As the weather turns frosty, the smell of mulled wine is in the air, and another year starts to end, many of us start thinking about gifts for the festive period.
Gift giving is a way to show we care, to make someone’s day, and to say thank you. And as December quickly approaches, many businesses are also thinking of how they can treat their staff or colleagues this season.
Yet while gift giving is a way to spread joy in the winter months, it can also increase our carbon footprint. Purchasing goods from overseas, increasing our use of plastic, and overconsumption are just some ways that gift giving can have an environmental impact.
That’s why we have created a sustainable gift guide. Our recommendations are not just perfect for Christmas, but great for any celebration.
Have a look through to see our recommendations for exciting gifts that do not cost the planet, yet sure to be loved.
One of the best ways to be eco-friendly with your gifts is to purchase something that encourages the recipient to be sustainable too. With reusable there are so many options, and it can be a really great idea for if you aren’t too sure on what the recipient would like, too. Here are just some examples:
Reusable bottles can last years with good care, reducing plastic while also being a handy daily essential.
Similarly to water bottles, these are a great essential for those who love spending lots of time outdoors. A key feature in many National Trust or independent shops, coffee cups can be found easily with many different designs and colours to make them a great gift to receive.
Cotton pads for makeup removal are a great way to reduce plastic and many have designs on them, too. Alternatively, try making them with crochet for an added creative touch.
Purchasing soap or shampoo bars made with natural ingredients are other ways to treat someone and encourage them to relax while also being environmentally friendly.
Many of these items you can purchase at your local low waste shop.
Speaking of your local low waste shop, gift buying can be a great way to support the local income economy and shops. This can support jobs, local farmers livelihoods, and it also reduces the mileage (and carbon footprint) of your gifts too.
Some gift ideas could be pastries from the local bakery, tea leaves and and soap bars from the low waste shop, or a book from the local indie bookshop.
There are many brilliant books to choose from that can make thoughtful and inspiring gifts. If you’re looking for books about the environment or sustainability why not try A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough or Live Green: 52 Steps for a More Sustainable Life by Jen Chillingsworth. Alternatively, if looking for a book to empower your employees and encourage a positive mindset, Atomic Habits by James Clear or Untamed by Glennon Doyle are two great options. You can read more about our thoughts on Untamed in our blog here.
Another way to encourage local and avoid over-consumption is to gift an experience. A great example is a National Trust membership, which encourages people to spend more time outside and improve their mindset (read more here). If you are local to Cornwall, a membership to Cornwall Wildlife Trust is another great option. With membership you are helping to protect and learn more about wildlife. You can also enjoy a guide on the trust’s nature reserves, and receive editions of their Wilder Cornwall magazine.
When purchasing have a look to see if the clothing, food, and items you purchase are organic. Some examples can include organic cotton clothing (for example, People Tree), organic skincare ranges, or even an organic veg box.
Purchasing organic is better for farmers, for our health, and for the environment. It is one way to make those gifts that little more sustainable.
Purchasing a carbon offset for the team is one way you can give a gift that helps to reduce the recipient’s carbon impact this Christmas. There are many options available, from monthly offset subscriptions to offsetting the team’s Christmas.
We offset with Terra Neutra who support vital environmental projects over the globe. Offsetting is one way to give a gift that is not just carbon neutral, but carbon positive.
Other Tips For Purchasing Sustainably
When buying online or in your local shop, see what they do for people in need. Do they donate to any charities or are they part of any partnerships? Many businesses work with one percent for the planet. This charity helps to tackle some of the planet’s most pressing environmental issues.
Another important thing to note is that there is more to sustainability than just environmentalism. In fact, Climate Action is just one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Are there any gifts that could help to support Sustainable Development Goals, other than Climate Action?
One way is to purchase from brands that raise money to reduce poverty or improve quality education. Look to see what else they do, for people as well as the planet.
Another way to do this is to ask brands how they treat their supply chain and make their products.
Read more about how businesses can work with the SDGs in our blog series here.