The ethical Christmas gift list
I’m finding it increasingly difficult to choose thoughtful gifts for any of my loved ones. Christmas is particularly challenging.
Mr Maven is bored with my usual rota of wallets, watches and briefcases; the choice for kids is either disposable, cheaply made crap or expensive video games; my parents say they have everything they want and need.
So I’ve been scouring the internet to find gifts that bring back the pleasure of giving. Gifts that are made with love, come from sustainable sources, or are made by artisans who care about their craft and communities.
I’d like to be able to bring you more gender-neutral options, but my bias is towards beauty and fashion. There’s a bit of coffee thrown in too.
Shop with these companies and feel good about your purchases:
So Just Shop sells beautiful hand-made products from women artisans in developing countries. The company works directly with women to help them gain financial independence, both by providing training and support for their businesses and by giving them access to an international customer base.
When you buy from the So Just Shop website, you can find out who made the product, how and where they made it. You also know that you’re helping some of the most vulnerable communities in the world to build better lives for themselves. So Just Shop provides more profit for the artisans allowing them to sell directly to the consumer.
Obviously this is a great cause, but that’s not the only reason to shop here. The products are unique and beautiful.
This is the African Star necklace. The jeweller, Savannah Chic made the necklace in Kenya from handcrafted brass, with a pendant of recycled cow horn – which is only sourced as a bi-product of the food industry.
Fat Face will be a familiar name to UK readers, with stores across the country. The company started in 1988 by two guys who wanted to fund their skiing habit.
Apart from selling the most comfortable pyjamas you’ll find anywhere, amongst many other lovely clothes, they are also a responsible company that works hard to promote fair, safe and environmentally conscious working environments with its manufacturing partners. It is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and has a charitable foundation.
If you love wrapping up in wool during the winter months then Fat Face is an affordable place to find your hygge-tastic fix of jumpers, cardigans and scarves.
If you’re a biological anomaly like me and are allergic to wool, there are some cozy alternatives, like this scarf, which feels like the softest cashmere, but is in fact made from acrylic.
Established in 1998, Organic Trevarno is a small but well established certified organic skincare company based in Cornwall. All of their products are formulated in house and are hand made. They only use the highest quality, sustainable ingredients.
Traditional soap making, a long established craft that’s often found on privately owned estates, is where it all started and with its popularity and success, the range soon expanded into skincare as well.
Organic Trevarno was the first beauty company to meet The Organic Farmers & Growers strict standards to gain formal Organic Certification, which guarantees that products are both ethical and sustainable.
I’ve tried the Lavender, Geranium & Palmerosa Bath & Body Oil; the Organic Almond & Cocoa Butter Body Lotion and their Lip Balm. They all smell incredible, are full of natural goodness and absorb into the skin beautifully.
Postboxed is a new gift service delivering hand-wrapped, unusual small gifts in boxes that fit through your letterbox – saving the planet just a little bit from all those wasted courier journeys. They collate gifts themed around travel, beauty, crafting, homewares and other categories, so you can buy everything from organic baby bodysuits, to handmade artisan leather wallets and locally made jewellery.
No more ‘sorry we missed you’ cards on the doormat. Now you can send your gifts in the knowledge they’ll end up in the right hands.
My box included a bar of yummy Earl Grey and Bergamot chocolate and a leather keyring.
The Natural Spa Factory was started by husband and wife team, Jeremy and Emma in 2009 supplying independent businesses with natural, authentic and considered products to spas, salons, hotels and a true home spa experience for those of us who crave nice things.
They use botanically sourced ingredients derived by nature like herbs, plants and flowers and try to avoid as many nasties as possible. There are no Parabens, SLS, MI (Methylisothiazolinone) or MCI and they have not been tested on animals.
Pictured here are the Amber Noir Candle, which has lovely seasonal aromas and fills the whole room with scent – even without lighting it; and the Colombian Rush Body Scrub, with rich green cardamon and a hint of chocolate, to soften, soothe and stimulate. Take the lid of this gorgeously packaged jar, and the smell of coffee hits you right between the eyes.
Natural Spa Factory has a selection of beautiful Christmas gift sets, in gender-neutral packaging. You can really feel the quality here.
Kuma Design jewellery and accessories are all uniquely made by artists in Tallinn, Estonia.
All their accessories are made from vegan leather which gives a natural feel, but is also strong and durable. They don’t use any chemicals, animal products or bi-products in either production or packaging. They’re also certified as safe for babies and small children.
Every item from Kuma is one of a kind. These bumblebee earrings are so cute.
Blue Coffee Box is a coffee subscription box which introduces you to speciality coffee from around the world. The beans travel to the UK and are hand-roasted weekly by artisan roasters.
The coffee is ethically sourced and comes ground to suit your particular coffee making method: coarse for cafetiere; fine for espresso machines; or supplied as beans for you to grind at home.
They are on a mission to stop people using coffee pods and disposable coffee cups which are environmentally destructive – 1000 tons of coffee pods when into landfill last year in the UK alone.
My coffee box was easily delivered through my letter box and has introduced me to three delicious new flavours to give me a little extra zing in the mornings.
Let me know if you have any favourite ethical companies you’d like me to review.
Happy ethical shopping!
Much love, Vx
[Disclosure: thank you to all the brands in this post for sending me samples. Some, but not all links are affiliate links.]