My planning process for finding the most sustainable gifts!
In reducing our footprint and finding more ethical and sustainable gift ideas, I don’t go straight to shopping “things.” First we make a list of everyone our family is shopping for. We go through and see where we can eliminate tangible gifts without losing important celebration! This looks like mutually gifting to charity, organising a meal out together or event in place of gifts, or agreeing gifts don’t matter to us! Then we try to look at where we can gift things second hand, and after that, we look at how we can be intentional in having a positive impact with the more traditional gifting we do.
The affiliate legal part! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. it means I make a small commission when you shop through them, but you pay no more – sometimes less. It lets me take time to write lists like this so I’m always grateful when you shop through them!
No ‘things’ gifting: Give an experience, service, or your time, or mutually agree no gifting for a great sustainable gift!
We do this a lot with my family! Sustainable gifts can means not gifting and it doesn’t mean losing the joy and celebrating. For my sister’s birthday I took her on a winery tour, and for another sister and brother in law we all agreed to go on a fun double date dinner in lieu of gifting. Doing things together can be a great gift! I was once gifted someone making me a compost heap, and my carpenter brother gifted me installed counter tops. Or babysitting is a great gift for parents! You could do this as a gift voucher for them to use, an invitation to go together, or all deciding together to do something in lieu of gifts.
Search for a gently used item from Oxfam online, Vinted or eBay!
Shopping second hand can make AMAZING and thoughtful more ethical and sustainable gifts! It can be a great option for a lower budget, getting more for your money, or just embracing the value of not buying new! I love choosing used clothing pieces, and searching brands creating clothes ethically even when they’re used. Here’s a list of what some brands we search used! If you’re worried about it being used (you don’t need to be, gift boldly with your values!) you can search for things “new with tags” and there are still some real bargains. But I embrace going second hand and write a note explaining the value to me behind it in terms of the planet and ethics, then I think it can be really thoughtful.
I love Oxfam online great as you can still return pieces and they have some great items! Find things from books to records to home items clothes.
Put together a sustainable “date night” basket for a family, couple, or for one.
I love doing a date night gift basket for a couple or a family! A jar of bulk popcorn is really budget friendly but fun as a gift then some chocolate or a bottle of wine or another drink, and an iTunes gift card for a movie. You could keep this on the budget end or adjust for any budget. Search out some fun charity shop mugs, include hot chocolate mix, add another gift card for food, buy socks for the movie, or add in a voucher for you babysit kids. It’s great for families with kids of various ages if you don’t know what to gift and want the ease of giving one gift!
Jared and I have both gifted each other electric toothbrushes! I held back on one for a long time because we’d always used compostable ones. But I love the sustainability of this one being repairable and built to last.
I love a gift that feels like it could take care of someone hard to shop for, but with something actually useful and needed. This could make a great needed and useful, but positive impact gift for someone hard to shop for!
SHOP IT HERE from buy me once, a great sustainable marketplace
These bags from B Corporation Apolis have been one of my favourite things to gift! It’s SUCH a beautiful piece to customise for a thoughtful piece. Perfect for a parent with the places their children live, the coordinates of an event, moment, or statement. It’s also one Apolis can ship quickly so a last minute option too.
We both have these umbrellas and they’re truly sturdy, strong and well made without being clunky and unstylish. They’re built to last with a guarantee too. They’re stylish but stand up to the wind like no other umbrella I’ve used! They’d make a really great gift for anyone in a rainy climate.
Ethical superstore always has a great range of affordable, recycled, ethically artisan made, sustainable earrings. (And so many other things, so it’s a great one stop shop. There are different styles so go through all the pages – I like the simpler ones like the ones above. A great gift to ask for, or to gift!
Find the range here on ethical superstore
Nisolo is an exemplary company in terms of sustainability, ethics, sourcing and impact. We both have a few pairs of Nisolo shoes and adore them. They’re classic, gorgeous and so well made. I’ve had the Lori bag for 5 years as my “diaper bag” and it’s perfect and timeless. The accessories come at a lower price, and the shoes are more pricey – for good reason but still out of a lot of price brackets for gifting. Nisolo is a beautiful B Corp brand where everything is made ethically and to be long lasting which is another major factor in waste creation. Ethically made. B corporation. Climate Neutral. Leather Working Group. 1% for the planet.
