As I sat down to think about Christmas gifts this year, I realised I felt very strongly that I only wanted to give gifts that were useful and safe for the recipient and environment alike. As much as I adore Christmas time, it definitely reminds me of our consumerist nature, so if we can have the joy of gift giving without the guilt of a poor environmental footprint, then that’s a win win!
Below you will find my top environmental and/or healthy gift suggestions, as well as thrifty stocking fillers, environmental wrapping options, and even some homemade gift suggestions!
I realise this might sound a bit lame as a gift, but it’s an everyday item that we all need replaced every 3 months, and I’m sure the recipient will get value out of it, and you will be setting them on the path to making more environmentally conscious choices in the future. The handle of this toothbrush can be composted or recycled, and it makes a great stocking filler gift.
Thanks to a pretty significant media campaign recently, plastic straws are now frowned upon for being such an environmental disaster. According to the government website Sustainability Victoria, plastic straws can’t be recycled, and they ultimate end up in landfills or the ocean, breaking down over many years into micro plastics that fish consume (and then you consume them!). But never fear, you can gift your loved ones with a beautiful environmentally friendly bamboo straw that they can pop in their bag, or the glovebox of their car, to have handy when they’re out and about. You can buy a single straw and cleaning wand as a stocking filler, or gift box sets that have multiple straws and a small fabric carry case.
You can give the gift of unchapped lips this Christmas by buying lip balms with natural ingredients. Considering you ultimately end up eating your lip balm during the day, you definitely want to make sure the ingredients are safe for consumption. My favourite lip balm is from the Dr Bronner’s range (I have 2 in my apartment and 1 in my handbag – you can never have too many!). There is also a natural lip balm ($14.95) for people prone to coldsores that contains lysine – definitely a good gift if you plan on ‘accidentally on purpose’ standing under the mistletoe with someone.
Soaps make lovely little gifts, and you can find them at various price points, but isn’t it nicer to gift a soap that won’t cause damage to the recipient’s body via nasty chemicals? I personally use an Ecostore soap every day, and it’s the bargain price of only $3.95 (options include coconut, goat’s milk, lemongrass, manuka honey & kelp, pink grapefruit & mint, and vanilla). There are also slightly pricier/fancier brands available, and if you follow this link you can browse through a few types that are all pre-selected to be natural and safe.
You’re almost guaranteed to have a friend or family member who is known for their tea worshipping antics. My friend Laura from Burton Health makes beautiful organic herbal teas that are available for sale in both of my clinics as well as her online shop. The Dandy Chai is a caffeine-free chai that is also perfect for coffee lovers. There’s also Teastress if your gift recipient is a bit highly strung, or Immunitea for the family member who constantly shares their colds with you. Laura has kindly shared a 10% discount coupon code for my readers to use at her online store: TEAFRIEND
Environmental Gift Wrapping
It’s not just the presents themselves that have an environmental impact, it’s also the way we wrap them. A huge amount of gift wrap ends up in landfill, so how about some of these ideas instead.
Now that single use plastic bags are banned in supermarkets (about time!) why not wrap your present in a reusable shopping bag? Not the ugly kind the supermarkets are selling with their own branding, something cute or punny instead. Cotton On have fabric bags that are super cheap and also donate money from your purchase to a charitable foundation – double the feels! I particularly like their star sign bag range ($4), and in case you’re wondering, I’m a Capricorn… 😉
You can be an environmental superstar by recycling your wrapping paper, but did you know you can buy wrapping paper that is already on it’s second round of life? The brand Earth Greetings make post-consumer wrapping paper with gorgeous designs that are also carbon neutral. They make pretty cards as well.
Old art/drawings $0
Using your children’s art (or your own art) is a great way to help the environment by not purchasing new wrapping paper. It also adds a nice personal touch to your gift when the outside is thoughtful and handmade as well. You could also use old boxes as containers to put gifts in, this is something I often do, especially since I shop online a lot and I like the packaging boxes to get a second use before going into the recycling bin.
Medium Priced Gifts
If you gravitate towards giving beauty products for presents, then you’ll love these bars by Ethique. They are exactly as they sound, shampoo and cleanser in a bar form, like soap. I’ve used them before and adore them because they contain safe, natural ingredients and they work! They last ages, and they’re a very environmentally sound choice because they come packaged in cardboard only, no plastic at all. You can buy them individually, or get the Christmas advent calendar gift pack or trial packs. I’ve used the shampoo/conditioner trial pack and they were all fantastic.
This is one that’s actually on my personal Christmas wish list! It’s an urban compositing kit that fits under your kitchen sink so even those of us stuck in tiny apartments can participate in composting our fruit and veg scraps. They also have a slightly larger version for $77. If your recipient lives in a house you could also investigate whether they might be keen to have their own worm farm (that’s what I would do if I had a backyard!).
If your friend or family member loves to garden but doesn’t have space, this makes a beautiful little gift. They can grow their own micro herbs on the kitchen windowsill and have easy access to fresh herbs to make culinary masterpieces. It would even be good for someone with a garden because it keeps the regular kitchen herbs accessible at all times. This would also make a nice gift for a child who can enjoy the process of watering their seeds and watching them grow into plants that they can eat or help with in the cooking process.
Ok so this one is obviously a slightly more pricy gift for Christmas, but it’s the gift that keeps on giving, with years of beautiful clean water. Many water filters come in plastic containers so in my opinion they’re not ideal, even when they say they are BPA free, all plastic is still capable of leeching hormone disrupting chemicals into the water. So this ceramic filter is a great choice, and could be a fantastic option when you’re buying something for the whole family.
Replacement filters are quite cheap depending on which one you get (price range is $23 to $100). There are options for filters that remove fluoride (the more expensive ones) or the cheaper options which get rid of 99.9% of bacteria.
I’ve had a set of organic white cotton bed sheets for the past year, and I love them. Considering I slept for 10 hours uninterrupted last Saturday, you could say I’m pretty much the Queen of Sleep, so I know good sheets and what makes for a great night’s sleep.
Cotton is a breathable fabric, which is important for keeping airflow around your body at night so you don’t overheat. The organic part is pretty self explanatory – you’re not exposing yourself to chemicals for 8 hours each night. I also make a point of washing my sheets and clothes in natural laundry detergent as well to maintain this healthy aspect of my bedding.
Homemade food gifts
My Mum makes Christmas cakes each year for her closest friends. They make great gifts for people who have guests so they have something on hand to offer around when people pop by. You could also try making some shortbread or Christmas cookies. Edible gifts are great when you know people don’t want extra clutter in their lives. Try and make them even more eco-friendly by wrapping thoughtfully.
Homemade body scrub
I did this one year when my budget was a bit tight, but I still wanted to give something little to my friends. I bought some small glass jars, then made a body scrub with sugar, essential oils and olive oil. Simple as that. You can find recipes online (I’m sure that’s what I would have done) and also experiment with a few different scents or oils like jojoba if you want to be a bit more creative.
Have fun shopping!
- Some of the above links are affiliate links which means I may receive a small percentage of purchases. This helps to keep my website operational and cover the many hours of unpaid work that goes into making a post like this. All items are unsponsored and chosen by me because I genuinely like them.