I’ve never really been one for gift guides on my blog and I think this year I’ve figured out why – it’s because I struggle to recommend gifts to people without knowing the person behind the gift receiving it, plus I’m starting to struggle more and more with the commercial side of gift-giving just for the sake of it.
This year, my goal is to give people either something thoughtful or useful. “Thoughtful” has two meanings for me here:
- Something that’s really personal and wanted.
- Something from a company that has put real thought into the product – ie. making it ethical, sustainable, organic, or they’re simply a small business.
In years past, I purchased most Christmas gifts from Amazon over Black Friday weekend simply to get the good deals. This year, while I can’t say I didn’t purchase anything on Amazon Black Friday deals (the car seat base we needed was reduced by nearly half!), I’m focusing on buying independently where I can.
And as such, I’ve discovered a lot of gorgeous products and wonderful businesses who are doing their best to thrive, which is why I wanted to support them with this blog post. Some of these I’ve placed orders with for gifts for friends and family, others I just think are really nice ideas or sites that I’d like to share. If you have any suggestions of similar ones, do let me know as I’d love to hear them!
Pictured: Botanical Screen Printed Tea Towel – This tea towel is hand screen printed in Sussex on sturdy untreated cotton. Its quirky Scandinavian design and bright colours are fun and will brighten any kitchen. Plus everyone needs tea towels so it’s never going to be a wasted gift!
Chalk & Moss describe their online shop as “biophilic”: sustainably made products in natural materials, colours and textures, recognising our innate need to connect with nature, indoor and out, for our wellbeing, creativity and productivity. They offer homewares, textiles, furniture and jewellery – many of which are homemade and plastic free. I also want to draw attention to the Furoshiki Wrapping as an eco-friendly and reusable alternative for gift wrapping which will make your presents look beautiful!
Pictured: Live the Little Things Box – This cute box focuses on wellness, containing little treats for someone who needs them, including handmade chocolate bars, organic tea, a vegan friendly lip balm, natural handmade soap and more.
Alice & Peg is a London based company who aim to deliver carefully curated gifts that people actually want, and they also support UK independent producers and manufacturers who care about how they make their products. Their goal is to be kind to the environment, using organic and vegan ingredients where possible, and delivering in biodegradable, reusable or recyclable packaging.
Pictured: Beauty Kubes Organic Shampoo – these cubes offer a zero waste, organic alternative to your normal shampoo. They are vegan friendly and 100% free from plastic packaging. You receive 27 cubes in a pack, each one perfect for a single gently cleansing wash. I love the idea of these for people that travel often.
The three principles of The Kind Store are vegan, natural and eco-friendly. Their goal is to help with zero waste, using products that include natural and kind ingredients that leave little to no trace on the planet. They stock toiletries, skincare products, hair products, homeware, make up and more.
Pictured: CAMRA Gift Membership – this gives you access to BEER Magazine and What’s Brewing newspaper, free or reduced entry to over 200 beer festivals, discounts on real ale at participating pubs and more.
CAMRA stands for the Campaign for Real Ale. Their goal is to save local pubs that are under threat of closure by supporting the production of real ale and locally brewed beer. They are a completely independent not-for-profit, founded in 1971 by four real ale enthusiasts, meaning decisions and campaign objectives are made by their members.
Pictured: NHD Zodiac Perfume Oil – each zodiac perfume is designed with a different blend of essentials oils to suit a particular star sign with a base of sweet almond oil. They are 100% organic and natural with no alcohol.
The man behind Notting Hill Daddy has worked in fashion and retail, but also is a graduate in medical science. With all the synthetic materials and toxins you find in mainstream beauty products, he wanted to offer an alternative. NHD offers all natural products that are 100% organic and plastic-free. The candles are responsibly sourced with organic beeswax and coconut oil, free from paraffin and soya so that they will purify the air.