This is a ‘stylish outdoorsy’ English B corp brand and we love it. They have some great items like their collab with DAME period products, a well priced wet bag for ocean adventurers, and a collection with RNLI where 10% of the profits go to the charity.
Perfect for coffee or wine, throw in bottle of wine or a bag of coffee for a bigger gift. We got these in the summer and have used them… a lot. If you know people who picnic with wine? Take wine to the pool? Hike with drinks?! They’re perfect. Pair a couple with a bottle of wine for a GREAT larger couples gift!
One of the bibles of sourdough baking. Tartine was a favourite restaurant when we lived in California and their Country Bread is my daily go to. But this also gives focaccia, croissants, and a book of creative fantastic recipes for the sourdough baker. And they’re easy to follow which not all sourdough recipes are!
Skillets are a gift that lasts actually forEVER. You can’t destroy a good cast iron piece. And that’s a huge reason I use it; It saves so much waste from landfill. But it’s also a teflon free, safer way to cook, that done right is still non stick, naturally. This one will sort your home cook family member, creative friend, baker, it’s an essential for taking bread baking to the next level. You could pair it with some dried sourdough starter and it’s an EPIC gift! Or the Tartine book I use for all my sourdough. Lodge also do a Rosie the Riveter pan which would be the perfect gift for the right person! There are also much lower prices single serving pans for a much lower price but equally useful and everlasting.
My go to skillet – you can run a kitchen on just this pan || This is the dutch oven for a bread baker gift ||
In 2019 I was asked to write a book for this Green Edit series. I said yes so you could read it and gift it to anyone it might help! It’s the small steps and mindset tips I share online, but in a a tour around the home covering every aspect of the home. But really, I wrote this for you. It’s not just a list of things to do, it’s journey through the home with no judgement. Just small steps on the journey towards a more ethical sustainable home without being complicated.
A fun and educational memoir of a year eating locally. It’s a thought provoking but light read about a family who moves states and learns to eat locally along with the challenges and joys that come with that. I blew though it and loved every page from the gardening memoirs, to the dives into the socio-economic factors affecting food and eating in America. A brilliant gift for anyone who things about where their food comes from and its impact.
find it here
A must read for everybody as we look to consume with a more positive impact. And especially everybody on the journey of caring about the way we consume. Aja writes about the clothing industry (and more) explaining start to finish what it’s actually like, it’s true impact and every aspect of why we need change. It will be the explanation, or the extra fuel someone needs for the journey.
Seeds make a really fun thoughtful budget friendly and more than sustainable gift! I’m really careful about the seeds I buy, and this is my top choice and what I always choose. Vital seeds are always organic, open pollinated and open sourced and they have a great variety!
Idea: Grab a budget friendly terracotta plant pot (like these from small business Weston Mill) and fill it with a few veggie or plant seeds for a fantastic under £5 gift!
Beautiful, B Corp, self care. When I take the time for some self care – this is the little tool I pull out and I can’t recommend it enough. I use Evolve’s regenerative cleansing oil or the miracle oil that comes in this set on my skin and I follow @sumanskincare on instagram for amazing little videos to follow – they relax me like nothing else and it’s great for your skin too!
These are one of my favourite things to gift because they’re so fun, it’s one of the best companies, and they’re really good value. They do a few different products in the baubles at various prices. Female founded. B corp. Organic.
The footprint of shipping just water isn’t most sustainable thing, and the cost adds up too. So, gift the a way to make your own! Yes it’s a pricey investment BUT have you added up the cost and footprint of buying it?! A refillable cartridge (exchange via post or local store) turns tap water into perfect bubbly water in a glass bottle. If you buy 2 bottles of sparkling water a week on average this will pay for itself in a bit over a year without thinking about the environmental savings. Plus it’s beautiful. It’s a great gift or one to put on the list for you too!
