If you’re anything like me, you start thinking about Christmas gifts way in advance. In fact this year, I wanted to get my family on board with adopting the Secret Santa system so actually contacted them way back in June to get the ball rolling! What can I say, I love Christmas and when you’re a Mum, you need a LOT of extra time to plan EVERYTHING. And if you’re also planning to do eco friendly gifts this year, you’ll need to do extra research to make sure you know how to give sustainably.
Sustainable gifting can be a bit of a minefield, so if you’re wondering how we can make Christmas more sustainable in general, do open up a new tab and save my guide to having an eco friendly Christmas.
Meanwhile, in this post I’ve done a whole load of the research into eco friendly gifts so you don’t have to. As gifting is such a personal thing, I’ve tried to give you lots of choice and cover as many categories as possible for UK sustainable gift ideas for babies, toddlers and the adults in your life too. If you’re keen to do sustainable gifting in 2021, this is the place to be.
Oh, and it should go without saying that sustainable and ethical means going Amazon-free, so you’ll find no Jeff Bezos-funding products here! Please consider sharing the infographic below to encourage others to pledge to choose smaller, more local and more independent sellers this Christmas.
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Eco friendly christmas gifts for babies
For babies under 12 months old, I personally feel it’s not necessary to go over the top with Christmas presents, especially toys. Babies in this age group obviously won’t remember this Christmas and their needs in terms of ‘stuff’ are very very small. If you’re looking to go eco friendly for your gifting then, it’s best to spend less on the newest members of the family.
If you do want to get something though, consider either clothing in the next size and season up or something symbolic as a sort of ‘baby’s first Christmas’ keepsake. Below are a few ideas and recommendations for places to shop.
Frugi: Best for sustainable baby clothing
If it’s sustainable and ethical baby clothes you’re after, Frugi should most definitely be your go-to. Their clothes are all organic, ethically sourced and some, including their fantastic Puddle Buster range of outerwear, are even made from recycled plastic bottles!
They’ve been doing their bit for the planet since 2004 when husband and wife team Lucy and Kurt began a clothing line specifically designed to accommodate cloth nappies, so they really are eco friendly to the core. FYI their clothes continue to be cloth bum-friendly (check out my beginner’s guide to cloth nappies if that’s something you’re interest in!) so that’s an added bonus.
They’ve got plenty of ideas for baby’s first Christmas gifts as well as a full range of clothing and accessories such as organic muslins. I love Frugi so much I still buy them for my 3.5 year old daughter, and I’ve got a 10% off link for you if you click here.
BabiPur: Best for sustainable baby toys
This isn’t even an affiliate link – I just genuinely love and highly recommend family-run business BabiPur (Welsh for ‘pure baby’) and my absolute fave for all things eco friendly kids’ gear. They’re a marketplace so sell various different children’s brands all under one roof, meaning it’s a pretty awesome one-stop-shop for sustainable gifts for babies. With everything from all-natural and non-toxic teething and clutching toys, to colourful wooden sorting and stacking toys, BabiPur have you covered for eco friendly gifts this year.
Kidly: Great for everything else!
If eco friendly baby clothing and sustainable baby toys don’t quite cover you for your environmentally friendly Christmas gifts list, KIDLY is likely to have your back. Go here if you’re after anything like feeding accessories, soft baby books, bath time accessories or nursery decor.
eco friendly christmas gifts for boddlers & Toddlers
So when I say ‘boddler’ I mean from that super-cute standing up and cruising phase of older-babyhood up to confident walking and the beginnings of toddlerhood.
This is the age when Christmas actually becomes a bit more exciting and engaging for the little ones, even if it’s not a time they will remember later in life. Don’t forget that memory-building is for your benefit too so take the opportunity to get stuck right in and make the boddler/toddler experience of Christmas really fun, while still gifting sustainably.
Here are a few ideas for eco friendly Christmas gifts for babies and toddlers, ages approximately 12-months to 2 year olds:
Little dutch activity cube
I didn’t have this exact one for Ursula but I bought a very similar activity cube for her when she was roughly 9 months old and it was brilliant. Kept her entertained and busy for ages, whilst also giving her something else to start pulling herself up and practising standing (or wobbling!) with.
Classic world 2 in 1 rider walker
Plan toys stacking rings
This is an oldie but goldie, this toy. It’s a pretty classic baby and toddler toy and with good reason. It promotes early fine motor skills in the fingers as well as colour and size recognition.
Handmade rocking horse
Classic world 100 building blocks
Building blocks are a bit of a staple in the lives of boddlers and toddlers, and with good reason. They get SO much out of them, from developing their fine motor skills, to beginning to understand balance and the early development of imaginary play.
My 3.5 year old daughter Ursula was enthusiastically playing with her own building block set just the other day, so they really do have longevity too.
eco friendly christmas gifts for Adults
So hopefully you’ve got some good starting points there for eco friendly Christmas gifts for the younger children. Moving onto the adults in your life now.
Wearth & jungle culture: Best for toiletries
If it’s toiletries you’re after then consider making Jungle Culture your first stop. They’re a new company so their product range is still small, but the products I’ve sample are truly excellent.
