Sustainable gift ideas for Christmas that you haven’t heard before

Here’s a New Year’s Resolution you can put into action right now: Give natural, sustainable gifts that are better for the planet.

It’s a simple, happy-making idea, however putting it into practice when you have a Christmas gift list as long as your arm isn’t so easy. So we’ve done some of the creative thinking for you.

Cool sustainable gifts for husbands and boyfriends

What do you get for the man who has everything (i.e. you)? Well you can start by ruling out socks and undies, and then you can check out these ideas:

- An old-fashioned razor that takes new blades, so he’s not throwing the entire thing away when the blades are blunt. There are some very cool designs out there.To go with that, a solid bar of shaving soap, soap dish and shaving brush.

- A bee and insect house. Sounds weird, but it’ll bring out the little boy in him. Look online and you’ll find what we mean.

- A man-friendly shopping bag, for popping down to the hardware store, fishing shop or supermarket.

- An elephant, using the Adopt an Elephant gift pack. Or give him a tiger with the Adopt a Big Cat pack! There’s nothing quite like an apex predator for Christmas J

Eco-friendly gifts for children

Resist the temptation to run off to the nearest shopping mall and load up with plastic toys, cheap clothing and sugar-based treats. Children can’t help but be aware of things like climate change and sustainability, so they’ll appreciate gifts that are better for the planet.  Try these ideas for size:

- Something from a Trade Aid shop, made in a village that’s turning its fortunes around. There’s some really cool stuff at Trade Aid – puzzles, games, toy baskets, hanging organisers, works of art and much more.

- Gardening tools and packets of vege seeds, so that they can grow their own food.

- A tree they can call their own, preferably one that will bear fruit one day.

- Stainless steel straws for long cool drinks.

- A gift to people in need, like Donate a Goat from Save the Children.

Sustainable gifts for brothers

Men are notoriously difficult to buy for, until you decide to go sustainable. Then it becomes kind of easy. Your main aim here is to think of the stomach…

- A potted chilli plant, so that he can play fear factor with his friends or make a killer chilli sauce one day.

- A bumper pack of freshly roasted coffee – either beans or grounds. Just about every bloke loves a good coffee in the morning.

- Make him a batch of relish, jam or cookies. He’ll appreciate the love and attention that has gone into the gift.

- Natural skincare. Yep…it’s a really good idea. Blokes often have skin complaints they don’t want to talk about, but you can see what’s going on. Give him an Okana gift set, then sit him down and explain how to use it. When his skin is smooth and clear, he’ll be thanking you silently every time he looks in the mirror.

Best eco gifts for sisters

You can often give to sisters the things you give to brothers (see above), with some exceptions. Here’s our take on sisterly sustainable gifts:

- Buy a plain terracotta plant pot and decorate it with leftover house paint. At a pinch, you could also use a Resene test pot or two. Don’t forget to sign your name – every great artwork should be signed.

- Head to Trade Aid for a handmade measuring tape, jute or fabric shopping bag, luggage tag or passport holder. You’ll also find jewellery pouches, gorgeous hand-made leather bags and home textiles.

- Visit a second-hand shop and find a beautiful piece of vintage jewellery – a brooch, necklace or earrings. You can pick up some incredible bargains this way.

- If you’re crafty, make her a jewellery organiser – a beautiful piece of driftwood with hooks on it that hangs on a chain from a picture hook.

Nature-made gifts for friends

Gifts for friends at Christmas are often food or wine. Instead of heading off to your nearest gourmet store for the goodies, make your own. The gift will be infinitely more attractive when it’s come from your own kitchen.

- Bake a big batch of Christmas biscotti, full of dried fruit and nuts. It’s really fun to make, once you get the hang of it.

- Invent a Christmas chutney that will go well with ham – look for a spicy recipe that uses mustard, cranberries, pineapple, mango or pears.

- Make a ‘ham bag’ out of plain tea towels. Ham keeps better if it’s kept wrapped in a damp cotton cloth in the fridge

- Layer cookie ingredients in a tall glass jar, so that your mates can whip up a delicious batch of cookies while they’re on holiday. Include the recipe in the gift card.


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