This is the best watch company with the most beautiful, ethically made watches. They’re everything I want them to be and oh how I’ve searched for ethical watches. (I mean, ones that look nice too.) These have a higher price tag, but not a higher price tag than buying one every year because they break… and they’re doing social good at the same time. In partnership with House of Wells and Pen to Paper Ghana, each piece sees a child with school uniform and solar light to make education possible. These are stunning, classic, ethically made, a company built around doing social good, black owned and just a DREAM find.
Black owned. Ethically made. Social good. Shop the whole brand HERE.
The ultimate denim that’s really truly backed with values for a gift that lasts forever. These pieces are truly ethically made from organic cotton, and each pair comes with free repairs for LIFE to reduce waste. They’re pricey, but not for what you’re actually getting. Nudies is a company that deeply cares about the impact of the clothing industry and they’re really working (and succeeding) at finding the clothing sales model with the most positive impact and we love them! A great gift for any deeply committed to eco ethical clothing. For a smaller gift look at a gift card or accessories.
Find them here and the rest of their clothing line too with some smaller accessories like belts and Ts.
A good catch all brand for dad, mother in law, kids pyjamas, so many options! Boden has been around in the UK for ever and lots of people don’t know it’s a more ethical clothing brand! You can read about their factories, and commitment to nothing going to landfill HERE. Did you know they give you a £4 credit when you send back a used item?!
A beautiful timeless gift for kids. I’ve researched dolls more than I’d care to admit and this is the one item I couldn’t bring myself to get second hand. These Hazel Village and Olli Ella dolls and animals are the winners for me. Hazel village are organic materials, ethical production, a reasonable price (for this kind of item, trust me), and Olli Ella are more structured, from a B corp company and they all look gorgeously human, with neutral expressions for imaginative play, and they have multiple skin tones.
I was given a gift card for Rothy’s four years ago and I was an instant convert and so impressed by the company. Their shoes are made from recycled plastic bottles, pulled from within 30 miles of coastlines. All ethically made and thoughtful in every step – the sole are eco friendly rubber and the shipping is all carbon neutral by offsetting, and used biodegradable paper and a ribbon of recycled materials. Four years on I now know they also hold up so well, they’re much more durable than leather in terms of how they look after 4 years – which is pretty much like new. They now have a recycling program too to keep all shoes out of landfill.
We discovered this salt when we ate from the UK only for a month in 2022. Local eating has so man benefits from emissions to economy and this salt comes in a beautiful refillable jar that makes a gorgeous gift.
A coffee brand thinking about everything from growers to fuel use to packaging. It’s our go to coffee, and a great gift for a conscious coffee lover. The entire roastery and production area are off grid operating fully on solar powered energy – part of making it a carbon neutral roastery. Then transparency, each coffee is accompanied by its pricing and trade data. So you can see what was paid for it, who it was bought from, and other details. And pretty packaging for gifting too!
Evolve is a beautiful female founded B Corp investing in regenerative growing, safe sustainable ingredients, and making really effective skincare. Bio-Retinol (or bakuchiol, it’s not a retinol product) is a favourite ingredient of mine for loving my skin and helping with fine lines and keeping skin fresh! This gold mask is so great for maturing skin and such a fun one to gift! For every day this isn’t a part of my daily routine but it’s a beautiful universally usable one to gift.
This is such a stunning gift that we’ve gifted! I love every one of the steps, they’re all gentle and effective for hydrating and gently helping with fine lines but it would also be good for all ages (maybe beyond teens) as it’s not heavily “anti aging” focused.
Pai Skincare Set + Bag
Another one in the skincare category cos people gift a lot of it, but it can be really unsustainable, and have a negative impact on human health depending on the ingredients. I love Pai as a brand being thoughtful on both those fronts. And this set is a brightening, Vitamin C filled set good for most skin types so an easier one to gift. We’ve gifted this exact set and it’s gorgeous! I’ve linked it on the Content Beauty site, it’s a fantastic resource for so many more conscious options.
