard-earning money with businesses that are addressing social and environmental problems through the products and/or their philanthropy. When it comes to ethical gifting, there are a couple of foundational principles you can apply everything to ensure you delight your giftee and the planet is all the better for it.
> Choose local
> Look for upcycled
> Avoid trendy and go for timeless
> Support artisans and crafters
> Promote small businesses
> Patronise businesses owned by marginalised groups
> Choose based on plastic-free/vegan/fairtrade/organic/zero-waste
Below is a list of sustainable, conscious brands to get you started.
A zero-waste gift
Stylish reusables will always be in vogue. Gift your loved ones the kind of reusables they will never forget to take with them, making those #LittleGreenSteps easier, and sexier, than ever.
Kambukka is a Belgian B Corp that makes chic reusable coffee cups and water bottles. The insulated mugs keep your beverage hot and are spill and leak-proof, making them perfect for a latte on the go.
Global WAKEcup is a zero-waste brand on a mission to end single-use plastic pollution for good. More than just stylish, sustainably sourced coffee cups and water bottles, they also donate 10% of all profits to the Marine Conservation Society.
Conscious Christmas chocolate
Most of us associate the holidays with the food – all the classics we look forward to throughout the year. None more than chocolate. Unfortunately, the chocolate industry has a dark side. Gift your loved ones with ethically sourced chocolate this year to enjoy all the deliciousness without the negative impact.
A Finnish chocolatier, Goodio is passionate about their founding principles of sustainability, well-being, and transparency. Their vision is to bring Nordic-inspired flavours to a chocolate brand for the global consumer. Goodio uses organic, nutritious ingredients and fuses them with unique flavours like wild blueberry and sea buckthorn to give you a delicious one-of-a-kind treat.
Known for their bold campaigns, Tony’s is a Dutch chocolate company on a mission to eradicate slavery from the chocolate industry. Working directly with over 8,000 farmers who produce cocoa in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, Tony’s knows exactly where their cocoa comes from and ensures everyone in the supply chain is making a living wage.
A gift for wine-lovers
You can’t go wrong with wine during the holiday season, a great gift to enjoy together. And, we’ve found some that has a positive impact on the planet!
Seachange is turning the tide on plastic waste. The business produces a selection of excellent wines and donates a percentage of its profits to ocean charities. They are conscious about their packaging too – they’ve removed the pointless plastic wrap around the cork introduced the use of renewable plant-based closures and used paper that is made partially from grapes. Good for the ocean, great as a Christmas gift.
Chic, washable and made from sustainable materials. Uashama is a family-owned business that makes chic wine bags – designed, and entirely made in Tuscany, Italy. The family is passionate about sourcing their materials ethically and designing innovative earth-friendly materials for their products.
Green gifts for plant-lovers
Plants are the gift that keeps on giving. They bring nature into our homes, purify the air and create a calming ambience. Whether your giftee is a green-fingered veteran or a total novice there is a perfect plant gift for everyone.
Made from recycled plastic in Leith, Scotland, these plant pots make the perfect gift for the plant parents in your life. Designs include watercolour, retro-inspired and even tartan so there are options for all aesthetics.
Husk is a family run business with sustainability at its heart. They use agricultural waste, such as coffee husk and chaff, mixed with plant fibres to create the advanced biodegradable composite that forms pots, planters, vases and more.
This Estonian startup produces indoor gardens from starter size to garden towers. Gift your loved ones a beautiful, self-growing indoor garden that produces lush greenery as well as a sustainable supply of herbs, vegetables and flowers.
Gifts for zero-waste yogis
Give the gift of zen with these sustainable yoga brands.
Cork Yogis make gorgeous, earthy-toned yoga mats that are non-slip, eco-friendly and natural. What’s even more impressive is their mission to help empower human trafficking survivors. Cork Yogis give 10% of their profits to a charity in India that supports survivors of sex slavery and human trafficking.
Girlfriend Collective is an inclusive, sustainable activewear brand creating thoughtfully-crafted yoga leggings, co-ordinating sets and active accessories in a variety of stylish colourways, shapes and sizes. Made from old water bottles and nets, Girlfriend Collective are a brand committed to making a difference, believing women’s health and wellness comes in many shapes and sizes.
Sustainable self-care gifts
Self-care items are the ideal gift for anyone who is feeling a little frazzled by December. Which, lets be honest, is most of us!
Jasmine Hemsley is a three-time bestselling author, the founder of Hemsley + Hemsley and East by West, a TV presenter, chef, food and health writer, restaurateur and wellbeing expert. She believes in conscious, healthy and joyful living, drawing from the depth of Eastern wisdom and holistic philosophies of health. Her beauty range includes a neem comb, and a traditional Ayurvedic massage tool – the Kansa Wand.
Upcircle is a brand adored by vegans and zero-wasters alike. Each product rescues by-products from other industries – the food and drink industry in particular. One of their best-sellers is a coffee scrub is made with top-quality Arabica coffee grounds sourced from artisan coffee shops. The circular economy sits at the heart of their business model. All of their products are, sustainable, vegan and cruelty-free.
Founded in Germany, Muehle produces classically beautiful and high-quality safety razors. Using traditional methods, the razors are designed for a distinctly close and lasting shave. They are a great choice for the environmentally conscious, reducing both plastic waste without compromising on precision. And, they look great displayed in your bathroom.
IMAGE: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash | IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A flatlay of dried Christmas foliage on a neutral backgroud. There are sprigs of connifer, holly and eucalyptus.
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