Let me take the strain out of ethical gift-giving, with this big budget-friendly guide to sustainable, zero-waste, plastic-free and eco-friendly gift ideas for Christmas 2023.
Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas is always a tricky job. Add in eco considerations, and it feels like it’s impossible to get right. It’s hard to know if something is truly green, or if you’re being greenwashed.
Whilst you can find some amazing gifts secondhand, or craft some beautiful homemade gifts, the festive season is such a busy time. Not everyone has the time or the ability to source or make the right gifts.
If you’re looking for ethical and eco-friendly gift ideas this Christmas, then don’t worry. Let me make things really easy for you by taking the guessing out of eco-gifting. I have put together a whole host of sustainable gift ideas for this Christmas, that everyone on your list would be delighted to receive – with zero greenwashing.
I know these are tricky times financially, so I’ve done my best to accommodate all budgets. As such, you’ll find ideas from just £2 up to a maximum of £50. I’ve also looked out for discounts to help you get more for your money.
Ethical and Eco-Friendly Gift Guide For Christmas 2023
Whether you are looking for sustainable or ethical Christmas gift ideas for him, for her, or kids, hopefully, I’ve got something for everyone on your list. Use the quick links to navigate to each section or keep scrolling for the full post.
- Ethical Food & Drink Gift Ideas
- Eco-Friendly Beauty & Grooming Gifts
- Sustainable Homeware Gifts
- Zero Waste Gift Ideas
- Eco Books
- Eco-Friendly Clothes & Accessories To Gift
- Eco Gift Ideas For Kids
- Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas For Teens
Ethical Food & Drink Gift Ideas
I always think food makes for a really great eco-friendly gift idea at Christmas – or any time of the year. As such, I’ve put together some of my favourite ethical gift food and drink ideas here. Whether you are looking for a little something for a special someone, a stocking filler idea, or are making up a hamper of ethical goodies, there are a host of my tried-and-tested eco-friendly suggestions:
1. Fairtrade & Plastic-Free Chocolate
For chocolate lovers, Seed & Bean Chocolate (from £2.39 at Ethical Superstore) is the one to go for. The chocolate comes in loads of delicious flavours, like Cornish Sea Salt or Lemon & Cardamom.
The entire Seed & Bean range is also fairtrade, vegan, and certified organic as standard. What’s more, the packaging is fully recyclable and home compostable.
Alternatively, check out my guide to vegan Christmas chocolate for more inspiration.
2. Fairtrade & Plastic-Free Coffee
Percol’s certified organic and fairtrade ground coffee (from £3.80 at Ethical Superstore) makes for a great eco-friendly gift idea this Christmas.
As well as tasting delicious, and being vegan, Percol’s ground coffee packaging is plastic-free and completely home-compostable.
The packaging will naturally decompose as it is derived from a range of natural products such as paper, plant fibres, and eucalyptus wood pulp.
3. Plastic-Free Tea Set
Want to gift some really nice team? Bird & Blend (from £3.50) is the brand to go to. It’s eco-conscious tea tastes so good.
With a variety of enticing flavours, from classic black teas to more unique offerings such as chocolate digestive, bonfire toffee or peppermint cream, there’s something for every taste.
And as well as tasting good, Bird & Blend tea does good. All of its tea is available in loose-leaf format or in plastic-free teabags. Plus all packaging is recyclable or compostable.
My top eco gift pick is this Tea Caddy Gift Set (£28). It contains everything you need to enjoy a tasty plastic-free cup of tea!
Find more plastic-free tea recommendations this way.
4. Beer That Tackles Food Waste
Toast Ale (£25 at Social Supermarket for a case of 12 mixed beers) is an award-winning beer brand with a difference. It makes its delicious beer from leftover loaves of bread, to help tackle the 44% of bread that goes to waste in the UK each year.
By using surplus fresh bread instead of virgin barley, Toast Ale is also reducing the demand for land and water.
Toast Ale also donates a share of its profits to other organisations that want to help stop food waste.
5. Eco-Conscious Wine
Looking to gift a bottle of wine this Christmas? Try Sea Change (from £12.49 at Social Supermarket), a social enterprise leading the way with its range of eco-friendly vegetarian and vegan wines.
Made partially from grape waste, and packaged sustainably – every environmental consideration has been made. This includes removing the unnecessary plastic wrap around the cork and using certified sustainable paper labels.
