November 24, 2021

- 40+ Sustainable Gift Ideas to Buy This Christmas -

Sustainable gift ideas for budget friendly Secret Santas

1. eBooks

Find Your Why, The Book of Gutsy Women, Zero Waste Home books
Find Your Why, The Book of Gutsy Women, Zero Waste Home

eBooks are amazing. They don't use up any resources in making them, and everyone loves a good read for their work commute, or simply to help chill out before bed.

Booktopia has a major selection of the classics, best-sellers, and self-help variety. For example, why not gift someone an eBook on how to make your home more sustainable, or inspire someone with The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Clinton, or Find Your Why by Simon Sinek.

For people with Kindles specifically, check out Amazon.com.au. They also don't need a dedicated eReader to use Kindle, since there is a free app for your phone.

2. Plants

2 plants and a decorative pot
Indoor house plants or herbs with a nice pot are a great gift

Plants are a cute gift for anyone. They can pop a flower pot on their desk to brighten their day, or take a veggie or herb plant home to leave on the kitchen bench or window sill.

Add a beautiful ceramic pot, like any of these, to make it look a bit snazzier and you have yourself a certified, amazing Secret Santa gift!

3. Homemade Food

Home made chop chip cookies and apricot balls
Home made food such as cookies and bliss balls

Everybody loves food. Why not make your own little edible gifts. Like these apricot balls, or these delicious and healthy choc-chip cookies.

Wrap them up in a small produce bag, or a reusable container like these glass ones from Ikea, for an even more amazing gift that looks great, is useful after they've been eaten, and is environmentally friendly.

4. Keep Cup

Keep cups for coffee
For the coffee lover, keep cups made from recyclable material

There's always that one person in the office who asks you if you want to go grab a coffee at least three times a day. Why not gift them a glass keep cup like this one.

I personally also love Frank Green, as the products are recyclable at their end of life. They also stock water bottles and other reusables. To add that extra personal touch, you can also add a monogram of their initials.

5. Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable shopping and produce bags
Grocery and produce bags in all shapes, colours and patterns

With plastic bags at checkouts being slowly banned across the board, reusable shopping bags are becoming more of a necessity than a nice-to-have.

For produce bags that are stylish and useful, try colourful and playful net string bags or these simple sets. Or, if you are after something that can fit a bit more, a canvas bag made from organic materials. You can find so many options in cute prints, too. Check sustainable marketplaces or Etsy for a wide selection.

6. Bees Wax Wraps

Beeswax wraps around bowls and food
Beeswax wraps

This might be a slightly more unusual option, but no less valuable for your produce and leftovers to keep them fresh. This would be perfect for that person you know loves to cook or spend time at the local produce markets.

Pick up a pack, or mix and match. Again, Etsy or marketplaces like Flora and Fauna are perfect starting points and choose a print that suits the receiver's personality.

7. Reusable Straws

Bamboo, metal and silicone reusable straws
Bamboo, metal and silicone straws

There are so many options for reusable straws these days. Plastic straws make up about 4% of plastic waste (per piece), so it's understandable people are looking for alternatives.

Options include bamboo, metal, or silicone versions.

8. Scented Candle

Scented candles made from upcycled bottles
Scented candles

The classic Secret Santa gift. A scented candle is useful in any situation and can come in a huge variety of scents so no matter if you're after something floral, candy, or location scented, you can find it for your Secret Santa.

For an extra level of sustainability for your candle, you can pick up a beeswax or vegan soy candle. This one comes in a reclaimed beer bottle, and smells like candy canes.

9. Coconut Bowls

Coconut bowls and Acai mix
Coconut bowls and Acai blend

Do you have that one person in the office that is always raving about the Acai bowl they had by the beach on the weekend?

I'm finding coconut bowls are becoming more and more popular, and not just for those Acai lovers. They add that level of fun or tropical vibes to a meal or are perfect if you like to eat outside in the sunshine as they are durable too.

Gift a coconut bowl, maybe add an Acai mix, and grant happiness all around!

10. Loose Leaf Tea or Coffee

T2 tea and reusable capsule for coffee
Loose tea leaves and reusable coffee capsules

Did you know that tea bags are not recyclable as they mostly contain plastic (and you are drinking microplastics as a result)? Loose leaf is the perfect solution and is a great gift for that tea-obsessed person in your life.

T2 has a great range of fruity, savory, and spicy teas. There is something to suit everyone. Include a keep cup, as was mentioned earlier, and complete the set.

Not a tea fan? If you're Secret Santa is more of a coffee drinker, why not gift reusable Nespresso pods with certified sustainable coffee?

11. Vegetarian Recipe Book

Veg by Jamie Oliver
Veg - Jamie Oliver

The most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to eat less meat. Gift someone a recipe book full of alternative meat meals. Here is one by Jamie Oliver (so you can't really go wrong).