Find it here
Ilia is another ingredient and sustainability conscious brand that’s not UK based and has limited availability here. But they have smaller gift sets each year that can make brilliant gifts!
This is my favourite whisky brand here in the UK and a brand really pushing in doing things right. They’re a B Corp, sourcing sustainably, using recycled glass, creating with renewable energy. They do smaller bottles at a lower price, full bottles, whisky and a gin style botanical spirit. It’s a beautiful British brand that would make a sustainable, local gift for someone who loves whisky. We’ve bought this before and split the cost with others – a great way to get an intentional well sourced gift and make it affordable.
WILDFARMED is a regenerative flour company and for a budding chef, home baker or eco conscious eater it could be such a great gift! Wildfarmed work with farmers who are using regenerative growing to improve biodiversity and soil condition. Everything is grown without fertilisers and audited by a third party. They’re also creative a traceable field-to-plate network so that customers can see where their food is coming from and invest in regenerative agriculture. They’re bright and fun and would be a gift with a story!
Abel are dedicated to the highest transparency in creating ethically sourced, sustainable and organic perfumes in 100% plastic free packaging. Most fragrance doesn’t disclose what’s in the formula – which is allowed – but for full transparency Abel show every ingredient so you can make sure you’re ok with every one. They’re all plant and essential oil derived ingredients sourced ethically and sustainably. I love seeing companies really working to do everything well!
Cast Heirloom Fingerprint Necklace Kit
Sustainably made from recycled silver, this set allows you to cast your own pendant from. a finger print and have it around your neck. I never wear my wedding rings so I did Jared’s finger print and I LOVE how it looks and being able to have it around my neck.
I think drinks make a great fun and thoughtful but functional celebratory gift. And searching out a sustainable, organic more earth friendly option can be a great way to make it more thoughtful and not just a bottle! The Albury vineyards are home to half a million bees, and Albury are the founding members of the Wine GB Sustainability scheme. They farm biodynamically and are focused on bringing sustainable change the whole of the British wine industry.
A life long, waste saving, handwriting enhancing friend and a great gift to ask for or receive! I like ones that have refillable cartridges rather than where you need to buy cartridges but the ones we have are adjustable and can be used for both. They come in a range of prices so they can be an heirloom larger gift or a more everyday item that still lasts forever.
Every year: these. The Package Free Shop is a personal fave and GREAT place to scroll and knock out lots of gifts at once! Honestly I’ve taught my kids there needs to be a lot of blood to get a plaster so we don’t use many but still, no parabens, pthalates, biodegradable and fun for kids! Highly recommend and a needed item but also fun to throw into a stocking!
This was my exact Christmas gift 7 years ago and it’s still going strong! Eco Lunch Box is a fab brand and this is perfect for taking lunch to go or bringing home leftovers from a restaurant. It’s got a sealable tin that clips over another one of the same size, and a tiny one for dressings or a piece of chocolate!
I love giving well sourced and created food because we all need to eat! This is more than just a drink, Holos exists to help survivors of trafficking, providing employment and work experience opportunities. They’re a great non alcohol gift for people who don’t drink and. they have a beautiful sparkling oolong in a champagne bottle that’s a stunning £10 gift that does good.
This is a brand I discovered when we ate locally only from England for a month. It’s fun to discover the products that are fully grown and made close to home. This was the only pasta I could find that was both made from grain grown organically in the UK and also manufactured here as well. And its in a fully home compostable bag making it a beautiful, useful but thoughtful gift at an affordable price.
I’ve never used adaptogens until this year when Jared bought me this organic mushroom powder to go in my coffee. It’s well sourced and third party tested for quality and purity and when I started using it I really felt the reishi helped with an overactive brain and anxiety and I love taking it. It’s not cheap (£30) but it lasts months used daily and it could make a beautiful gift. They have a range of different adaptogen, coffee, and matcha blends.
