Sustainable Christmas gift guide

As it is now officially December (although in my head it’s been December for many months – I’m a bit Christmas-mad), it is socially acceptable to mention the C word… I am sure many of you have thought about, made a start on or maybe even finished your Christmas shopping. Do not fret if you have not even considered what you’re going to get anyone, I have compiled a list of ways to gift whilst keeping sustainability in mind. In this post I cover: second hand, gifting them what they want, homemade presents, experiences, gifting your time, consumables and finally buying sustainably.

As always, I hope you enjoy this blog post and please feel free to leave any comments with any thoughts or tips you have!

Second hand

I have spoken a lot on this blog about purchasing second hand – particularly with regards to clothing – both on Depop and using charity shops.

There is no reason why gifts can’t be second hand too. I will always try to buy presents second hand where possible – either by seeing something in a charity shop I know the person would love, or if I have something specific in mind I will search sites such as Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, Trash Nothing app, Depop, etc. A personal favourite of mine is World of Books for good quality and priced second hand books.

Second hand presents are far more sustainable as the item is already in existence and so very little additional resources have been used for the present, plus they are usually much cheaper.

Ask them what they want

Telling your loved ones what you want for Christmas can feel uncomfortable. I don’t particularly like doing it as it can feel greedy and assuming, but I do it anyway as I feel its the best way to avoid waste. Likewise, if I am struggling for what to get someone for Christmas I ask them if there’s anything they want. This way you can guarantee you are gifting something that the receiver wants and will use!


I am a huge fan of homemade gifts – both giving and receiving. There is more thought and effort behind them. Some examples of gifts I have made in the past include:

  • Paintings
  • Candles
  • Photos or collages of either myself and the receiver or someone they love in a frame – preferably second hand!
  • Christmas decorations

The added bonus of homemade gifts is that they are usually significantly cheaper – something we could all do with right now.


I personally think that one of the best gifts is an experience gift – memories are priceless. Even better if it is something you can enjoy together, so both giver and receiver can enjoy the gift of quality time spent together.

Some examples of ones I have gifted in the past include:

  • a local comedy club
  • theatre tickets
  • gin making
  • concerts
  • punting
  • restaurant vouchers
  • afternoon tea
  • a weekend away

Some I have received include:

  • concerts
  • theatre tickets
  • pottery painting – one of my favourite gifts ever
  • book tour tickets – I wrote about the experience here

The gift of time

There is a reason why quality time is one of the five love languages – spending time with those you love is a win-win and something which we can struggle to do enough of in our everyday, busy lives and clashing schedules. There are lots of ways you can gift your time including:

  • cook them their favourite meal
  • offering up your skills – for example if you are skilled at DIY (not me!), then perhaps you could offer to fix something in their house for them
  • baby sit if they have children – maybe the best gift you could give to tired parents
  • pet sit if they have pets
  • take them to their favourite restaurant
  • go to the cinema together
  • go for a walk together


Gifting consumables is a great way to reduce waste. These could be homemade or store bought. Why not buy them their favourite bottle of wine, favourite chocolates or a food hamper? Consumables can include non-edibles such as toiletries. This is a lovely opportunity to gift someone something they love, but maybe a version that they wouldn’t usually buy themselves, such as a fancier or higher end product.

Homemade consumables are even better in my opinion. My dad makes his own sloe gin every Christmas and I love it. I have specifically requested a bottle from Santa this year and I am very much looking forward to it. If you’re a good baker, why not bake them some cookies – if you make jam, homemade jam is always a lovely condiment to receive.

Shop Sustainainably

If you are buying someone a physical new gift, a good place to start is sustainable shops and websites. These can be more expensive so may not be affordable for everyone which is absolutely fine.

I have personally used Wearth London in the past, they sell a range of gifts including cosmetics, home items such as candles and furniture and recipe gift boxes.

Please find below some other sustainable shops to try:

Supporting small businesses rather than large corporations is generally more sustainable and ethical. A great place to start is on Etsy. I find the items are always unique, thoughtful and tend to be sustainable.

I would love to hear from you if you have any sustainable gifting ideas, tips or stories.



  1. Too late I drank it all


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