Welcome to my ethical, vegan, green Christmas gift guide! I’ve talked before about how I try to live a “green” life so if you have no idea what I’m banging on about then please have a quick read of that. tl;dr I’m aiming for ethical, independent, eco-friendly, female-owned, vegan in everything I let in, or give out, my life. Christmas is no different, so let’s crack on!
I think before we get started, I’ll recap the things I ask myself for buying. Now, you’ll probably read these and think “well, duh” but when I was younger, Christmas was a mad dash to buy stuff and turn up with boxes and boxes of stuff. And that wasn’t fun for anyone! So, these days, the main things I try to keep in mind when buying gifts these days are:
Is it something they will either use forever, or use up? (I don’t want to be the harbringer of meaningless clutter)
Is it something they have ever expressed a need for, or interest in? (I told you these were kind of obvious)
Can I buy this from a charity or small business, and can I actually afford this?
That last one is key – I love a lot of people, and I think they all love me back and would hate for me to be in actual debt because I overspend. Additionally, in my own life I’ve been high street free for years and years, so I try to do that at Christmas and when buying stuff for other people as well. If I can’t get it from a charity or an independent business I likely won’t buy it. The exception I’ve needed to make in recent years is for my neices and nephews who normally have a very specific set of “Only Available At Argos Pokemon/Star Wars Crap And If It’s Not That Specific Item Christmas Will Be Ruined”. Aside from that, it’s all non-high street, vegan, cruelty-free, and as far as possible, eco-friendly and recyclable. So, without further ado, let’s crack on!
Please note: some of this stuff got sent to me for review, but the rest I spent my own dosh on and every word and opinion is my own!
Gifts for Family: “This Christmas, give the gift of flavour”
I think food as a gift is just SO universal and great. Most people don’t allow themselves the luxury of nice food because they’re on a budget, so you know it will be appreciated, and also used. I hate ever thinking a gift will be cluttering up their lives; most of the parents and family members I know are on a constant decluttering mission!
Also, giving luxury vegan food is an excellent way to spread the green word too; people don’t realise how good it is until they sit down and taste it. Food is one of the easiest and most readily available gifts to get from a charity as well. Almost always cheaper than the supermarket/high street counterparts, more ethically tenable, FairTrade certified, and with the bonus of supporting a charity!
I’ve used this hamper from Oxfam* as a container to put the rest of the food in as a twist on the traditional British hamper thing. “But Laila, what’s inside?” LET’S TAKE A LOOK SHALL WE.
Veda Soul luxury flapjacks*: A vegan, indie company set up by the most lovely couple, the Veda Soul flapjacks are beyond tasty, organic, and contain no refined sugar. Truly a luxury product- these really hit the spot; excellent if you prefer one nice treat rather than the “inhale an entire box of Celebrations” sitch. Plus, they arrive in this beautiful rose gold tin so no plastic waste in sight!
Nush Yoghurts: my favourites for cooking with as well as just, y’know, eating! Nush are my new favourite yoghurt company, I swear. The blueberry almond yoghurt is just unbelievable.
Chilli Gift Box: The set of six chilli spices is from Amnesty and comes with a recipe booklet, as well as this (totally recyclable) presentation box. I’m obviously biased but I find traditional British food is bland AF, so I like to joke that when I give people spices, I’m giving them the gift of flavour
Medjool dates: I don’t know if it’s an immigrant Dad thing but the house is like a date magnet during Christmas. Boxes and boxes of the things. These ones are recyclable packaging, from Amnesty, and cheaper than all other dates I bought from Sainsbury’s/John Lewis in my ignorant youth.
Flyte energy drink*: all natural, vegan, recyclable bottles, what’s not to love? The “energy” comes from green coffee taken 100% from natural sources – yes please – and the company is carbon-positive so it’s a win for the environment also!
Coffee: Fairtrade, again from Amnesty. We all know the best coffee is from South America so why not support the farmers directly instead of buying via Tesco or some shit?
Vegan cookbook: so, I bloody hate recipes and my Mum LOVES them. She specifically asked for a vegan cookbook this year and this was in the Donations section of Oxfam – perfect!
Oxfam “the real meal deal” Gift Card: From Oxfam’s “Unwrapped” range. I love these as a gift; basically you “buy” (donate) money to a specific campaign or section of a charity on behalf of somebody else, and you buy the card which details where your money went and what you’ve contributed to. My parents are repeatedly telling me to donate money on their behalf at birthdays/Christmas, and by doing it this way, you have something more substantial to show them than just scribbling a generic note in a card
Bath & Toiletry Gifts
Food gets used up, but what else is useful? Household cleaning products, or personal cleaning stuff like toiletries and bath stuff, are also great gifts. Again, these are basics and not normally an area people will treat themselves. So, again, you know it’s a luxury that will be appreciated and something that will get used; everyone has to wash, after all! I’ve spoken recently about my ethical/green bathroom lifestyle so check that out if you want to know more (possibly more gift ideas in that as well!).
