The Ultimate Ethical Christmas Gift Guide

ethical Christmas gift guide 2015 gifts that give back Christmas present ideas for her Christmas gift ideas for him what to get your girlfriend for Christmas what to get your boyfriend for Christmas conscious consumerism

Want to make your gifts go a little further this year? We know it’s hard to find the time during this busy season to research the ideal positive impact gift options around for your friends and families, so we’ve rounded up all of our favourite ideas for gifts that give back for everyone. Whether you’re shopping for men, women, or children, in the USA or the UK, we have got you covered. We hope we can save you some time – and that you can use it relaxing with some mulled wine and mince pies with your loved ones!

Here’s to a happy and cosy Christmas season, friends.

ethical Christmas gift guide 2015 gifts that give back Christmas present ideas for her Christmas gift ideas for him what to get your girlfriend for Christmas what to get your boyfriend for Christmas conscious consumerism gift ideas for women gift ideas for men gift ideas for children and babies1. Phone case by CSERA, $25 (also available in the UK)

CSERA is an environmentally friendly brand based in Turkey making beautiful phone cover designs from 100% recycled plastic and environmentally safe inks. Their cases are suitable for iPhones and Samsung Galaxies. CSERA are also active advocates for the end of sweatshop labour, and use recycled materials in their beautiful packaging, making this the perfect gift for any ethics-conscious tech lover.

2. Bangle by Refuge, $20

These hand crafted fairly traded bangles are a great way to show support for education over war, and you’ll be empowering refugees with each purchase. Refuge donate a percentage of each purchase to UNICEF to increase the availability of education in refugee camps, especially to child refugees. Currently only 2% of relief funds are used for education, and Refuge believe that education can be a powerful tool in breaking the cycle of war. The ideal gift for a friend who wears her heart on her sleeve (literally).

3. Clutch bag by The Tote Project, $17.50

This beautiful clutch bag has a similarly beautiful story: The Tote Project’s mission is to fight modern day slavery by supporting “women who have made the choice to journey out of the sex trade and into freedom.” Their bags are fairly traded, made from organic cotton and recycled sari in India, and 20% of the proceeds from every purchase of this particular bag (handmade by rescued victims of trafficking) is donated to Two Wings, a non-profit that uses education, mentoring, and life coaching to empower at risk youth and survivors of sex trafficking.

4. Brass earrings by Jimani, $20

We love these beautiful embossed brass earrings, and the fact that they were handcrafted by women in Kenya on a unique training program with a non-profit organisation to develop skills designed to empower them and their communities. The perfect boho-chic accessory for a conscious style lover.

5. Journal by Bloom Lovely, $16.95

Bloom Lovely is a movement founded to inspire women to grow in their sense of dignity and self-worth. Made from 100% recycled paper, hand designed and crafted by local American artisans, each journal contains quotes and questions to aid daily reflection. A perfect gift for someone who loves to write and be intentional about keeping a journal.

6. Frankincense and myrrh lotion by Sunshine Garden, $18

You can’t get more seasonal than this lovely limited edition wintertime body lotion. Made in small batches by hand using organic certified natural ingredients and sold in an 8oz amber glass bottle with a pump, it has a deliciously warming scent and is perfect for moisturising skin during the colder months.

7. Shoes by Sseko, $109.99

These beautiful vintage-look distressed gold leather loafers were made in Ethiopia and support the raising of funds to send talented Ugandan women to university, supporting the East African economy as well as empowering women with Sseko scholarships. As well as providing local employment, Sseko have sent 60 women to university to date with the money raised through their program. These are shoes you can feel good about, on so many different levels.

8. Box of cookies by Give Baking a Difference, $34.95

What could be better for a die-hard sweet tooth than a box of delicious cookies made from fair trade, organic, and locally sourced ingredients that also give 15% back to the charity of your choice? These cookies can be shipped anywhere in the contiguous United States by priority mail the same day they were baked.

ethical Christmas gift guide 2015 gifts that give back Christmas present ideas for her Christmas gift ideas for him what to get your girlfriend for Christmas what to get your boyfriend for Christmas conscious consumerism gift ideas for women gift ideas for men gift ideas for children and babies1. Earbuds by LSTN, $49.99

This is such an awesome present you’ll hardly be able to wait till Christmas morning to see his face when he opens it. Not only are these classy looking earbud headphones made from real reclaimed wood, they also help restore and protect the hearing of people around the world through a partnership with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Style meets function meets positive impact.

2. Bowtie by Peace Exchange, $29

Every gentlemen could use a funky print bowtie in his collection, and these are fairly traded and handcrafted by female artisans in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which means that they’re a cut above the rest. Perfect for a dapper ethics-conscious loved one.

