“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” – Edna Ferber
Sustainable Christmas Gifts; For some people, the best part of Christmas is the food, and for others, it’s the festivities. However, when it comes to the Holiday’s, the most joyous part for me is giving gifts. I love the planning, the wrapping, and seeing faces light up with joy when presents are opened. The entire lead up to Christmas is all about that one moment. I never want to sacrifice that feeling.
Sustainability has a bad reputation that it’s an all or nothing kind of thing, and I believed that if I wanted to celebrate an eco-conscious Christmas, that meant no more gifts. But I was wrong. A sustainable Christmas means cutting back on waste going to landfill, so it’s about being more mindful and purchasing items that will stand the test of time when it comes to gifts. Instead of not buying gifts at all, a simple thing to do is ask yourself these questions first:
- Do they need this
- Will they use it
If the answer is no, then you need to go back to the drawing board. However, if you are stuck for ideas, you have come to the right place as The Sustainability Strategy has created this gift guide that gives Sustainable Christmas gift ideas that cover all age groups and budgets.
What is a Sustainable gift?
A Sustainable gift means that you consider environmental aspects like waste and social factors like ethics when buying your gifts. It means that you support local businesses and focus on giving back to the community. The three pillars of sustainable development are thought about in advance.
Sustainable gifts require more thought and research; however, it may reduce the almost 90,000 tonnes of packaging waste we generate at Christmas time here in Ireland.
The Reusable Stocking Fillers
Kick start your loved one’s Sustainability Journey by picking them up some reusable products. First things first, pick up a gorgeous Christmas stocking from Green Dot Irish Design Makers. Handcrafted in Clonakilty, these made to order Christmas stocking are carefully embroidered and are the perfect centrepiece for any home. These are a great eco alternative to wrapping presents and a sentimental gift that can be used for life.
Now the fun part, stuff the stocking with some of these low cost, high impact eco-friendly products:
- Reusable GIOP Straws
- Stainless steel food containers
- Reusable coffee cups
- Reusable grocery shopping bags
- Reusable water bottles
- Reusable food wraps
- Reusable Safety Razor
- Shampoo Bars
- Cutlery packs
- Menstrual cups
- Reusable Makeup Pads
- Cloth Sanitary Pads
These products can be a clever way of reducing the amount of waste generated and purchased from eco-living stores. Here are three Irish online retailers to choose from:
Netflix and Chill
Here is a list of sustainable Christmas gift ideas for the person in your life that likes to chill at home and relax after their busy week.
Upcircle clarifying face mask
This clarifying face mask is suitable for all skin types. It leaves skin feeling cleansed, refreshed, and balanced. Upcircle is a unique Sustainable brand that promises to deliver cruelty-free, salvaged ingredient products. This zero-waste brand is the perfect pampering gift.
Luxury Certified Organic Face Oil
Everyone loves a little luxury, and Nami Naturale is guaranteed to deliver Luxury Certified Organic Face oils within their range. Nami Naturale is a conscious Irish Skincare Brand that offers products that will help create everyday moments of bliss. My favourite product in the range is the REJUVENATE FACE OIL SERUM, made with 15 cold-pressed natural ingredients; it is sure to go down a treat.
Organic Cotton Bed Linen
Made with only 100% long-staple cotton, gift someone special with Irish owned Luxury bed linen from LinenBundle. Not only will the bedsheets last a lifetime, but for each bundle sold by the organisation, a donation is made to the Crisis & Simon homeless charities. Sheets can be bought in Bundles, which help eliminate inflated price tags, or be purchased individually.
Loose-Leaf Gift Set
I have discussed it regularly on my Instagram, but a lot of teabags contain plastic. Loose leaf tea offers a great zero waste alternative and perfect for the tea connoisseur in your life. LOOSE LEAF shop and tasting salon are set at the heart of old Cork who offers various specialty tea. Their Irish Gift set of 3 three loose leaf teas, an Irish Cream Coffee, tea strainer, and sugar sticks all wrapped in a beautiful gift box.
Voya Seaweed Bath
Seaweed baths have been used for centuries to help care for the skin, and the lazy Days seaweed bath from Voya is the ultimate relaxation experience. Giving a gift like this that Re-mineralises the body and Soothes aches and pains will be very much appreciated.
Hand Poured Soy Wax Candle
This candle is handmade in Ireland and contains natural, high-quality Eco Soya Wax. Emma’s So Naturals candles are fragranced with only 100% pure essential oils and guarantee a beautiful vegan candle. With a core value to strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible, these candles come in beautiful reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable containers. Cosy nights in never looked so perfect.