Pictured: Large Wonderbag in Batick Red
The Wonderbag is an award winning eco-friendly slow cooker that cooks food and keeps it hot for up to 12 hours without the need for batteries, plugs or fuel. The design of the bag conveniently keeps food cooking once it’s been brought to the boil, but can also double as a cooler bag for chilled items, while being light and portable. Another idea that’s perfect for those who travel or camp.
Pictured: Fleece & Cotton Towelling Make-Up Wipes
Little Greenwood design environmentally friendly products that don’t compromise on quality or style, made by their own hands or by other small business owners. Their make-up wipes can be used again and again, eliminating the need for disposable wipes or cotton pads. They have a variety of options that offer exfoliation, cleaning and smooth sides too. These are perfect for any beauty lover.
Pictured: Miosolo All-In-One Nappy
Perfect for new parents or parents-to-be, Bambino Mio sell reusable but stylish nappies. They have an all-in-one option as well as two piece nappies, accessories and swim options. They have adjustable sizing meaning even less waste, they are easy to use, and have a clever design to wick away moisture from a baby’s skin so they don’t irritate.
Pictured: Reusable Bamboo Cutlery pouch
At Bare Vida, the goal is to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our seas, using amazing natural resources like bamboo and sustainably-sourced cotton. The bamboo cutlery pouch above, their signature product, is the ideal gift for someone that’s always on the go but wants to avoid waste where they can. It contains a knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks and straw handmade from organic bamboo in Bali with no plastic packaging. I already know who’s getting one of these for Christmas!
Pictured: 4 Wooden Star Coasters with Brass Inlay – confession time! I’ve bought these for myself! Well, for the nursery, not me – you’ll see them soon. While these are supposed to be coasters, the rustic wood and golden brass stars make the perfect homeware item that we’ll be hanging on the wall.
She In The Home is a small independent online store run by a blogger with the tagline “for all things life”. Rebecca curates a selection of carefully chosen homewares to match what people really want. I’m all for supporting other bloggers making a living online doing what they love!
Pictured: Etta Bra
We talk a lot about ethical and sustainable lingerie brands at Big Cup Little Cup (read one of these posts here), but one I wanted to highlight here is Ms Pomelo. They offer a lifetime product guarantee where they’ll repair or replace your bra when the elastic stretches out, wires pop out and so on, with the goal being to reduce waste. The products have cotton lining and are hypo-allergenic. They have also replaced all gift-wrapping in favour of recyclable plastic mailers.
Pictured: Nim-Veda Day Cream – This day cream contains Active Certified Organic Neem Oil to leave skin nourished and protected while still feeling lightweight.
Nim-Veda’s products are based around a “100% as natural as you can get” principle, with certified organic ingredients to make you look and feel good. They manufacture and sell personal body and hair care products.
Local Food Bank
My final idea is to give something back to your community. We’re currently working with one local food bank at work and one at Brownies, meaning I’m collecting a lot of additional bits and pieces for these with our weekly shop every week. We had a man come in to talk at Brownies about what the food bank does, how it works and what they can give, which gave me a few extra ideas:
- Food banks don’t only accept food – you can also give toiletries such as razors, shampoo, shower gels etc. Even unwanted gift sets are welcome.
- Please consider purchasing sanitary wear for women for your local food bank. There is a vast need for this and women, including teenagers, will go without if it means they can feed their families first.
- Around Christmas, think of “special” items you can give to the food bank in addition to the usual. Things like gravy granules, stuffing mix, tinned custard, even packets of sweets – these are all things that have long dates and might make a huge difference to a family.
- Don’t forget the treats! It sounds silly as people will be grateful for any food, but imagine the children in these families surviving on just the essentials and basics – they will be hugely grateful to receive something like jam, tinned fruit, jelly and so on.
- Some food banks allow people to pay for a Christmas dinner for a family. Get in touch with your local one to see if this is an option.
You don’t need to do a lot to help a food bank. Even adding a couple of tins to your weekly shop will do it and can cost you less than £1. Last week, I bought two huge bags of stuff including tinned chilli, gravy granules, Haribo, stuffing mix, tinned meatballs, tinned hot dogs, several snack pots and tinned pies – all for less than £8!