3. Sparking wine by ONEHOPE, $18.99

’Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way of celebrating with family and friends than with a bottle of California brut sparkling wine? Every case of wine sold by ONEHOPE provides 25 meals to a child in need through the ONEHOPE Foundation. We’ll drink to that! (Do check whether your State laws allow this purchase to avoid disappointment.)

4. Soap by Kopa Kauai, $10

This soap was handmade in Hawaii and is stuffed full of goodness. Containing sea salt, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, mango butter, and a blend of essential oils, this soap is perfect for a refreshing moisturising scrub in the shower because it doesn’t go as soft as other traditional soap bars and therefore last longer (which is down to the sea salt, apparently). A great stocking stuffer for a gentleman who scrubs up well.

5. Photobook by Artifact Uprising, from $17.99

Here’s a clever idea of a gift for any photography lover you may know: Artifact Uprising print the most beautiful Instagram friendly photo books on 100% recycled paper, made in the USA with the utmost attention to detail and quality. You can link your Instagram account up to their website and make a photo book of memories in no time at all – or, if you’d rather, you can give a lucky someone a voucher and let them make up a photo book using their own photographs.

6. Belt by Mission Belt Co., $34.95

A dollar from every belt Mission Belt Co. sells goes to the responsible micro-loan company, Kiva, which helps people in developing countries who have businesses but need the capital to get started. By giving people small loans with tangible goals they are helping to fight poverty and economic inequality around the world. Every guy needs a belt, right? Why not get him one that has a social mission, too?

7. Sweater by Slumlove, $85

You can’t go wrong with a classic navy v-neck, and this flattering design is not only providing a living wage for the women who made it in Nairobi, Kenya, it is also contributing to Slumlove’s project to provide funds for high school scholarships to children living in one of the world’s largest slums.

8. Backpack by Everlane, $68

This sturdy and stylish backpack has a padded interior section for a laptop and made by Everlane, one of our all-time favourite ethical fashion brands. With a great range of stylish modern basics, Everlane is committed to a model of radical transparency; every product on their website tells you exactly where the item was made and how it was priced, revealing the price of the materials, the wages the labourers were paid, how much transport cost, and so on. Ideal for a modern man on the go.

ethical Christmas gift guide 2015 gifts that give back Christmas present ideas for her Christmas gift ideas for him what to get your girlfriend for Christmas what to get your boyfriend for Christmas conscious consumerism gift ideas for women gift ideas for men gift ideas for children and babies1. Bunny slippers by Uncommon Goods, $32

Keep little toes warm this Christmas with these awesome hand crafted felt bunny slippers made in Illinois, USA, using recycled fabrics turned into new felt yarn. These warm, comfy animal slippers come a in a big range of styles, so whether the little person you’re giving them is into giraffes, penguins, ladybirds, whales, bunnies, or something else, there’s bound to be a pair they’ll love.

2. Cuddly bear gift box by The Little Market, $55

This is a lovely gift box set of two bears and some chocolate gold coins, perfect for any little one who loves to snuggle. These fairly traded bears were hand-knitted in soft alpaca yarn by female artisans in Peru. The Little Market builds sustainable partnerships with artisans around the world, connecting them with customers through an online marketplace and helping them to rise above poverty and support their families.

3. Hidden animal training cup by jj rabbit, $7.49

With two easy-to-grasp handles, this training cup is not only super handy for parents trying to teach a toddler to drink (which is harder than it sounds, people!), it is also a lot of fun. Each cup has a different animal at the bottom which is revealed as the child drinks. Made from plant-based plastic, this cup is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and recyclable. The brand who makes them, jj rabbit, is committed to innovating sustainable materials and practices, making this a perfect gift for a little one with eco-conscious parents.

4. Onesie by MiniandMeep, $24.99

These adorable onesies are 100% USA made, using organic cotton grown in the United States and printed in lots of sweet designs using eco-friendly water-based inks. Not only that, but 20% of profits provide children around the world with clean drinking water and nutrition through donations to UNICEF. You’re never too young to start on ethical fashion!

ethical Christmas gift guide 2015 gifts that give back Christmas present ideas for her Christmas gift ideas for him what to get your girlfriend for Christmas what to get your boyfriend for Christmas conscious consumerism gift ideas for women gift ideas for men gift ideas for children and babies1. Candle by Dalit Goods Co., £6

Now here’s a great stocking stuffer idea: all Dalit Goods products support the work of Life Association – a charity founded to help provide education, opportunities and safe living environments for Indian street children and their families. Handmade by Dalit communities in Mumbai, these blended beeswax candles come in elegant clay pots inspired by traditional Indian vase shapes, and are named after children who have benefitted from Life Association’s projects. The Deepti Candle is available in either coconut, or lavender with a hint of vanilla.

