An Ethical & Thoughtful Gift Guide
I normally compile some sort of gift guide at this time of year - then leave my laptop open accidentally-on-purpose for my boyfriend to stumble upon what is essentially my own wish list. This year, I want to make my gift guide a little different. I want to focus on ethical gifts, thoughtful ideas and lovely little independent shops that will really appreciate your money this Christmas. I’ve split the post into three sections to make it easier to navigate, and hope that this helps you to have a more mindful festive season, staying away from the craziness of the high street.
Ethical Gift Ideas
Aphrodite Facial Oil by MOA skincare - My absolute favourite skincare brand, Magic Organic Apothecary don’t have ‘magic’ in their name for nothing! Their products really do seem to have a magic formula; they use all natural and botanical ingredients to create products that really work. Their Aphrodite Facial Oil smells incredible and makes your skin feel incredibly soft.
Cardigan no. 19 by Babaa Knitwear - Babaa’s jumpers and cardigans may be pricy, but that’s why they make such good gifts. I always think that the best things to give as presents are things that people wouldn’t buy for themselves, and if you’re looking for a really special gift you can’t go wrong with their classic cardigans. Babaa guarantee that the local sheep providing their wool are treated with care and all samples of their garments are donated to a refugee centre in Madrid.
Shampoo bar from Midgley Green - Looking for a sustainable stocking filler? I love these beautifully wrapped shampoo bars sold at Midgley Green. Each one lasts up to 80 washes, significantly cutting down on plastic usage.
Forest Trees from Midgley Green - Another little stocking filler, I’ve completely fallen in love with these tiny wooden trees sold at Midgley Green. There’s something about them that reminds me of classic Danish Mid Century design and they’d look great placed on a window sill in a little group. They’re made from off-cuts of wood by a duo living in West Sussex.
Copper & Wood Candle Holder from Aerende - I’ve completely fallen in love with this beautiful copper and wood candle holder from Aerende that I’d place on a window sill with a tealight lit to create a warm and cosy glow. The candle holders are made in Yorkshire at a residential community that provides assisted living for people with learning difficulties and mental health problems, using sustainable British elm wood.
Fat & The Moon All Cream from The Future Kept - I’m obsessed with this cream; I use it every single day and recommend it to all my friends. It contains all natural ingredients, meaning that it only lasts for a couple of months as there are no preservative chemicals inside - but trust me, it won’t last that long as you’ll be using it constantly! I use mine for dry hands and feet and on my face, and it smells divine.
P.F Candle Co. Teakwood & Tobacco Candle from Rose & Grey - I light candles every evening, and love receiving a new one as a gift. It’s really important to take note of the main ingredient in your candle, aiming to stay clear of paraffin wax and opt instead for soy or beeswax options. P.F candles use soy wax and essential oils to create subtle scents that smell incredible. Teakwood & Tobacco is my favourite of all their scents, thanks to its musky blend of tobacco, wood and patchouli.
Moon Sister Pendant Necklace by Lines & Current - I already have this necklace, and love wearing it with simple t-shirts and jumpers to add a little something extra to a plain outfit. This independent jewellery brand is based in Ireland, using recycled sterling silver to create sustainable and stylish pieces that surpass trends and are made to stand the test of time. Chose from a crescent, full or half moon or mix and match two pendants on one chain.
Thoughtful Gift Ideas
Stationery - This is a little bit of a selfish one, as I love receiving stationery as a gift, but it is an idea that really works for everyone. If you are buying a gift for someone who loves to write or draw, I can guarantee that they’ll appreciate a beautiful notebook or sketchpad, and may even start using it right away. Another great gift idea is a diary or journal that allows the recipient to start planning their year ahead. You could even fill in some of the dates for them with things to do together, such as a birthday celebration or even a surprise weekend away that you have booked. My favourite stationery brand for beautifully designed and practical notebooks and journals is Notem.
A magazine subscription - The gift that keeps giving! I love receiving a magazine subscription on Christmas morning, as it means that you have a fresh copy of a magazine to devour immediately but the promise of more issues to come. If you know the person that you are buying for well, keep your eyes peeled for the magazines that you spot them regularly reading, or perhaps choose a publication that matches their interests. For something a little bit different, opt for an independent publication rather than what you see on the shelve in your local newsagent. My personal favourites are Oh Comely, Table, In Clover and Rucksack magazines.
A weekend away together - The ultimate gift in my eyes is to book a weekend together, just the two of you. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip involving carbon-guzzling flights, it could be a couple of days in a cosy cabin somewhere not too far from home. Sites like Canopy & Stars have plenty of options for unusual stays all across the U.K. Or if your budget doesn’t stretch to going away, present your loved one with a handmade voucher for a weekend spent together, including activities such as going for a long walk in the hills and a home cooked meal.
A shared experience - Continuing on a similar thread, any sort of shared experience makes a wonderful gift. You could treat someone to gig tickets to see one of their favourite bands together, a voucher for a meal at a restaurant that they love, or perhaps buy you both a place on a creative retreat. The options are endless, just remember that the most important thing is that it is an experience that they will love, rather than something that you want to do.
A book to read on Christmas Day - I really love the Icelandic tradition of gifting each other a book on Christmas Eve, and books will forever be one of my favourite things to unwrap on Christmas morning. At some point on Christmas Day, I like to take myself off and snuggle up on an armchair, reading a couple of pages from a new book. Choose a coffee table book that you know the person you’re buying for will be interested in - such as Haarkon’s debut tome, Glasshouse | Greenhouse) or opt for a novel that they can get stuck into. Some of my favourite reads from the past year include The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland, What Should be Wild by Julia Fine, and Everything Under by Daisy Johnson.
Here is a list of my favourite independent shops, some online only and others with physical spaces, who I know would really appreciate you buying from them this Christmas. When you buy from an independent shop, you are directly helping a small business, sometimes a family business, rather than lining the pockets of huge corporations. Small independent shops usually stock more ethical brands, think more carefully about their packaging, and use more ethical practices when making their own products.
If you’re after more ideas of ethical places to shop for gifts this Christmas, More This Less That is an amazing online resource with a comprehensive list of sustainable brands.