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The Ethical Christmas Gift Guide 2020 

Nothing beats the festive feeling of walking around a Christmas market. Sadly, that can’t happen this year so we’ve put together our very own virtual midwinter market instead. You can take your time browsing with a mulled wine and mince pie, plus support small businesses and ethical producers while shopping online. Made with care, these sustainably sourced presents can be loved and used for a long time. Look out for our ethical gift wrap guide too, coming soon. 

Shop ethical
Shop consciously this Christmas and support ethical businesses.

Comforting treats 

ARTHOUSEUnlimited sell deliciously-flavoured chocolate and gorgeous self-care packages you can custom build. Adorned with beautiful imagery, each purchase helps support this arts charity.   

Homegrown berries and foraged wild botanicals are some of the special ingredients in Green Heart Kitchen’s handmade raw chocolate truffles. Send a gift box direct, with a personalised message. 

Perfect for frosty days, cosy up with a sheepskin hot water bottle or toasty mittens from The Dartmoor Shepherd. For an heirloom item, Melin Tregwynt woollen blankets are a real treasure, designed and woven in Wales using traditional skills. 

Mittens
Sheepskin mittens made by The Dartmoor Shepherd.

Another fireside treat and winter warmer, The Craft Whisky Club is a great subscription to receive – a full size, bi-monthly bottle of craft whisky together with expertly tailored food pairings. 

For relaxing 

For indulgent beauty and grooming products Wolf&Badger are an easy one-stop website for ethical shoppers with a keen eye for contemporary design.  

Hammam towels are luxurious to use at home, or great for outdoor swimming as they are light and dry quickly. Kin&Kloth stock a great range of organic cotton ones. 

Christmas means candles, but ditch synthetic scents and paraffin wax. Try a soya candle instead, with a warm glow and natural fragrances, like these from The Kind Store.  

Happy Newspaper
Give the gift of happy news. 

If they love a good read, bookshop.org supports local bookshops and small sellers with every purchase. Magazine subscriptions are also a lovely idea (and can supplement your weekly dose of Wicked Leeks!). The Happy Newspaper, Positive News, Idler, and Ethical Consumer are our favourites. 

For some green wellbeing, send a lush houseplant or terrarium to their door. Beards&Daisies do gorgeous gifts including the intriguing Norfolk island pine, a tropical houseplant that looks like a mini Christmas tree 

For the kitchen 

Labour & Wait kitchenware is utilitarian, chic, and designed to last. They also have everything from storm kettles to a sourdough kit including a chunk of sourdough starter called Mildred.  

Sourdough
Lockdown may be (hopefully) coming to an end but a sourdough starter is still a perfect gift. 

Another popular ferment is kefir –  for those keen to give something new a go, this organic kefir starter kit has all the instructions to make your own zero waste organic healthy probiotic drink.  

Lunchboxes, thermos flasks and water bottles are good options as we’ll be doing a lot more outdoor meetups with friends. Try Peace with the wild, an ethical store with all the kit for winter picnics.  

If you prefer a more decorative look, artist Lou Tonkin makes exquisite homewares including traditional tin mugs, printed with nature and hedgerow inspired designs.  

Seasonal calendar
A seasonal veg growing calendar made by Sharpham Trust's head gardener Bryony Middleton and her artist sister. 

For nature enthusiasts 

Wonderful veg inspired prints adorn this beautiful calendar 'Growing Through the Seasons', made by Sharpham Trust head gardener Bryony Middleton along with her artist sister Isla. Each month offers advice and practical growing tips help you plan the year from seed to harvest. 

Meadow in my garden specialise in wildflowers, and purchases from their online shop help make your garden a nature haven while supporting the creation of UK wide wildlife friendly planting schemes. 

For bird-lovers, a robin care pack provides our favourite winter bird with a cosy nesting space and food, whilst an RSPB swallow nesting cup will encourage this elegant summer visitor to make a home under your eaves. 

Swallow
A swallow nesting cup or robin care pack will help welcome some of your favourite garden visitors.