Every bottle of Sea Change also helps fund ocean conservation projects across the globe.
6. Gin That Gives Back To Charity
For gin that gives back to charity, I really rate Elephant Gin (£29.95 from Master of Malt).
This beautiful-tasting gin is distilled using 14 botanicals. This gives the gin a floral, fruity, and spicy flavour that can be enjoyed both straight and in a cocktail.
What’s more, the company contributes 15% of all profits to two African elephant foundations to support the preservation of African wildlife.
7. Rum That Tackles Food Waste
Rum has also been given the sustainability treatment, thanks to Discarded Spirits (£29.95 from Master of Malt).
Here finishing rum – rum that was originally created to add flavour to empty whisky casks before maturation before being discarded – is used to make this sustainable spirit.
Discarded has also taken the banana peels from flavour houses – which otherwise would have been thrown away – to impart a fruity toffee flavour to the rum. The peel is dried out, fermented, and steeped in alcohol for two weeks, for an intense hit of banana. This makes it a great eco-friendly gift idea for rum lovers this Christmas.
8. Sustainable Alcohol-Free Treats
Everleaf (from £20.45 at Master of Malt) makes sustainably sourced non-alcoholic aperitifs, that make for a sophisticated grown-up treat.
Everleaf focuses on using Fairtrade and organic ingredients, or those linked to conservation or social initiatives.
Plus Everleaf give back – donating a percentage of its profits to Fauna & Flora International, the world’s oldest conservation charity
My favourite is Forest. With a complex blend of citrus and botanicals, it makes for a refreshing alcohol-free alternative to gin.
9. Gift Hampers That Support Social Causes
Social Stories Club (from £36) curate beautiful hampers packed full of products that support different social causes.
This vegan hamper, for example, contains a variety of ethical goodies.
From chocolate that supports farmers in Ghana, to relish made from wonky onions that were rescued from landfill, there are heaps of socially conscious treats included that are a delight to receive.
Find more sustainable hamper recommendations this way.
Eco-Friendly Beauty Gift Ideas
Wanting to indulge someone special? Try these vegan-friendly, eco-friendly, and plastic-free beauty gift ideas:
10. Organic & Vegan-Friendly Moisturiser
A gift set from Evolve (from £20) is a fantastic eco-friendly gift to treat someone special at Christmas.
Each set features a selection of Evolve’s vegan-friendly and cruelty-free products. These are all handmade in England, using organic ingredients, and packaged in glass.
I’m coveting this one for myself, as Evolve Beauty’s daily moisturiser is my very favourite. It performs as well as more expensive moisturisers, plus smells amazing too!
Get 15% off your first order at Evolve when you sign up for its mailing list.
11. Palm Oil Free Soap
Who says toiletries have to be packaged in plastic? Soapdaze (£15.95 from Etsy) makes beautifully scented vegan and palm oil-free soap. This comes with a beautiful hand-knitted facecloth.
The set comes in plastic-free packaging and is also delivered plastic-free, making it the perfect eco-friendly gift idea this Christmas.
These are available in a range of scents and colours, so you can personalise them to your recipient.
12. Palm Oil Free Pampering
Bloomtown (£43.50 from Etsy) specialises in beauty products that are vegan, cruelty-free, and palm-oil-free.
Its beautifully scented products as also free from a host of other nasties, including petrochemicals, sulphates, SLS, and parabens – all packaged in recyclable glass.
Its beautiful gift sets – for him and her – allow you to spoil someone you love with a selection of premium products that you can choose yourself, depending on the recipient’s tastes. Bloomtown will then beautifully wrap it and personalise it with a card.
Sustainable Homeware Gifts
For people that I find hard to buy for, or if I’m looking for eco-friendly gift ideas for couples at Christmas, then I quite often veer towards gifts for the home. From soy candles to incense, and other lux objects that have a pretty but practical function. Here are some of my favourites:
13. Sustainable Soy Candles
Old Man and Magpie (£15 from Etsy) make beautiful smelling sustainable soy candles that look super stylish too.
Made in Manchester using only 100% pure and natural soy wax, alongside phthalate-free essential and fragrance oils, and using cotton wicks, these candles come in beautiful apothecary style and recyclable amber glass jars.
I’ve also got lots more eco-friendly soy candles for you to check out.
14. Vegan-Friendly Reed Diffuser
I love gifting reed diffusers at Christmastime. It’s a practical gift that never goes to waste.
