A Sustainable Gift Giving Guide

With gift giving round the corner and waste around Christmas being higher than ever, what better way to celebrate the festive period then the ultimate gift giving guide. Sustainability is hard when everything in the shops is sparkly, fantastic and seemingly wrapped in plastic, but here is the eco-friendly guide to how to shop for her, for him and for all!

If you are someone who is into buying ‘new gifts’ then why not shop small business? I find the best places to shop are both on Etsy and Depop, and I can guarantee that most sellers will have presents that your gift receiver will never have seen before. Plus, you can find small businesses that use sustainable packaging and fulfil all your sustainability needs.

For Her…

Although it is angled at more feminine products, this doesn’t mean that these items can’t be enjoyed by those of all genders!

  1. Bamboo Makeup Removers / Cloth: Always handy to have and a must for any makeup lovers. Buy bamboo makeup cloths or opt for the all in one makeup remover cloth which is perfect for removing all traces of makeup after a long day!
  2. Recycled Jewellery: There are a lot of incredible recycled jewellery brands who make some beautiful, unique works. Find sea-glass, crystals, rings made of spoons, people get really creative and make amazing works of art!
  3. Recycled Candles: You can either get thrifty with your old candles and save up the leftovers from your new candle to make into others, or you can buy them from sellers who specialise in leftover wax, it’s really up to you.
  4. Shampoo and Conditioner Bars: These are great stocking fillers and are completely zero waste. The bars come solid and you simply use them like bar soap, except for your hair. It is magical and really looks the part in a minimalist home.
  5. Dried Flower Art: Again, you can get as thrifty or as purchase-y as you want. Find some flowers or leaves, press them using old books and in a couple of weeks, you will have dried flowers ready to stick into a frame! Charity shops usually have an abundance of frames so pick up a pretty one, glue down your flowers in a pretty pattern and you have flower art, perfect to give to a friend or family member.

For him…

Again, can be used for all genders, but are good, useful gifts for more masculine based products.

  1. Reusable Razor: These are slightly more expensive, so maybe not something you would buy yourself, but an excellent gift for someone who hasn’t taken the plunge yet. These often work better than cheap, disposable ones and you only need to change the blades which saves gargantuan amounts of waste. Plus, they look super cute and simple in any bathroom.
  2. Reusable stainless-steel water bottle: I feel like everyone needs to take a gentle nudge to drink more water, and what better way to inspire them than by getting them a reusable water bottle they can take on the go. Eco-friendly ones are readily available and often donate to charities with every purchase, so go wild.
  3. Second-hand books: Bookshops often provide a significant amount of waste, so why not buy second hand? If you are looking for a specific book, maybe this isn’t an option, but if you want something in that genre, these places are a gold mine.
  4. Recycled socks: This is a great gift for those who are frequent losers of socks as they come in a complete array of colours and patterns. Just a little swap to an eco-friendlier wardrobe.
  5. Eco-notebooks and pens: This is a great gift for those who don’t take notes on pretty paper. Lots of businesses have taken the swap to more eco-friendly notebooks and you can do it too. But now you can even buy eco-pens, with refillable ink cartridges so you never need to buy another full plastic pen again, unless you lose it…

For both…

  1. Homemade knitting: Most charity shops have an abundance of very cheap wool just waiting at your fingertips. Scarfs and hats are pretty easy to knit yourself and it always feels fulfilling gifting fruits of your labour to friends.
  2. Plant in natural packaging: A great gift for any of your plant loving friends, and many little stores sell plants in recycled packaging and pots.
  3. Artwork: either make your own artwork or buy artwork off small businesses! There are many weird and wonderful prints out there and you can again get a frame from a charity shop and you have sustainable décor which people will never not need.
  4. Make your own chocolate: Making your own chocolate can be relatively easy and a really nice organic touch. Find a good recipe online with a base of coconut and cocoa powder, fill it with your favourite ingredients and you have a bar to gift.
  5. Bamboo food wraps: These are another really handy tool to keep around the house and can be bought relatively cheap off small sellers on both eBay and Etsy. They make good useful stocking fillers and come in an array of pretty patterns to save your food in.
  6. Funky ceramics from the charity shop: This one you can get as creative with or as low maintenance as it comes: find an assortment of weird and wonderful creations and package them into a styling bundle. Some items to look for include candlestick holders, pottery, jugs, plates and plant pots. The world is your oyster so to speak and you will find some amazing accents for your place.

Published by Heather Dalgleish

21-year-old journalism student. Author and illustrator for In Full Bloom Magazine

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