For my last installment of my ethical Christmas gift guides, I’ve put together some ethical gift ideas for kids. Now, the thing that I’m realising as a parent is that from a very young age kids have very firm ideas of what they would like for Christmas. Last year my then two year old really really wanted a red scooter (specifically red) and a purple doctors kit (specifically purple), and this year she really really wants a pink bike with a bike seat on the back from her doll, and a basket on the front.
So, rather than suggest those kind of big gifts (because I’m sure you’ve got that covered) I’m here to suggest little gift ideas, costing no more than £26. Whether you’re a parent looking for a little stocking filler, or a grandparent, relative or friend looking to buy a small ethical gift for a child, this guide should help you out! As always I’ve tried to source items straight from the maker, or from independent shops:
Ethical Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids
1) Wooden Rabbit Stacking Toy (£10) – I came across the Sarah & Bendrix online shop quite recently and was immediately struck by the fantastic selection of beautiful toys. I will definitely be back for a visit next Christmas, when our second little pudding will be celebrating his/her first Christmas, making a mental note to purchase this stunning stacking toy. It looks like a real hand-me-down piece, yet only £10.
2) Sequin Crown (£15) – perfect for little boys and girls to play King and Queen dress up.
3) Puppy Egg Cup (£4) – Again, the Little Maldod online shop was a recent Instagram find for me, and I have a feeling my bank balance is going to suffer when the new little one comes along (in five weeks, eek!) as I stock up on incredibly gorgeous kids gear. This egg cup is such a cute way to encourage kids to eat their breakfast!
4) Bunny Rattle (£5.99) – again from Little Maldod – see what I mean – all so beautiful and so reasonably priced!
5) Monty The Fox (£26) – Sara Carr’s knitted soft toys are just stunning. My daughter has a Sara Carr animal that I bought her when she was born, and it’s been a favourite of hers ever since!
6) Unicorn T-Shirt (£12) – For older kids this unicorn t-shirt from Lost Shapes is sure to be a firm favourite!
7) Bird Bingo (£14.17) – what a fun way to learn about different species of birds!
8) Lego Figure Crayons (£3.50 for 6) – for any Lego fanatics out there this would make a great stocking filler!
9) Maps (£14.54) – We have this book, it’s beautiful to look at and fun to read.
10) Animalium (£13.21) and Animalium Activity Book (£6.04) – a fun and stimulating way to find out more about the natural world around us. I secretly want this for me!!
That’s the last of my ethical Christmas gift ideas posts – I hope you’ve found them useful and perhaps discovered some new makers or new independent shops. I always enjoy putting these guides together for you – I do love a bit of window shopping!!
So, I finally let the cat out of the bag yesterday on Instagram – I’m pregnant with our second child! Our baby is due early January and we are all over the moon – especially my daughter who is thrilled to be getting a sibling!
As I’m more than half way through my pregnancy, I’ve been thinking about what things we need to stock up on in advance of our little one’s arrival, and thought I’d put together my list of eco-friendly baby essentials for any new parents or parents-to-be.
To be honest, and completely contrary to all the new baby literature out there, I’d say there are very few things for babies that I’d class as essential. Certainly from my experience first time around anyway. So I’m hoping you’ll be pleasantly surprised by my eco-friendly baby essentials selection:
Eco-Friendly Baby Essentials
Bumgenius washable nappies – I used these for two years on my daughter and I have to say I think they are the very best reusable nappies out there, and very much eco-friendly baby essentials! I’m digging out our old ones and mending a couple that need a little bit of attention.
We have about 16 nappies and found that was more than sufficient. I initially spent around £180 on them, but they probably saved us at the very least two hundred pounds or so first time around, and now that we’ll be using them again second time around we’ll probably have saved at least £600 (very rough bottom end estimate), which is amazing. I managed to convert a few friends to Bumgenius, who now sing the praises of them! Top tip – go for the popper fastening ones rather than velcro, as poppers are more durable.
Tots Bots nappy liners – I found these fit Bumgenius nappies the best, and you can just put them straight down the toilet. No touching of poo required!
