Christmas is a time for love, generosity, compassion… And of course being merry under some mistletoe! Gifts are part of the fun, but giving to charity is always a lovely option for the person who has everything. You could donate to their favourite charity, or choose something more specific like my lovely friend Jen has done. Instead of our christmas pressies, she has chosen to pay for two christmas dinners at Crisis. For £44.58 you can reserve two places at Crisis for christmas, these places include dinner, healthcare, expert advice on housing, and support to deal with addiction amongst other things – its so much more than providing someone with a meal. Its easy to do from the Crisis website, click here for more info.
Other charities which offer specific ‘gifts’ include Presentaid.org . They list donations according to price and includes ideas such as a floating garden which can can withstand the frequent floods in Bangladesh and therefore protect a family’s harvest so they can continue to earn a living, and send their children to school (£18), or counselling for a child to help them come to terms with what they have experienced during war (£25), see their website for more information.
But, many of us will still like to wrap a little something to give on christmas day, so if you have a philanthropist or someone eco conscious amongst your loved ones, read on for some original, and ethical, christmas gift ideas….
1. Ethical & Sustainable Fashions Gifts from Gather & See
I love Gather & See – they stock a range of ethically sourced and produced brands – clothing, accessories and gift ideas. Some of my top gift picks for christmas gifts are:
- Natalie Bond Organic and vegan candle, made in Britain (£25)
- Veryan Organic Herringbone makeup bag. Organic cotton, made in England (£18)
- Satori Hexagon ring by Edge of Ember (£38). Fair trade 18k gold plated hexagon ring, handmade by artisans in Cambodia and Indonesia.
- Or if you can’t decide, they do gift cards in denominations starting at £30 – a perfect pressies for the eco conscious person in your life!
All available at Gatherandsee.com
Dick and Moby make super cool sunglasses from an assortment of eco friendly materials. Handmade in Italy, their coloured frames are made from M49 bio-acetate which is completely bio degradable, and their black frames are made from recycled industrial plastic waste. Alex if you’re reading this, the LHR crystal havana are my favourites 😉 priced around €165.
3. Bamboo toothbrush
Bamboo can be grown very quickly and without pesticides or any chemicals, making it completely sustainable. The handle of the Humble Brush is made from 100% bamboo, and the bristles are made from nylon, free of the toxin BPA like standard toothbrushes, and it coms neatly packaged in a transparent, biodegradable, wrapper made completely out of plants. For every toothbrush sold, the lovely guys at Humble Brush donate a toothbrush to people in need of oral care via their foundation. An excellent and original gift, £3.99 with free shipping – humblebrush.co.uk
4. Re-useable coffee cup
We are a nation of hot drink swiggers, which adds up to 2.5 billion cups being thrown away every year in the uk, much of this is not recyclable, and equates to 25,000 tonnes of waste straight to landfill. GULP.
Voted the best reuseable cup by the Gurdian, the JOCO cup is available from not on the high street for £24.95.
5. Maybe the most delicious Chocolate you will EVER taste…
If you have’t tried Booja Booja, one question, WHY!? They make vegan chocolate products that are more luxurious and richer than any mainstream chocolate out there. The hunky punk chocolate ‘ice cream’ is made of four ingredients – water, Agave syrup, Cashew nuts, Cocoa powder and it is literally the most incredible frozen desert you will ever try. Honestly I cannot put into words how good this stuff is. Non vegans might turn their nose up at dairy free but one try of these and you will be hooked (you have been warned). Holland and Barrett stock lots of their products with the smaller boxes of chocolates starting at around £8. DO IT!
6. A bamboo bike
The team at Pedal forward are on a mission – to build sustainable bamboo bicycles that turn heads without breaking the bank, and reinvest a portion of their profits back into basic transportation needs of developing communities around the world.
You can reserve a bike for $100, see the bike and more information at Pedalforward.com
7. Socks that make a difference
I have absolutely no idea why but they’re a christmas cliche! If you’re going to do it then Bamboo or Hemp socks from Braintree are the way to go. Grown quickly and without pesticides which harm the environment, these are completely sustainable, eco friendly fibres. Not only that but the socks are super soft, really hard wearing and naturally anti bacterial. Available in a variety of colours and designs, priced around £4.50, shop the range from Braintree here.
Another option is American company Divvy up, for every pair purchased they will provide a pair to a homeless shelter in Florida , shop their store here.
Canaan fair trade is a Palestinian commercial enterprise that provides premium agricultural goods produced by networks of smallholder groups in Palestine. Picked by hand and cold pressed, this organic and extra virgin olive oil is packed at source ensuring maximum benefit for the farmers.
One year I bought this oil for every member of our family from a little pop up in Hampstead Heath (everybody loved it), but permanent stockists include Wholefoods, selected Sainsburys as well as some Traid and Oxfam stores nationwide, priced around £9.
These gorgeous notebooks from Baseline Dot are more than just eye candy on your desk. They are fairly made made in Bangladesh, and for every notebook sold, they donate 30% of the net profit to a charity providing education to children in the developing world. Priced at £12, shop their notebooks here (my favourite is ‘Hope’)
I LOVE Le Labo. Everything about the brand is just perfection to me. Quirky and luxurious, completely vegan and cruelty free and lets face it – who wouldn’t want their own name stamped on their bottle? My smell is Lys 41 , and whilst everything is available online from their own website, to explore the range I would suggest a trip to Liberty London where they have a counter.
11. Wooden headphones that give hearing to children in Kenya
LSTN produce a range of headphones – each one handcrafted from wood. Their mission is to create a superior product, (they claim these are some of the best headphones in the world) which would also help fund hearing restoration and spread awareness for the global problem of hearing loss and hearing impairment. So far the LSTN team has travelled with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to help over 20,000 people hear in the U.S. Peru, Kenya, Uganda, Indonesia, China and Sri Lanka. Wooden Earbuds from $29.99, shop their range here