In particular, this pretty reed diffuser by Sandstore (from £12 on Etsy) is available in a wide array of delicious scents. Simply place the natural reed flowers in the glass jar full of vegan-friendly fragrance oil. As the reed flowers soak up the fragrance, it fills any room with a constant warmth and atmosphere.
Do also check out my guide to eco-friendly reed diffusers for more ideas this Christmas.
15. Handmade Incense Burner
I bought myself one of these pretty little handmade incense burner houses from the Piskey LED (on Etsy, from £19.99) store, and it never fails to make me smile every time I walk past it.
Simply place an incense cone inside this sweet little handmade house. Then sit back and watch smoke gently waft from the chimney whilst you enjoy the fragrance of your choice.
16. Ethical Mugs
These pretty mugs (£28 for two) from ethical retailer Nkuku would look great in any kitchen, especially when paired with a bag of plastic-free coffee or plastic-free teabags.
These ceramic mugs are handmade by skilled artisans in Vietnam and China, using a wealth of traditional techniques.
Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for the Nkuku mailing list.
Zero-Waste Present Ideas
When it comes to buying an eco-friendly gift, something you know that they will use time and time again is always a great option. Here are some of my favourite reusable eco-friendly and zero-waste gift ideas this Christmas:
17. Plastic-Free Lunchbox
I have tried a few different metal lunch boxes, and many of them leak. Not this beauty, from Black+Blum (£30 from &Keep), which has a silicone valve creating a secure vacuum-sealed closure. The silicone band also holds a handy stainless steel fork in place.
Handily, it’s oven-safe for heating up food and freezer-safe for storing pre-cooked food. It’s a multi-tasking machine!
Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for the &Keep newsletter.
18. Reusable Metal Food Flask
A food flask is a great addition to a hike or picnic, especially in winter. You can carry hot soup or chilli or stew with you for something warm when you are out in the cold. It really is the eco-friendly gift idea for outdoor lovers that keeps on giving.
This stylish Black+Blum food flask (£31.95 from Natural Collection) flask is BPA-free and will keep food hot for up to six hours. It even comes with a wooden soup spoon for tucking into your food on the go.
19. Plastic-Free Water Bottle
I have tried a few drinks flasks in my time, and my absolute favourite is the Hydro Flask (£28.76 from AlpineTrek). This plastic-free bottle keeps your hot drink piping warm, or your cold drink icy cold for a really long time.
The robust, powder-coated material is BPA-free, environmentally friendly, and easy to care for. I’ve had mine for about eight years now, and there’s not a scratch on it. That’s how durable it is.
Sign up to the Alpinetrek mailing list and get £5 off your next order.
Eco Book Gift Ideas
More than ever, there are now tons of books available to inspire you to live a more sustainable life. Here are just a few of my favourites to give you some sustainable eco-friendly gift inspiration this Christmas.
20. The Garden Apothecary
Becky Cole’s book, The Garden Apothecary, is such a lovely balm for the soul. It’s an informative and visually stunning book full of lovely ideas for transforming flowers, weeds and plants into tasty teas, herbal honey, syrups, and nurturing balms.
The book shows you how to identify, grow and pick botanicals from your garden or forage them, with in-depth information on how to use them in a multitude of recipes and remedies.
Great for cosying up to with a mug of tea in hand!
Find it at Bookshop.org
21. The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2024
Lia Leendertz’s The Almanac is a wonderful seasonal guide to the year ahead.
Divided into twelve months, this gentle book provides practical information about each month ahead.
From sunset and sunrise times for each day, meteor shower dates, beehive behaviour, folklore tales and songs, seasonal recipes, seasonal gardening tips, charts tracking moon phases and tide, and much more, it’s a great book that helps you connect to nature.
It’s such a calming and rhythmic read, and I always come away feeling like I’ve learned something new and useful. It’s such a beautiful book as well – it’s definitely one to keep to hand all year round.
Find it at Bookshop.org
22. Vegan & Vegetarian Cookbook
For anyone new to plant-based eating, or anyone looking to make tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes quickly and energy-efficiently, Rukmini Iyer’s book, The Green Roasting Tin, is an absolute must-have.
Simply pop your ingredients onto a baking tray, pop it in the oven and you’re done! It’s that easy. I love this book so much – I’d go as far as to say that it’s my favourite plant-based cookbook (and I have many!).