Reusable Sanitary Towel Starter Bundle: hands down THE BEST GIFT you can give any menstruating person in your life. Like, legit, this is the ultimate gift. You’re improving their time of the month, investing in their health (by rediverting them from the dangers of shoving plastic in your pants once a month), saving them loads of money in the future, helping them to be more green, saving the planet, potentially redirecting funds from an animal-hating, global chemist corporation and redirecting to an indie, giving them the gift of a comfortable, non-leaky night, potentially sparking an interest in an otherwise non-eco-living person…. my God the list is endless. It is literally the best gift you can get anyone. (Bonus: if you buy from Earthwise, you’re also supporting a local, UK-based, female-owned and independent vegan business. WHAT COULD BE BETTER)
Christmas Wish Bath Bomb: look, it’s not like I dislike Lush but they do seem to have a stranglehold on the market and as much as I’m a fan I’m also… not. This Christmas bath bomb from Amnesty is a nice alternative and almost certainly better for you as it’s sulfate-free (which Lush are not)
Faith In Nature Bath Set*: how cute is this? Bath sets are a staple Christmas gift, so an all-vegan, cf, cardboard only packaging is just what the doctor ordered. Available on Oxfam!
Bumble Hand Cream: my only gripe with this is the packaging; apparently you can send it back to the company and they recycle, but it’s not exactly hassle-free…
Reusable Face Wipes:one-use cotton pads are the bane of my life. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! They’re not even biodegradable because of the bleaching process and the chemicals on them. Reusable flannel pads are an excellent alternative; and like the sanitary towels, you’re buying somebody a gift they won’t need to continuously replace, thereby saving them potentially a ton of money. WIN.
Make-up & Wash Bag*: I don’t think there’s many people out there who will refuse a new wash bag. I literally use them to keep everything in; pencilcases, strings and picks, random DIY paraphrenalia… this one is so pretty, and padded! Perfect for travelling gals.
Gifts For Mates: Witch Edition
First of all, I just want to acknowledge that I need to chat more about my #witchlife next year on the blog because people keep messaging me like “wht u is read a tarot?!” on insta, so clearly you’re not getting a very full description of my life on here. But hey. So if you’re not giving “use-up-able” gifts like food and toiletries, I think the best gift is something that is truly an investment. You know, the kind of thing you’d save up and buy yourself? I think most of my mates are somewhere on the magic spectrum so heeeeeere are some of the gifts I’ve got for them.
Sheet Ghost T-Shirt: sorry but how cute is this? I don’t normally put clothes in the “investment” pile mainly because I think it’s either to get clothes wrong. But obviously, some friends you know really well, and if you know they’ll love it forever, why not? I found this on etsy: I love etsy; filter to your location and then search away for your hearts content.
Various Crystal & Gem Chunks: the larger of these all came from various supply shops in London, but I bought the smaller ones from etsy. I was a little dubious about buying something like a crystal via the mail, but after a full moon cleanse, we’re all good, and it’s something I’d do again in the future
Zines: I love zines as presents for friends who live far away. They’re so easy to post, and small; books are kind of cumbersome especially for minimalist friends who may or may not have much space, but everyone can fit a zine into a spare drawer, right? These two are from Witchcrafts and LydiakaHill via etsy
Gifts For Mates: Non-Witch Edition
This is kind of the miscellany section of the gift guide: random stuff that I will certainly be giving out, but with no cohesive theme (apart from the charity/ethical/green/vegan/reusable/cruelty-free theme but that’s this whole blog really).
Handmade ornament via PDSA in store: I know for a lot of people, buying a single decoration annually is a tradition. You can find lots of lovely, handmade gifts in most charity shops, especially larger chain ones! Pop in and check it out.
Christmas Paper Chains*:Not just a biodegradable decor option but also an excellent way to get your nephews and neices to leave you alone when you’re trying to enjoy a mid-afternoon brandy
Poem Book via Amnesty: I’m normally not into giving books unless it’s a book I know well, and know the other person will appreciate. But I’ve got some non-poetry loving pals, and I so love poetry that I figure any way in for a non-lover (esp emotion + celebrities) is the way to go. (The Amnesty book section is an actual cracker fyi)
Harper’s Candle: Ryan discovered these whilst gigging at a vegan festival. They are hands down the best candle company! Recyclable tins, vegan, cruelty-free, cute packaging, 100% natural… I’m never buying candles anywhere else.
Reusable Water Bottle: as with all the reusable gifts, I hope I’ve made that point that these are gifts that save not only the planet but YOUR MATE’S ACTUAL MONEY. I’ve lost count of the amount of people I’ve given “eco” gifts to over the years who have ended up taking a slightly stronger interest in reusable stuff. Which is amazing.
Unicef Polio Vaccinations Card: same concept as the “Oxfam Unwrapped” and for a disease unfortunately close to our hearts <3 this was one of the first things I bought for my parents back at the start of December.
Shout out to Flyte, Veda Soul, Nush & Oxfam for your kind gifts and contributions to this post (also, praise Oxfam whose stuff is so great I went and ordered a shedload more stuff from them because I simply could not get enough). I very much hope this guide has been useful to you; please give a share if you think there might be somebody out there who this could be relevant for! thanks for reading. x