To go above and beyond, why not add some dry ingredients to the gift to get them started on one of your favourite recipes from the book.

12. Oxfam Charity Cards

Charity cards from Oxfam
Oxfam charity cards

For that Secret Santa that has everything, why not gift them a greeting card that gives back to the less fortunate through the charity organisation, Oxfam.

For example, buying one of these cards can gift a chicken to a farming family, who can eat and sell the eggs it lays, or give clean drinking water to a village to prevent sickness from drinking polluted rivers or in the event of a disaster.

Sustainable gift ideas for Her

1. Experiences for Her

High tea food and champagne
High tea is a great experience

Experiences are absolutely my favourite way to gift something special. It can be personal, exciting, and something you can do together.

Why not go on a wine tasting tour, have a luxurious high-tea, dinner at sunset, or go on a weekend staycation at a nice hotel (check out my review of a staycation at the Shangri-La Sydney).

My favourite experience sites are Redballoon, ExperienceOz, and Adrenaline.

2. Gratitude or goal-setting journal

The Gratitude Journal Co is not only beautiful, but mindful and thoughtful too

This gift could be the most thoughtful and beautiful item you could give your loved ones. The absolute favourite one that I've used is from The Gratitude Journal Co, which is all sustainably Australian owned and made. It comes in a beautifully wrapped package with a wax seal and dried flowers for that extra delicate and wow-factor touch.

Use code 'TWILLI10' for a discount.

3. Massage, Facial or Nails

A woman getting massaged
A spa day can be rejuvenating

This is my go-to gift for my mum and sisters. I mix it up between any kind of spa treatment but who doesn't love a good massage or facial?

Depending on your budget, you can opt for a foot massage or full body massage. Or a rejuvenating and relaxing facial is bound to satisfy even the pickiest of women. Why not make it a girl's day and join them for the experience?

4. Handbags, totes, and purses

Anew Atelier makes all vegan, plastic-free, timeless bags, pouches, and more.

Anew Atelier is an Australian vegan fashion and accessories brand for those passionate about adventure, smart design, and a sustainable, ethical lifestyle. Their style is effortless and timeless, with everything from work-appropriate 'leather' handbags, to casual beach totes and everything in between. There is something for everyone.

Use code 'BLACKFRIDAY30' for 30% during the Black Friday season, or 'ANEWFRIENDS10' for 10% off all year round.

All of their bags are made from sustainable materials, including apple peel leather. They are completely plastic-free, even in the packaging, and are 100% carbon neutral.

5. eBooks

The Handmaid's Tale, Bossypants and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck books
The Handmaid's Tale, Bossypants, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

I know I've already gone through eBooks in the Secret Santa section, but I love to give the gift of a good story and especially in the self improvement and empowerment area.

For example, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, Bossypants by Tina Fey or The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. All are perfect options for the strong woman in your life!

6. Sustainable Swimwear

For the Dreamers sustainable swimwear one piece suits
A selection of swimwear from For the Dreamers

I'm loving that sustainable swimwear is becoming more and more popular over the last couple of years. Some are made from recycled plastic, some are organic (use less water and resources).

Some of my favourite brands include Vitamin A and For the Dreamers.

7. Sustainable Activewear

Sustainable activewear bra, tights and shorts from Team Timbuktu
Team Timbuktu sustainable activewear

Along the same line as sustainable swimwear, why not give some eco-friendly activewear (or a voucher for them) to the gym junkie in your life.

Some brands to look at include Team Timbuktu and Girlfriend Collective.

8. Knitting Kit

Knitting kit for scarf, knitting kit for a shawl
Wool & the Gang knitting kit

Arts & crafts are a fantastic way for creative people to relax, reset, and learn a new skill. I love the Wool & the Gang knitting kits for this exact reason.

They have kits for beginners, like scarves and blankets, all the way through to the more advanced crochet pieces, like jumpers and more.

9. Handcrafted Jewellery

Luna & Rose jewellery
Luna & Rose - sustainable jewellery

Instead of the cheap, plastic jewellery that will fall apart in a few months, take the time and money to invest in a beautiful, custom piece made by local artists.

Why not have a look at these recycled tyres made into different shaped pieces.

Luna & Rose also makes beautiful gold and silver jewellery from recycled materials and with sustainable and ethical practices.

Sustainable gift ideas for Him

1. Experiences for Him

2 people indoor skydiving at iFly
Indoor Skydiving

Men are some of the worst people to buy for, I never know what to get! But with an experience, you can't go wrong. There's everything from go-karting to indoor skydiving.

If your man is a little less of an adrenaline junkie, there's always a walking ghost tour, or a whisky tasting masterclass.