An essential that nobody wanted to pay for but would be lost without. Treat your bestie this Christmas and add them to your Netflix account. A gift they are guaranteed to use, and you may even get invited over more often to watch the latest releases and join in on the chilling.
Motivation Books, the latest psychological thriller, or even Bridget Jones Diary, can be listened to easily. Long car journeys never need to be boring again. An Audible subscription will be greatly appreciated by all who want to read more but just can never find the time.
Sustainable Makeup & Beauty
Here is a list of all my favourite Ethical brands to help you make an informed decision. This list results from my research of brands and lists from trustworthy sources and will make your Christmas shopping a little easier for the makeup Guru in your life.
The Cruelty Free Make-up List
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- Urban Decay*
- Too Faced*
- Milk Makeup
- Marc Jacobs Beauty*
- Kat Von D*
- The Body Shop
- Barry M
- 100% Pure
- Cailyn Cosmetics
- KKW Beauty
- Kylie Cosmetics*
- Sculpted By Aimee
This list details all cruelty free brands, but I have placed a * beside the brands owned by a company that isn’t deemed cruelty free.
Vegan Makeup Brushes
Blank Canvas Cosmetics is an Irish Brand founded in 2011. The companies Vegan Makeup brushes are of superior quality and the perfect starter kit for any up and coming makeup artist in your life. The Set has a range of face and eye brushes that will help create any look.
Everyone loves skincare, and the Irish beauty industry is booming at the moment. With natural organic ingredients, treat your significant other to a sustainable product that will leave their skin refreshed and glowing: Here are the green beauty brands which are leading the way in the Irish eco-conscious realm:
There is often a misconception that you cant be stylish and sustainable at the same time. Here is a list of gifts to crack that myth:
TOMS has made an effort to be environmentally friendly and ethical through their charity work. In 2020, TOMS launched its Earthwise collection; according to the brand, every item comes from eco-friendly materials that use eco-friendly processes. Any fashionista will love the knitted trainers with linings made from recycled plastic water bottles and dyed using natural dye.
Founded by Irish Designer Lynn Haughton, ‘ The Upcycle Movement’ is a brand that rethinks waste. The Neo collection was created to prevent old, used wetsuits from going to landfill. Not only are these bags helping the environment, but 10% of the collection’s profits go to Seal Rescue Ireland.
Handcrafted jewellery is so special; each piece is uniquely created and personalized to your loved one’s specific style. With high-quality material being used and the guarantee no two pieces will ever be the same, handcrafted jewellery is the perfect way to tell someone that you care this Christmas.
Andrea Mears Jewellery
Hailing from Castletroy, Co. Limerick and a member of the #LoveLocal Campaign, Andrea Mears Jewellery brings ancient ideas and geometry together to create stunning art deco pieces. Andrea Mears Jewellery has an incredible collection of bracelets, necklaces, and earrings; however, unique material and colour combination jewellery can be created upon your request.
Hanna Tommola is a talented goldsmith/ jewellery designer based in Cork city. Having come from Finland, Hanna Tommola has stayed true to her Nordic heritage and has created a simple, high clarity piece. Hanna believes that “jewellery should always have a hint of magic about it”. The business ethos shines through in each of her collections. With Stunning necklaces, earrings, and rings to choose from, there is no better way to say I love you this Christmas.
Love, Jools is the Irish business which has brought you the ‘One Bead at a Time Bracelet’, the inspirational product that helps people achieve their goals. Having featured in the Sustainability Strategy #LoveLocal Campaign, it is assured that whoever you opt to gift these bracelets to, they will be given the gift of support and will be a constant reminder that you care.
Betty & Biddy
Based in Dublin, Betty & Biddy was set up by two friends with a passion for jewellery. With statement pieces that are reasonability priced, you are guaranteed to find the perfect Christmas gift this Christmas. You can choose between necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings, all of which will bring joy to the little magpie in your life.
Sustainable clothing is designed and manufactured to stand the test of time, promotes conscious consumerism, and is eco-friendly. Whether it is from a vintage store or made from recycled material, any piece of sustainable fashion received this Christmas will be treasured long into the future. Forget the latest trends that will be soon forgotten and opt for one-of-a-kinds pieces instead choose from these amazing online retailers:
The Baby Gift
Sustainable Baby Clothing
Whether it is organic cotton zip suits or beautifully designed knitwear, Lou and Belle provide it all. Each item in the babywear collection is hand-selected to ensure that baby is only wearing the highest quality clothing. With Fun designs and quirky prints to choose from, Lou and Belle have all the baby clothing essentials from birth to 18 months
Reusable cloth nappies
Cloth nappies may not suit everyone, but your eco-conscious friend will be over the moon to receive this gift for their bundle of joy. Instead of making a large investment, they get to test the water first with your present before they make to leap. Ecostore.ie have a collection of washable birth to potty cloth nappies in an array of colours along with all of the environmentally friendly nappy accessories to choose from for this extraordinary gift.