Beautiful sustainably created prints, cards and fabrics with themes of the earth, land justice, peace, inclusion, and filled with the beauty of nature. I have a few of these in my home and I adore the art and the themes behind them. There are a range of price points with some very affordable and beautiful cards, a T towel and very affordable beautiful gifts.
Our kids (and us) ADORE the Yoto player. It’s been one of the best probelm solvers we’ve bought in all of parenthood. No joke. It’s a small screen free audio player with cards you can insert to play audio books and podcasts. You can make your own cards with family recordings or buy their pre made ones – those can make great smaller gifts once you have the Yoto player. We LOVE it for early morning to keep the kids in their rooms, for car journeys and travel, and quiet time.
Secret linen store is a beautiful, female founded, B corp make ethical, OEKO TEX and organic bed linens, curtains and sleepwear. We have curtains and bed linens from them and they’re all gorgeous high quality and I love the sourcing and sustainability. The bed throws and sleepwear would make a gorgeous long lasting gift. The sleepwear could be brilliant too!
Two beer companies making good beer, and existing to do good. Purity brewing is a sustainable business award winner and really majors on sustainability, and Brewgooder is a UK based B Corp giving profits to clean water projects. Both of them would make a great gift that’s more than just a 6 pack of beer!
We don’t keep many toys in our house but magnatiles are one that stand the test of time and are enjoyed by so many different ages. They’re a fun and educational toy that can be used in multiple ways for independent play, learning activities or group activites. These FSC certified, natural birch tiles with a non toxic finish, are a beautiful alternative. And a tree is planted for every set sold. Those plastic magnatiles don’t have any sustainable or ethical credentials but they are a screen free and very long lasting gift which I think have some real plus points too in gifting!
Frownies are facial patches that are used to smooth the skin and relax muscles. I’ve found them honestly incredible for relieving facial tension and also undoing find lines from expression by retraining the muscles. Some gifts you only gift to someone you know really well – and these would probably be one of those! But also a great one to ask for if you’re building a list!
There’s a Patagonia hat for everyone! Caps, bobble hats, fishing hats, hiking hats, kids hats, bucket hats… So many different styles, we both own them and have gifted many as they’re a nice price point for a B corp, well made and useful gift! They’re all well made and last really well and mostly made from recycled materials which is a Patagonia focus. Such a great catch all gift!
I love items that can be handed down and be an heirloom. This is also a great one to ask for/buy if you want a well made, B corp, heirloom gift for your kids. The styles are classic, and they’re built to last and such high quality. We asked for these early on in parenthood and different people clubbed together to gift them to us. The Patagonia line is largely recycled, incorporating regeneratively grown resources too. And they look brand new after many seasons and 3 kids. Join a birthday and a Christmas together, club together with family or give/ask for money towards one. Buying one larger gift that lasts can be so much better than multiple smaller things!
We LOVE these! They’re really high quality, plastic free, high quality and beautiful temporary tattoos. They’re more pricey than the cheap and plentiful ones with thousands of small tattoos, but I’d rather have fewer of these one! And the quality and art is perfect to gift to kids and adults alike.
We’ve done this one for people this year and I’m excited! It’s a fantastic, highly reviewed, loved by Anthropologie, and all over guided date night ideas! Or family date ideas, there are a few. It gets RAVE reviews from people where it’s turned family or couple dates around and there are different price points but we’re excited to gift them this year! They also have an Advent Calendar on my list!
Plan well, keep it simple, do what you can!
Don’t be overwhelmed. Make a list, plan your budget, work out what budget you can allocate to gifts and divide it up roughly between the gifts you need to buy, the stockings, the friends and family and work out how much your’e working with in each area. Look out for sales and shop for people when you see the right things, then check them off.
Go second hand where you can for earth and budget. Or invest in well made and sourced options like the ones above!
Some helpful spots to browse and check off multiple great gifts with one cart:
They all have a range of beautiful and sustainable for various people you need to shop for, and everything on their site is produced with the values of caring for people and planet which just makes shopping easier!
Happy browsing and gifting! You’ve got this!