There are heaps of easy tasty one-pan dishes to make – including stews, tangines, curries, tarts and gratins. In fact, I’d say that the hardest part is deciding what to cook next from it!
Find The Green Roasting Tin at Bookshop.org
Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas To Wear
Give your loved ones something beautiful but practical to wear with these fun eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas:
23. Sustainable Socks
Add a touch of eco-luxury to your loved one’s sock drawer with a gift box of stylish British-made socks, from ethical socks brand Peper Harow.
Peper Harow’s gift boxes for men and women – including this beautiful gift box for men (£47) – contain three pairs of beautifully presented organic cotton, recycled cotton or Supima cotton socks.
Each pair of Peper Harow socks is made without a toe seam – the thick seam at the end of the socks that can rub on your toes – for incredible comfort.
Peper Harow offers free UK shipping on all orders. Plus get 20% off your first order when you sign up for the mailing list.
Check out my guide to sustainable socks for more sock-based gift ideas.
24. Sustainable Winter Woollies
I bought one of these hand-knitted lambswool hats for myself from That Lovely Weekend (£34 from Etsy) and was blown away by the little box of joy that arrived. I swear, it was so beautifully packaged in plastic-free packaging that I almost didn’t want to open it!
Open it I did though, and this lovely hat has been keeping my head so warm and cosy ever since. I think it would make such a lovely eco-friendly gift idea this Christmas.
Designed and made in Wiltshire using 100% natural fibres, one size fits all. If the hat feels snug to begin with, be assured it will give a little with wear.
25. Belt Made From Recycled Plastic
I bought my partner a Swole Panda belt (£34.95) a couple of years ago, and it’s been a huge hit – worn every single day since.
Each belt is made from a material called REPREVE®. This material is made from recycled plastic bottles recovered from the ocean. In fact, each belt contains the equivalent of 7 plastic bottles that had previously been discarded.
Swole Panda has also partnered with Ocean Generation, an NGO with the mission to stop plastic from reaching our oceans within a generation. With each belt sold, Swole Panda donates 5% of profits to this mission.
26. Organic Cotton Pyjamas
For organic cotton pyjamas, try Haus Of Niya – available on Etsy from £34.99.
Here you’ll find stunning hand-printed organic cotton pyjamas for women in a variety of styles. These are all made sustainably using natural dyes and 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton.
What’s to especially love about Haus of Niya is that it operates a zero-waste policy. All of its designs are cut in such a way as to keep textile waste to an absolute minimum. Any leftover material is then used to make matching hair scrunchies.
For more sustainable sleepwear recommendations for men and women, check out my big guide to sustainable pyjamas.
Kids Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas
Kids are tricky to buy for. I’ve put together a ton of non-gift ideas that might help you out. Otherwise, when buying for other people’s kids I like to keep it to the basics. Think fun clothes, good books, simple toys, or sweet treats. Here are some of my favourite ethical and eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas for kids:
27. Ethical Kids Clothes
Toby Tiger (around £30) makes wonderfully fun and bright 100% certified organic babies and kids clothes, from birth to eight years old.
Specialising in fun patterns and timeless and unisex, designs, these are pieces that can be worn again and again, and then handed down to the siblings or friends when the kids have grown too big for them.
Find pyjamas, sweatshirts and hoodies, trousers, t-shirts and more, all in Toby Tiger’s signature bright colours.
28. Organic Kids Pyjamas
When it comes to buying pyjamas for my kids, or for other people’s kids at Christmas, then I’m a big fan of Frugi.
Frugi ethically makes organic kids’ clothes, for newborns right up to age 10, in fun colours and prints.
All of Frugi’s pyjamas are certified organic by both the Soil Association and the Global Organic Textile Standard, meaning that as well as looking good, this fun sleepwear does good too.
29. Sustainable Wooden Toys
Every Christmas, without fail, my kids always seem to get the most long-lasting enjoyment out of classic games.
I bought them this wooden four-in-a-row game (£19.50 from Kidly) – a sustainable version of the classic game – a couple of years ago, and they still love playing with now.
Completely plastic-free, and made from durable rubberwood, is sure to be a hit with little kids and big kids of all ages!
Use the code KIDLYFIRST to get £5 off your first order at Kidly over £50.
Tidy is a fun environmental book for little kids that isn’t too in your face about it, which I think is a great way to normalise environmentalism.