Washable baby wipes – I didn’t use reusable baby wipes the first time around as I didn’t know such things existed but now that I do I have just bought a set from Cheeky Wipes, and I’m looking forward to using them on baby number 2! I picked up a mini set as I already have a nappy bucket, etc, and later I’ll buy another set just for hands and face for the messy weaning stage. I paid £25 for my set of wipes, which will easily pay for itself in a few months – baby wipes are surprisingly expensive and you go through a pack quicker than you think!
Lansinoh Cream* – ok, not specifically for babies, but for new mums who are breastfeeding this stuff is a lifesaver in a tube as what midwives don’t tell you is that breastfeeding to begin with hurts. A lot. At £7.49 it’s quite pricey (one of the cheapest places I can track it down is John Lewis) but it lasts forever and I cannot extol the virtues of this stuff enough! It is a lanolin based product though, so it’s not vegan friendly. If you are vegan I have heard that some mums recommend coconut oil on their nipples but I haven’t tried this so can’t comment on its effectiveness.
Coconut Oil* – this stuff, in combination with some nappy free time, is brilliant at clearing up nappy rash. Rather than carrying around a heavy jar I like to scoop some into a small jar and carry that around instead. It’s a bit more hygienic as well!
Ergo Baby Carrier* – my parents bought us an Ergo when we had our daughter and it was hands down one of the most practical and well used items we owned. Living car free, it was brilliant for going on the bus (no worrying if there was going to be space for a pram, or having to fold down the pram if not), and also invaluable on those oh-so frequent days when your baby does not want to be put down. We used ours on a daily basis up until my daughter was two (although you can use it up to age four on your back) and I have a feeling the Ergo is going to be a lifesaver second time around!
Aside from somewhere to sleep, some blankets, some muslin cloths for dealing with spit-up, some clothes to wear and some bottles and teats if you’re planning on bottle feeding, then to be honest I really feel these are the only eco-friendly baby essentials you’ll really need.
For other items eBay* is brilliant for shopping secondhand – particularly for bundles of clothing and secondhand equipment such as a pram/buggy, cot/crib, etc. See also Gumtree and Preloved* for local bargains, as well as local charity shops.
Unnecessary Baby Items
As well as sharing my eco-friendly baby essentials I thought I’d share the baby things I found to be utterly unnecessary:
Baby walkers/jumpers – unless you have a big living room with a solid un-carpeted floor then I’d avoid at all costs. If you do want to buy one then they’re so easy to pick up second hand as they only get used for such a short amount of time.
Baby shoes – until babies start walking I don’t really see the point of shoes. You just end up putting them back on about twenty times a day! I stick with warm socks.
Specialist bath products – we didn’t need separate bubble baths, body washes or shampoos – I just used an all in one bath/hair/body wash (like this Green People one*) and a flannel.
Talcum powder – as a child I have strong memories of being slathered in the stuff after a bath, but our midwife warned us against talcum powder as there are links to increased cancer risks.
Changing table – you don’t need anywhere special to change a baby. We used a changing pad on top of an existing chest of drawers. When your child has progressed to using the toilet you’ve still got a functional piece of furniture!
Newborn clothing – my daughter was nearly 9 lbs at birth, so fitted into newborn clothing for precisely 7 days!
0-3 month clothing – we got bought so much of it we didn’t need to buy any!
Most toys – babies don’t show any real interest in toys until about 6 months plus, and even then they are more interested in the things around about them – a wooden spoon and a saucepan can provide hours of entertainment! Plus you will get bought so many toys that you don’t need to go crazy in the toy shop!
Have I missed any eco-friendly baby essentials? Anything you’d add to the list? And is there anything you’d advise new parents against buying? As always do let me know in the comments below!
I'm Wendy and welcome to Moral Fibres, a green lifestyle blog. I believe that sustainable living should be hip, not hippie. Here you'll find all sorts of easy hints and tips here for living a greener life that won't compromise your sense of style. As well as the blog I've also written a book on natural cleaning - Fresh Clean Home is out now! Want to know more? Check out the about page for more information or explore the archives using the category tabs above. Moral Fibres is always free to read. If you want to support the site's running costs you can buy me a coffee. Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org
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