They sent me one of their zero waste safety razors to try alongside a shaving soap bar and I swear I’ve never had such a smooth and comfortable shave. Actually just thinking about it makes me want to go and shave my legs, and as a busy mum I can assure you that is really saying something! 😹
Meanwhile, over at Wearth London, they’ve got a wide range of eco friend Christmas gifts including toiletries. From bamboo electric toothbrushes 🙀 and all-natural, toxin-free shaving oil to eco, vegan and cruelty-free make-up brushes and handmade, recycled cotton wash bags to put everything in, Wearth have a great selection for all genders and budgets.
Book depository & world of books: Best for books
If the thought of relinquishing your Amazon Prime memberships in the name of being more sustainable and eco friendly leaves you wondering where on Earth you can buy books for a low price and fast delivery, I’ve got your back. Personally I’d recommend secondhand book seller World of Books as the most sustainable choice, but. if you feel funny about giving secondhand books then Book Depository are your people.
Both sellers offer free and fast delivery in the UK (and internationally in the case of Book Depository). Meanwhile World of Books do many good deeds by donating books to schools all over the world and communities in developing countries, as well as obviously promoting reuse and recycling.
Planet warrior: Best for sporty stuff
If you’ve got a fitness fan in your fam, Planet Warrior could be the place to get you sorted for an ecofriendly sporty Christmas gift. They’re women-centric and have a wide range of gifts from eco friendly yoga mats to sports bras and leggings made from recycled plastic bottles. Oh and, of course, reusable stainless steel eco water bottles to help reduce that plastic bottle supply to begin with 😉
Traidcraft: Best for fashion & accessories
For fashion, accessories and soft furnishings with a conscience look no further than Traidcraft. These are truly the Fairtrade and ethical pioneers of the UK having been offering sustainable goods for over 40 years.
They’ve got you covered for your traditional cosy little gifts like alpine headbands, hand warmers and bamboo socks to shawls made from recycled materials, organic pyjamas and ethically-produced handmade jewellery.
Neal’s yard remedies: Best for smelly stuff
Another ethical pioneer, Neal’s Yard Remedies have been offering natural, organic and sustainable health and beauty products since 1981 – that’s the year I was born so I KNOW it’s been a long time!
They’re great for organic, natural bath and beauty gift sets as well as aromatherapy candles and vegan skincare. They even have a huge range of online courses if you’re considering giving an experience. Basically if it’s got anything to do with awesome-smelling (and completely natural) smelly stuff, Neal’s Yard Remedies should be your first stop!
Wearth & Jungle culture: best for toiletries
Finishing the gifts for adults section back where we started, both Jungle Culture and Wearth are great for beautiful and sustainable homewares.
Jungle Culture’s signature products are a range of bowls handmade from the shells of organic coconuts. I have two of them and I absolutely love them. You can’t put hot food in them unfortunately, but they’re great for overnight oats and Buddha bowls in the spring and summer.
Made in Ben Tre, a region located in the throngs of the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam, these bowls are made from shells that would otherwise be discarded after the milk and flesh has been removed.
In putting the shells to good use, repurposing them and selling them as attractive bowls, they are not only fighting waste they are giving the farmers an additional income in an area struggling with poverty and the direct impacts of climate change. They make the perfect gift for anyone who is concerned about climate change and excess waste. You can read more about the fascinating story behind the coconut bowls here.
Meanwhile Wearth have a wide range of sustainably produced homewares from handmade ceramics, ethical kitchenware and bedding to storage, vegan soft furnishings and eco friendly home accessories such as soap dishes and vases.
Eco friendly wrapping paper & tags
Wearth are also great from eco friendly, recyclable Christmas wrapping paper and tags. I noticed last year that more and more people have been getting on board with making sure their gift wrapping is more sustainable, with the trend for plain brown wrapping paper adorned with cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices full-on kicking off over on Pinterest.
Personally this year I want my actual wrapping to be a bit more decorative, so if like me you’re over the plain brown paper thing. They also have recyclable gift tags, eco friendly bubble wrap and biodegradable plastic-free tape to stick it all together.
Another eco option for gift tags of course is to cut up last year’s Christmas cards and reuse them as tags – if you didn’t save last year’s cards, make sure you do this year!
Alternatively, you might want to consider an even lower waste form of wrapping – fabric. The Japanese tradition of wrapping presents in fabric, known in Japanese as furoshiki, has well and truly migrated to the UK this year. If you don’t already have a stash of fabric you can pull out then our friends Frugi have a couple of lovely furoshiki fabric gift wrap designs.
Eco friendly christmas cards
Although a lot of folks have given up sending Christmas cards, many of us still like to pop one in the post to people we aren’t buying a gift for but still want to wish a happy festive season. If that’s you, there’s a wide range of eco friendly Christmas cards over on Etsy.
In particular I’m loving the new trend for plantable Christmas cards, which are infused with seeds and therefore actively give back to the Earth. They do cost a bit more than your average Card Factory fodder, but you can sleep well in the knowledge that you’re both respecting the planet and supporting a small, independent business owner.
So I hope you’ve found some inspiration from my guide to eco friendly Christmas gifts for the family. Wishing you a wonderful, joyful festive season and an abundant and inspiring 2022.