Have a look on Redballoon, ExperienceOz, and Adrenaline.

2. Bottle of Spirits

3 bottles of Game of Thrones themed whisky
Game of Thrones themed Whisky

Continuing on from the whisky train of thought, a really good bottle of alcohol is perfect for celebrating a special occasion.

You can go to your local bottle shop and pick up anything from a $50 bottle to a $300+ bottle of spirits. Or if you're guy is obsessed with certain shows or cultures, then find something specific for that. For example, Johnny Walker has a limited edition range out just for Game of Thrones fans.

3. Eco luggage

Backpack and 2 different types of spinner suitcases
Backpacks, duffles and spinner suitcases - made from recycled material

This is a great gift for any travel-loving person, not just for men, but I'm so glad that eco luggage is now a thing!

The best ones I've come across are Kathmandu and Patagonia. Or for the more luxurious spinner suitcases, there is the Samsonite Eco range.

For a smaller, everyday option, there is always the Fjallraven backpack range - perfect for work, local hikes, or travel.

4. Sustainable material sneakers

High tops, low cut and slip on shoes for men
Etiko sneakers

Etiko is one of my favourite sneaker brands. They make converse-style shoes including hitops, lowcuts and slip ons in cool colours.

Etiko is founded on the principles that everything they make is made ethically, sustainably, and conscientiously for animals, people, and the environment.

I've also recently discovered All Birds, which uses all-natural materials and the supply chain is all sustainable and ethical, too. I have been wearing my Tree Skippers for days and they are so comfortable and stylish.

5. Recycled material towel & board shorts

blue beach towel and striped swim shorts
Turkish beach towel and board shorts made from recycled material

Dock & Bay has a great range of sand-free beach towels and swim shorts that are made from 100% recycled materials.

Or maybe try an organic cotton Turkish towel. I love these as they are lightweight and quick-drying, and come in some really nice patterns and colours, like these ones from Aegean Loom.

6. Pela Case - Compostable Phone Cover

3 phone cases for iPhone 11 Max Pro with different colours
Pela biodegradable phone cases

Pela cases are 100% compostable and are super protective while still being soft and looking great. They also stock sunglasses and other accessories.

The more amazing thing about this company is that they run campaigns where their profits from certain cases go towards a good cause. For example, their yellow bee case contributes towards saving the bees and our planet!

7. Will & Bear Hat

Wide brimmed and bucket hat with baseball cap.
Will & Bear hats - plant 10 trees for every hat sold

I love Will & Bear hats. They fit well, are sustainably made, and they plant 10 trees with every purchase! They have wide-brimmed hats, caps, or even straw hats and beanies, depending on the season.

Their hats are technically unisex, too, so you can get one for anyone that needs protection from the sun (aka everyone).

8. Recycled material wallet

Black and blue wallet made from recycled inner tube
Wallet made from recycled bike tyres

Who knew inner tubes from bikes could be so useful? These wallets are made from recycled rubber material and are made to last.

You can also source them on Etsy, one of the best places to shop from local and international artists. These kinds of wallets can come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. So there's no excuse - there's something for everyone!

Sustainable gift ideas for Babies and Toddlers

1. Sustainable Baby Clothing

Christmas themed baby clothes in red and white
Baby clothes from PureBaby

Baby clothes are cute and so versatile. Everyone wants to give their baby the best there is, which includes dressing them in sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, bamboo and more.

Some of my favourite brands to gift include Boody, Purebaby, and New Zealand's Nature Baby.

2. Wooden/Bamboo Toys

Wooden baby toys, puzzles and games
Beautifully crafted wooden toys

With a little nephew and niece to buy for, I've recently become obsessed with eco and wooden toys as substitutes to the harmful plastic ones you find in most stores.

Little Earth Nest has beautiful organic rubber and fabric toys, as well as wooden puzzles, rollers, and games to suit any toddler.

3. Dummy (& Chain) or Teethers

Rubber dummy with blue and wood dummy chain
Natural rubber dummy and dummy chain

Even dummies can come in eco-friendly options these days. Here are some natural rubber versions from Flora & Fauna.

Also, why not gift these with a beautiful dummy chain to spruce it up a little. Here are some from Eco Child that goes perfectly with their natural rubber dummies.

4. Reusable Cloth Nappies

reusable, cloth nappies in black spot and purple
Reusable nappies

Regular, throw-away plastic nappies are harmful to the environment and are a money sucker. It's estimated 3.75 million disposable nappies are used each day in Australia and New Zealand, on average taking 150 years to break down. Wow.

Try a reusable cloth nappy, like this cute adjustable one. Depending on the brand, they come in a range of colours and patterns. And you can even buy reusable swim nappies for that perfect Summer splash.