Wooden Soother/ Teether Chain
Fauna Kids have the most beautiful Heimess Dummy Chain that every teething baby will appreciate this Christmas. Made from untreated wood from sustainable indigenous forests,these chains are BPA, lead, cadmium, latex, and PVC free, ensuring that even babies with allergies can enjoy.
The Hospital Bag
For all of the expecting parents and little babies yet to be born, giving the gift of hospital bag products will be truly appreciated. Baby Boo have pulled all of their beautiful ethical and sustainable hospital bag products together into one place on their website
The Always On The Go
Trainers Made From Recycled Plastic
Pick up a pair of eco-friendly footwear that will not only help with performance but will reduce carbon footprint. Allbirds have the motto “Made from Nature”, producing comfortable and practicable trainers. The Allbird Tree dasher is a vegetarian shoe made from sugar cane, castor bean, FSC certified eucalyptus trees, and even the laces are made from recycled plastic bottles. It is important to emphasis that these shoes are not vegan as they do contain a little wool. These shoes will be perfect for any carbon-conscious friend as they have their carbon count calculated based on their lifecycle.
Organic cotton activewear
Gym + Coffee are an Irish brand who have Sustainability running throughout their athleisure business model. In 2020, the Brand joined forces with One Tree Planted, a non-profit organisation committed to replanting trees. For every purchase made with Gym + Coffee, a tree will be planted in its honour; how awesome is that! The Brand has even created The Amárach Collection, its first sustainable range, made from 100% recycled polyester or rPET, consisting mainly of recycled plastic materials. Gym + Coffee has set clear goals and business objectives around Sustainability that will be loved by all this Christmas.
Online Yoga Classes
At the end of the year, the gift of online yoga classes will be appreciated. Yoga is great for overall wellbeing and helps build muscle and strength. Robyn Yoga, based in Galway, has classes for all levels, including beginners. If you want to go all out, you can also purchase a Manduka eKO yoga mats, which are eco-friendly and biodegradable.
Live Gigs & Online Shows
Tickets are the perfect lightweight, big impact gift that can be tailored to all musical tastes. Whether it is tickets to a live gig, which gives your loved one something to look forward to, or an online show that they can enjoy from their living room, it is sure to be appreciated by all, no matter the age or music preference.
House of Marley headsets is sustainably designed and built to last. Made from materials like recycled plastic & Aluminium, the Brand is paving the way for more eco-friendly practices in the tech industry. The organisation also supports global reforestation via One Tree Planted and ocean conservation via the Surfrider Foundation. In Honour of the late great Bob Marley’s 75th birthday, The House of Marley will be planting 75,000 more trees in Jamaica. A fantastic gift for the special techie in your life.
The Globe Trotter
A Night Away
With the word Staycation on everyone’s lips this year, an Ireland’s Blue Book voucher is the perfect gift for everyone this Christmas. Ireland’s Blue Book has a range of accommodations, including lodges, manor houses, and castles to choose from. With over 50 different locations, the lucky recipient can choose from any of the associated luxurious hotels at a time that suits them.
Patagonia is leading the way in environmental conservation and aims to be completely carbon neutral by 2025. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they also have strict social responsibility policies, becoming the founding member of the Fair Labour Association. This non-profit organisation aims to improve working conditions globally. The organisation is growing their fair-trade factories and currently have 14 in place with almost 16,000 workers benefiting from the Patagonia programme. Luggage from Patagonia is of the highest quality; it is a Christmas gift that will last a lifetime.
Offset Their Carbon Emissions
Some big travel plans did not go ahead this year, so there will be plenty of well-deserved travel to be caught up within the near future. The travel enthusiast in your life may be looking to explore further afield and discover unknown land overseas, which involves taking flights. Unfortunately, flights play serious havoc on the environment due to the number of carbon emissions released, but carbon offsetting has become more sophisticated. Carbon offsetting involves using funds to implement projects like reforestation to help reduce emissions. When you offset your carbon through programs like Sustainable Travel International, you are guaranteed that the contribution will be used to combat climate change.
The Animal Lover
Donate to an Animal Charity
When you opt for this unique gift and choose to donate to a charity at Christmas, you end up giving twice. Once to the animal lover in your life and once to the charity of choice. With so many worthy animal charities to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one should receive your donation. Fortunately, there will be no wrong decision. Keep the recipient in mind and try pick a charity they speak about or have contributed to themselves in the past. Here is a small selection of National animal charities to pick from, but remember local animal charities is a good option also.