2. Purse by Sail, £41

Individually crafted in a small Derbyshire workshop using traditional techniques, these beautiful envelope purses are made from high quality vegetable-tanned leather and are hand sewn with military-graded 1960’s Barbour linen thread. Available in two sizes and a range of natural shades, this purse is the perfect gift for anyone who values timeless style and traditional craftsmanship.

3. Patchouli hand and body wash by Of Woodstock, £14-£15.50

This delicious-smelling body and hand wash is crafted in small batches in a converted straw mill in the Cotswolds by artisanal natural soap company Of Woodstock. Containing an invigorating blend of organic essential oils with patchouli, ginger, and mandarin, it creates a lovely spicy lather that’s great for energising and stimulating your senses in the morning and leaving your skin feeling soft and clean – without any harsh chemicals. What’s more, Of Woodstock offer a beautiful gift wrapping service, making life a little bit easier at this busy time of year.

4. Umbrella necklace by Just Trade and the Flowering Desert Project, £25

These beautiful textured brass necklaces are handmade in Tamil Nadu, southern India, as part of the Flowering Desert Project – an initiative that seeks to support and empower local women through the provision of training and fairly paid employment opportunities.

5. Earrings by Illyria Pottery, £15

Made by imprinting the textures of vintage buttons onto delicate porcelain clay, these beautiful earrings are individually handcrafted in Oxford, England, by Illyria Pottery’s Katie Coston. We adore their gorgeous minty-green glaze and the simplicity of their spiralling pattern, which reminds us of fragrant roses, treasured fossils, and cosy balls of yarn.

6. Dark chocolate hamper by Seed and Bean, £35

Seed and Bean is the only fairly-traded, organic chocolate company to be awarded 100% ethical accreditation from The Ethical Company Organisation, scoring top marks in every category of comparison – and what’s more, the end product is the best we’ve ever tasted. Why not treat your loved ones to a whole hamper full of chocolatey goodness?

7. Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, £9.25

Almost ten years ago, Blake Mycoskie set out to prove that good deeds can also mean good business. This wonderful book documents the founding of TOMS and its pioneering One for One giving model, and will leave you wanting to change the world one (TOMS-clad) step at a time. For every copy purchased, Random House provides a new book to a child in need as part of the One for One initiative – and what’s more, by following our link you can purchase yours through Hive, a website that directs all its sales through local independent UK bookshops. Give this to an entrepreneurial friend to inspire them this Christmas.

8. Napkins by bennettandbates, £26.50

Ethically produced in India and printed with non-toxic azo-free inks on 100% organic and fairly traded cotton, these napkins by bennettandbates are perfect in every way. They come beautifully packaged in sets of four and are available in a variety of different designs – we particularly love the striking Thaksin Geo print. An ideal gift for a hostess with the mostess.

ethical Christmas gift guide 2015 gifts that give back Christmas present ideas for her Christmas gift ideas for him what to get your girlfriend for Christmas what to get your boyfriend for Christmas conscious consumerism gift ideas for women gift ideas for men gift ideas for children and babies

1. Bowtie by Korβáta, £29

Through the production of its ties and bowties, Korβáta seeks to convey the rich history and heritage of the Mayan people and to preserve Guatemala’s long-standing textile traditions. Hand-woven by Mayan women in limited edition runs, each item differs slightly and is therefore completely unique.

2. Belt by Sail, £49

The Sail men’s worker belt is a fine example of British craftsmanship in every respect, with the cutting, dying and stitching having all been done by hand. A classic design made from heavy duty vegetable-tanned leather and sewn with hand-waxed Irish linen thread, it’s available in a range of sizes in either Black or Antique Brown and with a choice of buckles.

3. Bike socks by Braintree, £4.90

Braintree has been a championing eco fibres since the company was founded in the 1990s. The fabrics used for their products are naturally soft and breathable, and are always sourced and produced in a sustainable and socially responsible way. These bamboo and organic cotton socks, with their quirky bicycle design, are the perfect treat for peddle-loving feet!

4. Set of three notebooks by Calepino, 9€

This chic set of three pocket-sized notebooks is a perfect gift for an ideas guy who is always in need of something on which to scribble down notes and sketches. Made in France using white unlined 100% recycled and FSC certified paper and printed with vegetable inks, these little notebooks were designed to be an ideal travel companion with their rounded corners and robust covers.