5. Organic or Recycled Material Muslin Wraps

Harry potter and floral themed muslin wraps
Aden + Anais has Harry Potter wraps and floral design wraps + more

I've been told you can never have enough muslin wraps for your baby. They are a great way to bring some personality into a gift with beautiful colours and prints.

My favourite ones to buy were from Aden + Anais and Flora & Fauna also stock some beautiful prints that are all organic and sustainable.

6. Photography Session

A sleeping baby dressed as a bear for a photography shoot
Photography sessions are a great gift that last a lifetime

If you aren't sure what to buy for the parent that seems to have all bases covered, you can't go wrong with a photography session. Besides, iPhone photos uploaded to Facebook are just the start. You can never have enough precious moments captured on camera, and even better when done by a professional!

7. Free Baby sitting

Example of a baby sitting coupon
Create your own vouchers for baby sitting

This is one gift I've given multiple times and every time was a hit! It's cheap and easy to do, and gives you quality time with the little ones to cement yourself as the favourite aunt or uncle 😉

New parents are always thankful when they can have a night off to enjoy themselves. Maybe go on a date like the old days, or just sit at home with a good book and a movie that doesn't involve animated characters.

Make up some beautiful voucher booklets on seeded paper to make it extra special. Canva is a great place to start with designing your own little cards.

Sustainable gift ideas for Kids

1. Experiences for Kids

Chocolate with different toppings on a baking tray
Chocolate making class is great for kids and parents

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love gifting experiences. And there's even some for kids, too.

For example, in Sydney, why not get them entry tickets to the Sea Life Aquarium or Taronga Zoo. If you want to include the parents, there's always a Parent & Child Chocolate making class. Yum!

2. Sustainable Kids Clothing

3 examples of dresses and overalls for young girls
Girl's clothing from Arnhem and Slow Threads

As kids grow, new clothes come and go and there's nothing we can do about that. But by buying sustainable alternatives, thrift shopping and reusing old clothes, we can help an otherwise fast fashion cycle.

Here are some sustainable outfits for kids from Thread Harvest. Slow Threads also stocks multiple brands, catering for kids of all ages.

I also love Arnhem Clothing, a brand hailing from Byron Bay (the sustainable capital of Australia). Their kid's clothes are so cute and are identical to adult styles, so you can match!

3. Card and Board Games

Gardenopoly, a board game based on Monopoly
Garden-opoly

Card and board games are a great way to get the family together, and even teach kids something new while having fun.

One board game I'm wanting to try is Garden-opoly. Based on the classic Monopoly, kids actually buy garden favourites, collect clay pots and trade them in for greenhouses.

These playing cards are also biodegradable, and you can play so many games with them depending on the age and competitive spirit of the kids.

4. Recycled Material Sunglasses

Red and white sunglasses for kids
Sustainable sunglasses

Cool kids wear sustainable sunglasses. This is a great option to pair with some swimmers and a towel to complete the summer package. Little Soek is a great brand with colourful designs for kids.

5. Grow Your Own Pot Plant

A potted plant with a face
Pothead - grow your own plant

Who didn't love growing their own pot head when they were a kid? Pass this awesome learning experience onto the kids in your life now. It doesn't have to be a pot head, though. You can gift flowers, herbs or full on trees that can grow with the kids for years to come.

Some marketplaces and stores also sell full gardening kits aimed at kids.

6. Colouring Book with Sustainable Pencils/Crayons

Colouring book with coloured pencils
Colouring book and Sprout pencils that grow!

A nice, quiet gift for kids is colouring books. You can find some for all skill levels (such as whether they can colour within the lines yet.)

Gift a book or two with some sustainable pencils or crayons for a complete gift. These Sprout Pencils can be buried in soil when you're done with them and then watch them grow into different plants!

7. Sustainable Pencil Cases

A pencil case made from an old Skittles packet
Pencil case made from recycled candy wrappers

Following on from the pencil and creativity thought, why not gift them in a pencil case made from recycled materials.

Etsy is full of them and you can find materials such as recycled plastic, leaves, leather, and even upcycled food containers.

8. Reusable Water Bottle

A steel water bottle with a spaceship on it. A pink water bottle with rabbit design.
Resuable water bottles from Biome and Flora & Fauna

This is an absolute classic and a good one. Teach your kids the importance of saying no to single-use plastic by gifting them a reusable water bottle. There are so many out there, for all different uses and situations.

You can get ones shaped like animals, ones with straps so they aren't so easy to lose, stainless steel ones, ones with cute patterns, and ones that tell them how much they should be drinking. You can even get them personalised.

Two of the best sites to browse include Flora & Fauna and Biome. Etsy is also, yet again, a great place to support local artists while shopping.

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