Pete the badger likes everything to be neat and tidy at all times, but what starts as the collecting of one fallen leaf escalates and ends with the complete destruction of the forest. Will Pete realise the error of his ways and set things right?
This cautionary tale of overenthusiastic neatness delivers its message of environmental preservation with subtlety and humour. This makes for one of those great eco-friendly gift ideas for kids up to around age 6.
Find it on Bookshop.org
31. Nature Trail
Another great book for younger kids is Nature Trail, by the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, and wonderfully illustrated by Nila Aye.
This joyful celebration of nature reminds us all to take a closer look at the world around us, and enjoy the wonder of nature wherever we find it.
Packed with animals and minibeasts galore, this imaginative rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud. I bought this last summer, and have had many a great bedtime since then reading this with my 6-year-old.
Find it at Bookshop.org
32. Incredible Ecosystems Of Planet Earth
Through beautiful illustrations, maps, and infographics, bestselling author Rachel Ignotofsky, explains how our planet works.
From its incredible ecosystems and the plants and animals that live there to the importance of biodiversity, weather cycles, and more, it’s a fun and insightful look at life on Earth.
With additional information on the dangers of climate change and ideas for how to protect planet Earth, this is a great book for kids aged 8 plus this Christmas who are starting to get interested in environmental issues.
Find it on Bookshop.org
33. Plastic-Free Chocolates
Looking for a little eco-friendly something to stuff in a stocking?
These fun Play In Choc boxes (£1.64 from Ethical Superstore) contain two individually wrapped, deliciously creamy, organic, and dairy-free chocolates and a delightful cardboard toy to assemble The toy is one of a series of 18 to collect and also comes with its own fun facts educational info card.
Find more sustainable stocking filler ideas this way.
Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas For Teens
Teens may be tricky to buy for, but I’ve got a few great sustainable selections. Do also check out my post on eco-friendly gift ideas for teens, for more teenager-specific gift ideas.
34. Sustainable Makeup
Zao (from £3.95 at &Keep) makes a superb range of plastic-free and certified cruelty-free makeup and beauty products, that are perfect for teens.
All of its makeup products are 100% natural, vegan, and certified organic by Ecocert, meaning they don’t contain any nasties.
35. Eco Phone Case
These sustainable phone cases from Wave Case (£25) – compatible with iPhone, Samsung and Google handsets – are a great way to protect your phone.
Made from wheat straw, it’s a great plastic-free alternative to standard plastic cases.
There’s zero compromise on performance. Shock-absorbing corners provide protection from accidental drops, while the lip around the case protects the screen and camera.
Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for the Wave Case mailing list.
What Makes A Gift Eco-Friendly?
Whilst I’ve found over 30 eco-friendly gift ideas for all your loved ones this Christmas, you might be wondering what exactly makes a gift sustainable or eco-friendly.
Whilst the word eco-friendly means “not harmful to the environment”, it’s quite a vague statement. There’s no set definition of exactly what properties an eco-friendly product should have. That can make finding green products quite a tricky proposition.
To help shape this guide, I used the following criteria:
I looked for products that are made from renewable and recyclable materials. I’ve avoided plastic where possible and opted for sustainably sourced wood, and easily recyclable materials such as cardboard, recyclable glass and metal.
When it comes to clothing and accessories, I’ve prioritised organic and natural fibres, as well as fabrics made from recycled materials.
And for food and drink products, I prioritised those made from waste products, or using Fairtrade, organic and/or vegan ingredients and using sustainable packaging.
Certifications that you can look for to support these eco claims include Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Recycle Standard (GRS), Soil Association Organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Vegan Society, Cruelty-Free International, and Ecocert International.
I’ve looked at a product’s packaging to help consider just how sustainable a product actually is. Prioritisation has been given to products packaged in compostable or recyclable cardboard packaging, and to brands that minimise single-use plastic.
Supply Chain & Labour Practices
How a product is made is just as important as to what it’s made of or how it is packaged. For this eco-friendly gift guide, I’ve prioritised brands that employ Fairtrade labour practices or ensure that they treat workers fairly.
Finally, to help inform this gift guide I prioritised eco-friendly brands that give back to charity in some way, particularly to environmental and social problems, such as homelessness, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution and more.
Hopefully, this framework helps you to see what goes into making a gift sustainable. This means that even if you didn’t find anything suitable in this guide, you can use it as a framework to help you find the perfect green gift. I will also be adding to this post on a regular basis over the festive period – so do check back soon for more ideas.