Give endangered hedgehogs a helping hand too by gifting a hedgehog home – Ark Wildlife have starter sets to get a ‘hogitat’ up and running straight away.  

For crafty folks 

Spoon carving is a satisfying skill; a tool roll containing all you need to get started is the perfect present for someone crafty. Try Beavercraft and The Bushcraft Store for great kits. 

For some textile based DIY boho chic, Wool Couture stock a wide range of contemporary macramé kits from beginner to advanced.  

Merchant & Mills have a wide range of sewing kits, books and fabrics – their oilskin bag kit would be great for a confident crafter.  

For the more ambitious, this build your own dome kit from the Eden Project requires some materials gathering and design flair, but can become anything from a den to a chicken run, sun room, planetarium or even greenhouse!  

For little ones  

Myriad are a treasure trove of natural toys for early childhood which encourage imaginative play. Good Things and Conscious Crafts also handily show gifts by age category from babies to teens.  

Xmas gift guide
Encourage children's love of nature with garden activity kits or outdoor games. 

Inspire a love of nature with a Mud and bloom subscription box, full of things to grow and do. Outdoor games improve confidence and coordination; Soren’s house has modern, natural design toys from play tents to wooden balance boards.  

For clothes to cherish, Small Folk have beautifully soft organic garments in earth tones. Little drop in the ocean  are based in Yorkshire and use 100 per cent organic cotton handprinted with planet friendly inks for their handmade baby clothes. 

Finished shopping? Read our guide to ethical gift wrap for the full package.

Comments

Tomjoad

4 Months 2 Weeks

The Melin Tregwynt blankets are amazing.... Just saying. Beautiful colours and boy oh boy so so warm.

1 Reply

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Comments Editor

4 Months 2 Weeks

Yes - so beautifully made, really special items. If there are any makers you have discovered you'd like to share, please do add in the comments!

0 Reply

Beano

4 Months 2 Weeks

Sadly, the wool they use is from all over the world which rather ruins Melin Tregwynt's appeal for me.

1 Reply

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Comments Editor

4 Months 2 Weeks

Melin Tregwynt do address that on their website and are part of an exciting new initiative to reconnect the mill with Welsh wool suppliers:

'Sadly the link to local farms was broken in the 1950s when the British Wool Marketing Board began to buy all the wool centrally, so it was no longer possible to buy specifically local or Welsh yarn. As wool was now sorted on quality most Welsh yarn found itself blended into woollen carpet yarns. Today in a global market wool is sourced worldwide and much of the softer lambswool comes from Australia or New Zealand.

We're delighted that after several years of hard work, the Cambrian wool initiative has begun to reverse this trend. As partners in this project we're involved in the first steps of a new venture that will see commercial production of fabrics that are designed and woven in Wales out of Welsh yarn.'

0 Reply

splendiferous

4 Months

I agree with the comment by Beano. I would not consider most wool products as 'ethical' . The sheep skin gloves surprised me too. I accept, in some parts of the world they may keep people alive, but surely we should be looking at 'ethical' alternatives.

1 Reply

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Comments Editor

4 Months

Hi Splendiferous, thanks for your feedback. The Dartmoor Shepherd are included as they are 'on a mission to revive our beautiful, ancient breeds' and farm their rare breed sheep in an ethical and sustainable way. They are the only Shepherds in the world to farm all three of Dartmoor’s native longwool sheep, which roam the rugged hills of Dartmoor. Their sheepskins are a by-product of the lamb they sell.

1 Reply

splendiferous

4 Months

Hello, thank you so much for your helpful reply, so hopefully these sheep would be treated very gently when they are sheared, I have seen very distressing footage of sheep badly cut and terrified during this process.It is good they are a by product of lamb that is sold. Although I am a vegan and would prefer to see no animals killed for our benefit, especially in part of the world where there are so many acceptable alternatives. But it seems you are doing your best for sustainability, which is better than most, so thankyou.

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