5. Double-handled Kuksa, Objects of Use, £47.50

Hand-carved, salted and cured in Finnish Lapland, these beautiful birch burl cups are the traditional drinking vessel of the indigenous Sami people of Scandinavia. With better insulating properties than porcelain or enamel, kuksas can be used for hot drinks as well as cold – making them perfect for mulled wine and warming stews.The ultimate camping mug for your favourite outdoorsman.

6. ‘A Weekend in the Woods’ spoon carving weekend by Hatchet+Bear, £250

Trained in the arts of both arboriculture and product design, EJ Osborne is the creative talent behind Hatchet+Bear. Known for using unusual and difficult sections from storm damaged trees, EJ uses simple tools and traditional methods to turn locally foraged wood and raw materials into products that withstand the test of time, increasing in beauty with age and use. The Weekend in the Woods offers the chance to spend two days camping amongst the trees, learning the craft of spoon carving from EJ herself and sampling the delights of woodland life. Dates for the rest of this year are currently sold out, but details of the 2016 classes are due to be released very soon at

7. Lumberjack t-shirt by Rapanui, £19

“Wear your axe with pride and remember, like all things in life, cut one – plant two.” This is the message behind the Lumberjack t-shirt by Rapanui, a British eco-clothing brand based on the Isle of Wight that puts sustainability at the heart of everything it does. With an award-winning ‘seed to shop’ approach to supply chain transparency, Rapanui creates a traceability map for each of its products that allows customers to follow every single stage of the production process. The brand has also created its own eco label system, which gives products A-E ratings according to their green and ethical qualities. The company are currently working with MEPs to make these labels a legal requirement across the fashion industry. And if all that wasn’t enough, once your Rapanui garment has reached the end of its usable life, you can send it back free of charge for recycling and receive £5 store credit to put towards your next awesome purchase. Made from 100% organic cotton in an ethically accredited wind-powered factory, and available in a range of bold colours, the Lumberjack t-shirt is a great gift for any man who loves to spend his days in the woods.

8. Sweatshirt by WDN Collective, £40

Established in 2013, Cornish company ‘We Do Nothing’ collaborates with illustrators, designers, photographers and athletes to bring their creative, earth-positive clothing ideas to life. Produced in Tamil Nadu, India, the Mountain Sweatshirt is cut and sewn from organic, rain-fed cotton in a factory that has not only been independently audited by the Fair Wear Foundation, but is also powered entirely by renewable energy. Longer in length for a cosy and casual fit, the sweater’s light weight makes it suitable for wearing all year round: use it to layer-up in winter, or sport it solo in summer.

ethical Christmas gift guide 2015 gifts that give back Christmas present ideas for her Christmas gift ideas for him what to get your girlfriend for Christmas what to get your boyfriend for Christmas conscious consumerism gift ideas for women gift ideas for men gift ideas for children and babies1. Wooden building blocks, Objects of Use, £18.50-£36.50

This all-natural substitute for Lego is made in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, using the remnants of local wood that has been felled for use in building projects or the crafting of furniture. Featuring a variety of woods (Japanese cherry, Japanese big-leaf magnolia, maple, birch, hornbeam and Japanese zelkova), the blocks are available in sets of 24 or 48 and come with a cotton towel printed with tree names in both Japanese and English.

2. Giraffe glove puppet by Wildly Woolly, £14.95

Wildly Woolly toys are crafted by the ladies of Kenana Knitters, a project that supports over 500 women in Kenya by providing a source of income that enables a better quality of life. Made from 100% natural wool that’s dyed by hand using plant-based pigments, and featuring each knitter’s name on the label, these sweet traditional toys are designed to be loved for life.

3. Dungarees by Little Green Radicals, £26

Give your little one the gift of magical castles, moons and stars this Christmas with these festive dungarees by Little Green Radicals. Sized to fit over both cloth and regular nappies alike, and suitable for girls or boys, they’re produced by a small team of makers in India using super-soft 100% organic Fairtrade cotton canvas. LGR was one of the first brands in the UK to receive Fairtrade certification for its cotton products back in 2005, and remains committed to maintaining the highest ethical and environmental standards.

4. Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby, Boswells, £4.99

Although we wouldn’t usually recommend purchasing items manufactured by giant corporations such as TY, we’re making an exception for this special edition Beanie Baby that’s been produced in memory of Cecil the Southwest African lion, who was infamously shot for sport by a recreational big game hunter earlier this year. 100% of the profits from the sale of this cuddly companion are going to WildCRU – Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, which was tracking Cecil as part of a study until his death.

If you need any more gift inspiration, do check out the products in our different sections – there are so many great ethical brands, it was hard to narrow down to this small list. Wishing you a very happy Christmas season, with love from the A Better Place Journal team! xo

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