The Ultimate Ethical Christmas Gift Guide*
It’s less than 5 weeks until Christmas! Usually, I’d scoff at people who talk about the ‘C word’ in November, but it seems that I am finally adulting and getting prepped early, not only doing my Christmas shopping but even sharing a gift guide for those who are also attempting to adult this year. Now, we all know that the festive season can be extremely wasteful, and has essentially become a celebration of all things consumerism, but there are smarter shopping choices we can make to help offset this. Here are some of my favourite ethical brands and products that will make great Christmas gifts for the stylish and sustainable loved ones in your life.
Giving someone socks and pants in their stocking should no longer be shunned as a boring, thoughtless gift. With Organic Basics, unbelievably comfortable and luxurious underwear made from 100% organic cotton in certified ethical and sustainable factories is the perfect option for the stylish minimalist in your life. And deep down, who doesn’t truly love a fresh pair of pants or socks? (Psst…they also make cool activewear for the ethical yoga bunnies out there.
You can’t do winter in Scotland without knitwear, and this year, instead of cheesy Christmas jumpers (because lets be honest, fashion needs to move on from 1981), I’m opting for womens knitwear and accessories designer Valentina Karellas. Valentina designs and knits everything herself from a North London workshop using UK-sourced surplus yarns, and holding onto every scarp of yarn for future projects, leaving absolutely zero waste. What’s more, her jumpers, cardigans scarves and dresses are chic and gorgeous; nothing like your nanna used to knit!
QÄSA QÄSA is a sustainable brand offering ethically made gifts and homewares from East Africa, with a beautifully curated collection including skilfully carved utensils and tableware, home accessories like throws and baskets, as well as vibrant tote bags and fashion accessories. Each piece is handmade by talented artisans using local materials from the region, and with every purchase, information is received which reveals the story behind the product, thus connecting the maker to the buyer, making every gift all the more special and meaningful, whilst giving back to the community.
Ms Pomelo Lingerie
Lingerie can be such a special gift at Christmas, especially when its as lovely as the sets created by Ms Pomelo, a UK based brand for plus sized women, catering towards sizes up to 46H and promoting better fit and therefore higher quality purchases. The label even offers an impressive lifetime guarantee;repairing or altering any product for free if anything goes wrong, and they invest in high-quality materials and eco-friendly packaging for their stunning, sexy lace bras and briefs.
Robin Hood Beard co
Based in the Midlands of the UK (where I grew up!), the Robin Hood Beard Co. create artisan beardcare products for the discerning gent, manufacturing in small batches with no unnecessary chemicals, inspired by traditional methods. Their ethically sourced grooming kits are the ideal gift for the hipster in your life, including a beard oil, wooden beard comb, moustache wax, beard moisturiser and boar hair brush.
I am a huge fan of Today, a brand creating jewellery using simple shapes and forms to be treasured long past any trend cycle. The brand’s founder Séarlait Mcrea handcrafts each and every piece, using recycled ecosilver for all her silver jewellery and 100% recyclable packaging. What’s even cooler is that any metal scraps from the making process of the larger pieces are reworked into off-cut jewellery, like cute flat silver studs. Plus, everything is super affordable and of course, beautifully timeless and minimalist.
Primrose and Pixie
For me, pyjamas at Christmas create the perfect festive feeling, so I was thrilled to discover local ethical underwear and sleepwear brand Primrose and Pixie. Lead designer Sarah ensures every product is handmade in Scotland using organic cotton, low impact dyes and OEKO-TEX® certified fabrics. The delicate, pretty prints, inspired by all things magical and dreamy, adorn sleep masks, bralets, camps, nightdresses and knickers, that make absolutely beautiful gifts.
Tartan Blanket Co
The local and sustainable design brand Tartan Blanket Co work with sustainable lambswool and even recycled wool to create the most georgics, luxurious and most importantly, super soft and cosy, scarves and blankets that are screaming out to be wrapped up in brown paper and tied up with sparkly string and a sprig of holly. The Scottish company are also working with The Social Bite this festive season, donating £1 of every sale from Black Friday right through till the end of December to support the campaign to endi the cycle of homelessness through building low-cost, eco-friendly homes within a supportive community.
For anyone looking to reduce their waste and consumption of single-use plastics this Christmas, ethical brand Bare Vida has a gorgeous range of bamboo gifts, ranging from drinking straws to knives and forks to chopsticks, each in a beautiful batik carry case and 100% handmade to last in Bali using traditional craft techniques and recycled materials.
Art & Craft Collective
Shopping local and supporting independent creatives is so important at this time of year, so thats why I’m loving the Art & Craft Collective, a boutique in the serene Southside of Edinburgh stocking a huge range of handmade products by local artists and makers. From vegan, cruelty-free candles and soaps to upcycled, vintage leather bags, natural ceramics, handcrafted textile accessories and dozens of original artworks; you are absolutely spoilt for choice if you’re looking for a unique Scottish gift this Christmas from this jam-packed but beautifully curated store; make sure to pay a visit if you’re in town!
Jewelled Buddha is a really cool ethical brand that carries a sophisticated edit of luxury, artisan-made fashion and homeware accessories influenced by age-old craft techniques with a modern twist. The UK-based company partners exclusively with social enterprises and other brands who share their values of respecting people and the planet, and they are dedicated to paying fair wages for highly skilled craft and environmentally conscious materials. Key Christmas gift ideas available online now include hand-dyed, hand-woven throws and cushions, Sari-inspired silk scarves and up cycled bead necklaces.
Dear Green Coffee
Secret Santa gifting can be a bit of a nightmare; but if your office is anything like mine, there are a lot of coffee lovers. Dear Green is a Glasgow-based gourmet coffee brand sourcing speciality grade coffee which is full traceable and ethically sourced, and this year, they are providing the perfect present solution with their Secret Santa set: two gift bags filled with surprise selections of their in-house coffee experts favourite beans. Dear Green also sell some awesome coffee-themed accessories, like reusable keep-cups, coffee grinders, presses, filters and mugs.