WWF Symbolic Adoption Kit
Each year after the Christmas festivities have died down, several little animals are left homeless and placed into animal shelters as they were gifted to someone who was unable to commit to the responsibility. Instead of running the risk of contributing to the issue, giving the gift of a symbolic adoption is a great alternative. The WWF Symbolic Species Adoption Kits is a way of supporting the global efforts being made by the charity to protect wild and endangered species. Kits included teddies, photos , adoption certificates information cards and gift bags, ensuring that the person receiving the gift is spoiled this Christmas.
Eco-Friendly Pet Toys
For your friend who owns a pet already, why not treat their favourite little furry friend this Christmas with an Eco-friendly toy. Petstop.ie have a wide range of products to choose from like the Resploot Whale Shark Dog Toy which is made from recycled plastic bottles or the BeCo – Ball On Rope made from Rice Husk Rubber. Pets are a valuable member of all households and remembering them during your sustainable Christmas gift shopping will be very much appreciated all animal parents.
For your beloved foodie, an online cooking course is calling their name. With cooking lessons starting at €15, you can learn how to make sushi, bread, and tasty desserts on Cooks Academy cookingclassonline.com. All of the recipes and meal plans have been tried and tested for over 15 years. With step by step guidance, even a novice will be cooking up a storm by the end of the day.
Why not give a little taste of luxury to the one you love this Christmas by treating them to an afternoon tea experience. With the option of traditional tea or bubbles, it is an occasion that delights all.
Booking in advance is vital, so when we return to full staycation mode, it is something to look forward to. There are so many locations to choose from, but here are some highly recommended locations:
- Adare Manor, Limerick
- Castlemartyr Resort, Cork
- Dromoland Castle, Clare
- Gregans Castle Hotel, Clare
- Maryborough Hotel & Spa, Cork
- Bunratty Castle Hotel, Clare
- Lough Eske Castle, Donegal
- Horse and Jockey Hotel, Tipperary
The Daly Dish Cookbook
From the Instagram sensations, Gina and Karol Daly – The Daly Dish -100 Masso Slimming Meals For Every Day is the perfect stocking filler. Together, the Instafamous couple has lost almost ten stone and bring you some of their famous fakeaway recipes. Even if not on a slimming journey, this book will be enjoyed by anyone who loves delicious, easy to make food.
The Last To Leave A Party
When they get to immerse themselves in Ireland’s world-class visitor experiences, any whiskey lover will be in their element and see how whiskey is made for themselves. Whiskey tours give an appreciation for how the drink is made by offering education around the innovative distilling process. Jameson Distillery Midleton provides an exciting tour that finishes with a tasting. Comparing Single, Double, and Triple Distilled whiskey, everyone leaves the tour with a greater love for the drink, which is embedded in our culture.
Not everyone is a fan of whiskey, so another excellent alternative is the brewery tour, and with so many craft beers popping onto the scene in Ireland, your choice is endless. Because there are so many beer types, larger and stout to choose from, remember to pick the recipient’s taste preference. A gift voucher for the tour and a sample of the product will guarantee success. Here are two Micro Breweries which will assist you to stay on your supporting local journey when buying gifts this Christmas,
The Art Enthusiast
For the creative in your life, buying a stunning piece of Irish art will be considered one of their most cherished gifts this Christmas. Simplistic photography, Bold Illustrations, or Bright Prints, the choice is endless. Here is a list of talented Irish artists, all of whom have created aesthetically pleasing pieces guaranteed to please any art enthusiast:
The Coffee Drinker
Coffee is a big part of our daily routines, so why not treat your buzzing friend to a zero-waste alternative coffee maker: the French Press, the Pour-Over, and the Aeropress and great options. Fortunately, cafes have started focusing on Sustainability throughout their business.
Ensuring that their coffee beans have been ethically sourced and moving towards selling environmentally friendly coffee products online, here are two Irish eco-friendly coffee maker suppliers :
The Old Barracks
Based in Birdhill County Tipperary, The Old Barracks is an adult-only Coffee Roastery and Coffeebar with a large supply of coffee-making products to choose from in-store and online.
PS Coffee Roasters
PS Coffee Roasters is located in Clane and Naas, and their cafés offer the best sustainable coffee on the market with every aspect of the three pillars considered in each cup. You can shop all of their Sustainable eco-friendly coffee online
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog. Here at The Sustainability Strategy, we aim to build a community that openly discusses their environmental views. If you enjoyed the content and would like to get involved in the Sustainable growth conversation, I would love to hear from you. You can find me on Pinterest, and Instagram.
Keep it Green,
Sarah Jane Keane