A better gift guide: 22 sustainable & ethical presents with a purpose this Christmas

A better gift guide: 22 sustainable & ethical presents with a purpose this Christmas

We are well into November and naturally, around this time of the year, fairy lights start to cover every square metre of the high street. With festive decorations in full swing and jingle bells already playing on the radio, many of us can’t help but begin the annual hunt for Christmas presents.

And while gift giving is a lovely tradition, it can also be quite wasteful. Rather than subscribing to a throw-away culture, make Christmas gifting an opportunity to leave a positive impact across the board: on those who give and receive presents, and also on people &  planet. Think of it as if every purchase casts a vote for the kind of world you would want to see… 

Obviously, this way of thinking makes everything a lot harder and puts a lot of pressure on every single purchase you wished to make. But we got you! With this list, we shed a light on 22 brands that offer inherently better gifts. So that when the time to buy comes, you can make the purchase count.

 

GIFT IDEAS FOR FOODIES

Finger-licking presents for those who cannot imagine their day-to-day without some delicious meals and quality ingredients… 

BakesterBox

For a budding baker, look no further than BakesterBox’s gourmet baking kits and baking subscriptions 🍰 Curated by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef, each kit includes the finest ingredients, reusable baking equipment, and uses biodegradable packaging.

✔️small business

✔️female-owned

✔️environmentally-conscious

DabbaDrop 

DabbaDrop reinvented UK takeaway by making it both sustainable and plant-based! Their set of plant-based condiments could definitely be something for a food-lover with not much time on their hands. A colourful and delicious way to jazz up a meal 💫

✔️small business

✔️female-owned

✔️zero-waste

✔️plant-based

On the table 

A deli box full of goodies from small batch producers 👩‍🌾 It features the kind of thoughtful, arisian-made products that are hard to find in supermarkets. Something a foodie, or even someone who just likes to host, would deeply appreciate. 

✔️small business

✔️female co-founder

✔️small batch, mainly local products

Laylo 

A box for those who love a glass of wine with their meal. Laylo offers beautifully packaged boxed wines made by small-scale producers, selected by fancy critics and appraised by everyday wine lovers. More sustainable than traditional bottled wine, but not compromising on taste or design 🍷

✔️small business

✔️female-owned

✔️environmentally-conscious

Natalie Chassay’s online cooking classes

Natalie’s cooking classes are an invitation to a world full of flavour 👩‍🍳They are perfect for those who feel a bit lost with traditional, complicated recipe descriptions and instead want the building blocks of how to make delicious, easy meals with whatever you've got on hand. You'll marvel at its simplicity.

✔️small business

✔️female-owned

✔️experience, not an item

Avallen Spirits

If you would like to give someone very nice alcohol, consider Avallen’s Calvados. Their recently launched paper bottles have a carbon footprint six times lower than the glass alternative. And every bottle of this heavenly nectar removes 2.73kg of Co2 from the atmosphere and 1% of their sales goes towards saving bees 🐝 

✔️female co-founder

✔️environmentally conscious: B-Corp 

✔️1% for the Planet

 

GIFT IDEAS FOR WELLNESS 

Presents that will empower anyone to take care of their health and wellness in the upcoming year…

Mother Root 

Alcohol-free aperitifs that are not only delicious but also incredibly good for your body. Supercharged with apple cider vinegar, these drinks would be a great way to give someone a head start on the new year, or anyone trying to approach drinking more mindfully.🍋

✔️female-owned

✔️small business, small batch

✔️London-based

Headspace 

Unconventional idea, but how about giving your loved ones peace of mind, less stress and the best sleep ever? A year-long subscription to a science-backed mindfulness app could be a great gift 🎁

✔️experience, not an item

✔️socially responsible

Rare Tea Co 

Their loose leaf tea would definitely make someone’s daily cup of tea very special 🫖 Not only does it taste good, but it also does good by supporting skilled men and women in marginalised rural communities. Rare Tea Co also donates a percentage of revenue to Rare Charity providing education for talented people from tea communities.

