Five ways to give ethically this Christmas
Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year – a chance to relax, spend time with loved ones and chomp through your favourite chocolates before anyone else gets a look-in.
But it’s also the single most stuff-laden time of the year, with a flurry of gifts exchanging hands throughout the season. We each spend an average of £381.60 on Christmas gifts every year, and as a nation we waste millions of pounds on unwanted gifts.
That’s not only a huge waste of money, but it means tonnes of items are being shoved into drawers and into the backs of cupboards never to be seen again – a big waste of the energy and other resources needed to produce them in the first place. And, of course, a lot of the usual Christmas pressies – shower gel gift sets and novelty stocking fillers, for example – are already laden with plastic, which takes a major environmental toll.
But environmental worries needn’t interfere with the spirit of Christmas – ‘tis the season of giving, after all! Here are our top tips for gifting a bit more eco-consciously this December.
1. Ask them what they actually want
This is a bit of a radical idea in a world obsessed with the perfect Christmas morning surprise, but simply asking your loved ones what they want can save a lot of wasted money, not to mention potential disappointment. If you get a general idea, you can then put a personal stamp on it with your choice of colour / style / size / flavour / etc.
2. Keep the receipt
…and just in case you get it outrageously wrong, tuck the receipt in an envelope in the package. That way they can swap it for a colour, size or flavour that they actually want (or exchange it for something completely different that they’ll actually use).
3. Give the gift of a shared experience
Having something to open on Christmas morning is a major part of the day, but not all the gifts you give have to be physical items. Consider vouchers (official or homemade) for a fun activity after Christmas. It could be tickets to a show, a trip to the zoo, a fancy dinner somewhere, or even an IOU for something like babysitting! After all, memories will last much longer than any artfully-packaged gift set.
4. Don’t do presents at all
Probably not a feasible suggestion if kids are involved, but for the adults in your life, why not simply opt out of gifting altogether? Instead of fretting about what to get your picky sister-in-law, or buying your cousin yet another set of bath bombs, agree to go gift-free this year. You might even choose to give the money you would have otherwise spent to a good cause (or splurge it on yourself – no judgement here).
Charities to support this Christmas:
5. Choose sustainable gifts
But if gift-giving is firmly on your agenda, make sure the items you buy are ethically-produced. Ethy is home to hundreds of independent makers and sustainable brands that put the planet at the heart of everything they do. And what’s more, ethically-produced gifts are better quality and way more unique than anything you’ll find in the usual high street stores.
Make sure you order early, though. Because these special items aren’t mass produced they will take a little longer to arrive!
Here are some of our favourites.
BEAUTY AND TOILETRIES
London Bathers are small-batch producers of low impact body care products created with nature in mind. All of their delicious bath oils, soaps and shampoos are made with natural ingredients and packaged in plastic-free, reusable materials. We do love their 2021 Christmas collection.
A family run cosmetics brand, who have spent 5 years developing a collection of natural skincare solutions. Their entire product range is all-natural, suitable for vegans, cruelty-free and formulated with all skin types in mind. Also see their luxurious gift boxes and use the code ETHY20 - for 20% off all of their products.
Balmista is harnessing the power of waterless skincare in the interest of both your skin and the environment. Their formulations are centred on earth-derived ingredients and are free from preservatives, parabens, fillers, artificial fragrances or colourants. Their range is 100% vegan. Waterless skincare emerged in the last couple of years as an innovative solution to making beauty products more sustainable, so this gift is likely to gain some ‘wow’ points!
Ocean & Bee are a female-led online marketplace on a mission to simplify green living. They use their platform to showcase the work of independent British brands and aim to support the sustainable livelihoods of talented artisans who respect the planet. Check out their gift boxes made for sustainable pampering!
Naturally Legit offer a range of natural and clean beauty products, including face & skin care, deodorants, body & bath essentials and accessories. See their beautifully romantic and sweet gift boxes selection for the perfect ‘David Attenborough would approve!’ unwrapping moment!
Natural Organic Family is founded on the principle that every ingredient matters. We like their multi-award winning Vitamin C Serum with potent blend of vitamins A, C, E & Hyaluronic Acid that helps to boost collagen production, smooth fine lines & wrinkles and soothe & tone the skin.
Kutis create hand-poured natural deodorant and skincare using a careful blend of high-quality, ethically-sourced ingredients, including lots of scrumptious smelling essential oils.
Kind Melts are pros at sustainable home fragrance. Their environmentally considerate wax melts are made from a blend of luxurious coconut wax and premium fragrance oils, and they’re completely phthalate and paraben free. Kind Melts also plant a tree for every candle sold.
You could even treat yourself to a Kind Melts Secret Santa Gift Box surprise this year if you’ve been extra nice ;) Or if you’ve been a bit naughty and want to find gifts for others to make up for that then we would bet on the luscious Gingerbread wooden wick candle or Pamper Gift Set.
Veo are on a mission to make sustainable mainstream and with that, they stock ethical products from electronics to toys & games, gift wrapping and much more on their sustainable christmas gifts selection. Also, vegans in your life will rejoice this Christmas with Veo’s vegan cheese boards on the menu! For an ethy exclusive £10 credit for your first time shop with Veo, enter the code 'ETHY10' at the checkout! ✨
Inspired by a 5000-year-old dyeing process, GIBIE was founded to provide the finest bath linen through an amalgamation of modern design and traditional natural processes. In contrast to conventional, chemical-intensive textile production processes, GIBIE uses herbal dyeing methods with sustainable materials like bamboo and organic cotton to create their collection of luxury linen. A quality gift that lasts for many years to come.
Fine Cell Work is a charity that makes beautiful handmade products in British prisons, many designed in collaboration with the UK’s leading contemporary designers. We love their range of comfy squishy cushions that come in a wide range of trendy, unique styles.
Forget cheap, mass-produced furniture. For quality pieces with a difference, Little Tree Furniture is a must-visit. Operating under the mantra ‘woodworking with a conscience’, each of their pieces are entirely unique, made from reclaimed wood that could have been anything from a fortress door to a fishing boat!
Producing high quality t-shirts and jackets that balance style and sustainability, Masson & Green is a luxe men’s clothing brand that eschews fast fashion in favour of ethically-produced organic cotton and recycled materials.
It’s not Christmas without new socks, and Wild Socks fit the bill perfectly. The sale of every pair of soft, snuggly and eye-catching animal print socks goes to support charities that protect animals and sea life around the world.
As a driving force in the plant-based fashion revolution, Vegan Outfitters are on a mission to spread compassion, through feel-good and thought-provoking designs. This Christmas Vegan Outfitters range is bound to cheer up even the grumpiest vegan-denying Grinches!
Inspired to create higher quality, sustainably-produced bags and accessories, BEEN London uses only recycled materials – from surplus leather offcuts to plastic bottles – in their range of stylish cross-body bags, totes and backpacks.
Lucy & Sam offer high quality, unisex baby & toddler clothing that is both sustainably made and fabulously fun. We love Lucy & Sam’s Tiger Hooded Romper for babies and toddlers, made from super soft 100% Organic Cotton loopback, free from any nasty chemicals, making it gentle and soft on skin.
Lowie is a sustainable womenswear brand striving to preserve traditional handicraft techniques and heritage elements, while placing environmental impact at the heart of everything it does. Gift ideas include edgy and colourful hats to socks and scarves. But our absolute favourite for this Christmas would be the delicate Wolf & Moon Tulip Necklace, which features a delicate tulip pendant on a fine gold chain.
Even the elves have gone ethical this year with COP26 having just finished. Below is a selection of ethy accredited brands that offer that little bit of fun for your stocking fillers.