- Look for gifts made out of natural materials.
Gifts made out of natural materials are a great alternative to plastic and other man-made substances. Mabboo.com uses sustainably sourced bamboo to make everything from boxers (yes, boxers made of bamboo!) to sunglasses to phone cases. Great gifts, especially for those perpetually ‘hard to buy’ for Dad’s and brothers!
- Go animal friendly…
The Bodyshop is an oldie but a goodie… this year they managed to gather 8 million signatures from people across the world to take to the United Nations, pledging to end animal testing forever. All of the products in their stores are vegetarian with some even being vegan. So if you’re looking for make-up, bath products, body products or perfume; they’re a great option for the ethical shopper! Beauty Without Cruelty are another make-up brand whose products are all vegan. Perfect for the make-up fans in your life!
- Buy second-hand…
Gone are the days when our only option for second hand shopping was rifling through our Nan’s next door neighbours musty smelling cast-offs at our local charity shop. More and more charity shops are focussing on highlighting fashion-forward pieces in their window displays and they’re now not our only option either.
Second-hand fashion apps such as Depop are a great place to find unique pieces ‘on the cheap’, whereas Gumtree and Ebay can be awesome places to bag electronic bargains. For the book lovers in your life head to Amazon Marketplace where you can pick up books for as little as 21p!
- Support small businesses…
With the likes of Etsy.com and even Instagram now offering excellent platforms to promote small business, it’s so easy to buy gifts of all shapes and sizes from small business entrepreneurs, even if you don’t know of any nearby to you! Everything from artisan jewellers to personalised diaries to dog collars can be found and small businesses often offer not only a friendlier level of service, but also items which hold more personal value than mass-produced products.
- Go plastic free…
The Nottingham Zero Waste Collective is a pop-up based in Rough Trade in the centre of town, and provides some great plastic free cosmetics, foods and even cleaning products! Lush also provide plastic free packing options, and many of their products are free from palm oil, as well as not being tested on animals, so you can always go there if you’re struggling for plastic-free alternatives. Remember that not all wrapping paper can go in your paper recycling (and sellotape can be a real issue!) – a plastic-free alternative could be brown paper, cloth, or reusable bags!
- Shop local
Shopping from local businesses or craftspeople is a great way to support start-ups and reduce the carbon footprint of the things you buy. Consider markets or local pop-ups for locally produced food or crafts as gifts, or even sourcing gifts handmade by local craftsmen over sites like Facebook. Charity and vintage shops are also great places to find high-quality pieces while being less wasteful and supporting a good cause. Shops like Oxfam create beautiful handmade Christmas cards, often from recycled material, whilst donating profits to a good cause. A much more thoughtful option to the standard laminated card!
- Give the gift of an experience instead of ‘things’
Giving experiences can be a really good way to show someone you care, while minimalising the amount of material goods you are buying and giving. This could be anything from a gig ticket or a spa day, to a Segway tour or a ukulele lesson! This way, you can also choose the businesses you want to support (like a local salon or a great band), without bringing more objects (and eventually waste) into the mix.
- Make your own
A brilliant (and often more affordable) way to put your heart into a present to make your own! This is a great way to be confident that the materials that have gone into your gift are ethically sourced too, since you’ve made it yourself! For example, baking something special for someone, but still using Fairtrade ingredients, could be a good way to go.
Hannah Crolla-Parkhouse and Jo Ralphs