✔️small business

✔️female-owned

✔️environmentally conscious

✔️socially responsible

LSW London

LSW London makes mental wellbeing accessible for everyone. By gifting their mind cards, journals or hypnotherapy recordings you can empower your loved ones to take their mental wellbeing in their own hands 🙌

✔️female-owned

✔️small business

✔️London-based

KanKan 

“Soap in a can” might sound strange, but it is genius ! The highest quality soap wrapped in a plastic-free experience 🫧 Their luxurious products are made with ingredients that are biodegradable, grey water safe and are not harmful to people or the planet. 

✔️female-owned

✔️London-based

✔️environmentally conscious

✔️circular economy model

 

GIFT IDEAS FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS EVERYTHING

Unique gifts for that person who says they want nothing, or that special someone who is impossible to buy for… 

Choose Love

Choose Love offers a gift that keeps on giving. You can purchase real items for refugees and people displaced across the world—in the name of someone 💓. It is a beautiful way to bring some extra love to your Christmas celebrations.

✔️donation, not an item

✔️supports social cause

Trees for life

A gift that keeps on growing—a tree planted on someone’s behalf 🌲This present will transform the Caledonian forest in Scotland into a healthy woodland again. A great excuse for a future trip too!

✔️donation, not an item

✔️supports environmental cause

Borrow My Doggy

We all know someone who loves pets, but cannot own one. A Borrow My Doggy membership could be a wonderful gift for those who miss furry friends in their life, but aren’t able to have one of their own. Welcome to the ultimate  sharing economy! 🐾

✔️experience, not an item

Better World Books

The gift of great stories and powerful ideas: books 📚Consider purchasing them from Better World Books—a bookshop like no other. Not only does it recycle unwanted books, but also for every book purchased, it donates to someone in need.

✔️circular economy model

✔️purchase for a great cause

National Trust 

Those who like to connect with nature and love to explore the great outdoors would greatly appreciate this kind of present. The money from the Small Wonder gift directly protects the precious wildlife, gardens and coastline of the UK and gives you a collectible pin badge as a token of appreciation.

✔️donation

✔️supports environmental cause

 

LIFESTYLE GIFT IDEAS

Those little enhancers for one’s house or wardrobe that make a big difference.

Bespoke Binny 

Bespoke Binny produces West Africa-inspired homeware—think bold patterns and vibrant colours. Any of their aprons, blankets or kitchenware would brighten even the most cloudy of English days ☀️

✔️female-owned

✔️small business

✔️London-based

Reconsidered 

This company uses waste fabrics to create something beautiful. Their handcrafted clothing and accessories make for a truly unique and sustainable gift.

✔️female-owned

✔️environmentally conscious

✔️circular economy model

Studio Dine

Studio Dine is all about setting the scene, elevating experiences and bringing a fresh approach to the dinner table that enables people to share in good conversation and great food… And isn’t this what Christmas is all about?

✔️female-owned

✔️small business, small batch

✔️one tree planted for every purchase

Twinn Pottery

Beautiful ceramics that come from a slow practice would be a lovely gift for those that appreciate the little pleasures in life. Created single-handedly by Faye Twinn in Essex, these little art pieces are meant to promote mindful moments and sustainable habits.

✔️female-owned

✔️small business, small batch

✔️environmentally conscious

Earl of East 

A true present for the senses. Candle-making lessons conducted by experts from the Earl of East combine craft and wellness into a one-of-a-kind experience. Isn't it a beautiful experience to be gifted with?

✔️London-based

✔️small business

✔️experience and an item

The Stem 

Plants that give back to the place they stem from 🍃Bring one of your loved ones closer to nature by gifting them with a plant from a sustainable business. 

✔️small business

✔️1% for the Planet

 

AND NOT TO BE MISSED...

Citizens of Soil 

Your favourite olive oil subscription. Every bottle elevates your meals and supports small-batch farmers across the Mediterranean, making this world a more fair, sustainable, and flavourful place. All of our pouches can be recycled as a part of the take-back scheme, helping us to minimise waste as much as possible.

A LITTLE TAKEAWAY

Needless to say, presents don’t necessarily need to be tangible or purchased. Some of the best gifts are those that we put thought and effort into: a handcrafted item made with love, a home-cooked meal, or simply a quality time spent together. All of which are inherently more meaningful than the most expensive item.

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