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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

Sustainable, Zero Waste & Eco Friendly Christmas Gift Guide

Here it comes - the start of some Christmas content! I'm not usually one for blogging about specific times of the year all too much, but one thing I knew I wanted to talk about this Winter was sustainability at Christmas time. I've got a post coming in a couple of weeks that will delve into how to be more sustainable with things like your gift wrapping and gift making (for those on a budget or would like to make something a little more handmade and/or zero waste), but before that I thought I needed to talk gifts generally. I'm usually someone who buys gifts rather than makes them as I usually simply don't have the time to put into a variety of gifts for all the different people in my life. I also struggle with some people and wouldn't even know where to begin making them something - buying can be hard enough! So I like to think I'm quite savvy when it comes to buying gifts, making my money stretch, and getting more "unique" gifts that other people wouldn't necessarily know where to buy them themselves.

Although I've always enjoyed the gift-buying aspect of Christmas, something I'm consciously trying to do this year is buy things which are more sustainable, eco-friendly, or zero waste so each gift I hand out reflects my beliefs more. This is a lovely way to still stay true to yourself and your ethics, but without pushing it down other people's throats. There's so many great options out there and so many wonderful small and indepdent businesses which really benefit at Christmas time. One thing you truly have to remember at this time of year is that many small and indie businesses are either one individual or a small team who are working behind the scenes - it's often a hobby-turned-business and can be an individual's livelihood and only source of income. They're not multi-million corporations and they often have good ethics behind their products and services because they come directly from the individuals who set the businesses up in the first place. No corruption, no middle man, no issues. Therefore I wanted to mention so great gift options you could use this year that vary from gifting second-hand to buying something new.

I've purposefully published this post now so it hopefully gives you all a chance to order anything you like the idea of before Christmas cut-off dates. Due to Christmas deliveries, small businesses often have stricter deadlines for orders to ensure they get to you on time. So let's stop rambling and get to it!

Non-physical Gifts
Donating to a charity which is important to your gift recipient is always a thoughtful alternative gift. Not only does this mean others benefit from this gift, but it is fuss-free and has no physical waste is created. If you wanted to, you could print the evidence of your pledge/donation which could always be recycled at a later date. Sponsoring or adopting an animal is also another great alternative as this again has benefits for more than just the recipient and they usually have a certificate/gift as part of the sponsorship/adoption. Of course this doesn't make the gift exactly zero-waste, but it does create something that an individual would like to keep forever and it benefits are friends we inhabit the planet with.

Another option which has minimum physicality to it is buying a star. Over the years I have somehow accumulated two stars which people have named for me and honestly, it's such a thoughtful gift that I know this astronomy aficionado loves. There are a number of places that "sell stars" and there are then various options depending on how much you want to spend or how big of a star you want to purchase. Whoever you buy the star for will then usually get a certificate and a star chart, detailing exactly where their star lives in the night sky. A very thoughtful and heartwarming gift that doesn't create too much waste!

One last mention here I have to make is services. There's lots of services you could tap into for Christmas gifts - pay for yoga classes for someone, pay for a gym membership, pay for a creative DIY class or a chocolate tasting session - there's all sorts! One service I *have* to give a shoutout to is Holly Cassell's Witch Services. Whether it's a tarot reading, crystal programming or a beautiful candle, Holly should be your first port of call for all witchy goodness that doesn't cost the earth (in more ways than one!).

Ethical/Sustainable Clothing
An obvious option for those loved ones who love fashion is definitely an item or gift card for an ethical and/or sustainable fashion brand. This could be one of the more "big name" brands out there (check out some of my favourites here) or smaller handmade brands. Etsy is a great place to start if you want to explore sustainable/ethical small-biz and many offer gift cards so if you don't know what to buy in particular, you can play it safe. Buying ethical and sustainable fashion for friends or family members at Christmas can be a wonderful way to introduce them to slow and sustainable fashion if they're not into it already.

Some of my favourite small business brands (that I haven't already mentioned here) include:
- Ragtrade Clothing Co: beautiful linen capsule wardrobe pieces created by an equally beautiful and hardworking woman
- Rawson Chicago: The no.1 place for the best pants and vintage tops and tees
- notPERFECTLINEN: lovely linen pieces that fit like a glove

If your loved one is really into shopping second-hand or vintage pieces, there's absolutely no reason why you can't use this joy for their Christmas gifts. Not everyone is comfortable with receiving something second-hand as a gift, but if you know someone who is all for it - do it. Etsy can also be a a good starting point for this if you want to shop online, amongst other fab online options.

Eco-friendly Items
There's *so* many fantastic eco-friendly products out there that can help someone because more eco-friendly or less wasteful in their day to day life that would make awesome gifts. You could try some practical items such as Bees Wax Wraps for keeping food fresh or an alternative to store your lunch-on-the-go in, Reusable Cotton Pad Rounds for the beauty lovers in your life that want to make a better impact on the planet, or a fresh new Bamboo Coffee Cup or Water Bottle for everyday sustainability and reducing plastic pollution.

If you want to branch out even further, curated sustainable gift boxes are perfect as items have been hand-selected and come together in one great package that is bound to be a show-stopping gift. Brands who do this really well are The Sustainable Box and Low Tox Box. If you're looking for more specifically beauty or skincare related gift boxes, definitely check out Green Tulip too!

Plants, plants, and more plants
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know by now that I bloody love plants so so much. House plants are very "in" right now so they're an excellent gift idea as they're so readily available. Not only that, but I am a firm believer that a house plant has a thoughtful vibe to it and can boost people's moods and elevate a home's atmosphere too. They have so many health benefits and can be something someone will treasure for years. Of course you can pick up house plants anywhere and everywhere these days - even in your local supermarket - but my favourite more independent places to shop plants are definitely:
- The Watered Garden
- Stupid Egg Interiors

Handmade & Re-gifting
Handmade DIY presents are often overlooked but have so much love and time poured into them, it's rather silly that they're not given more attention. Baking some cookies, making a candle, or making your own shower scrub/bath salts is a lovely way to tick off one of the gifts on your "to-buy" list and make it a little more personal. Not everyone has the time or abilities to be creative and do things themselves, but if you're feeling comfortable and confident, I say go for it and make whatever your heart desires. By making something yourself, you can ensure that that outcome is ethical and you can also consider if the ingredients are natural, zero waste, eco-friendly etc.

Lastly I want to mention something that some people deem quite distasteful but, hear me out! How many of us end up with unwanted gifts each Christmas because people go a little consumer crazy? I personally see no issues with re-gifting these items to others as long as it's something you would genuinely gift to that particular person anyway and if that person wouldn't mind. A great re-gifting option to minimise the backlash of this is definitely books and cookbooks. I know that my kitchen has an awful lot of cookbooks in it and many don't get used regularly at all so passing these on to others who would lovingly use them is not only cost-effective, but sustainable too. If you have a favourite page-turner that you've absolutely loved reading but you know you won't read it again, pass it on to a friend or family member too!

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