7 Simple ideas for Sustainable Christmas Gifting

Good for your Wallet. Good for the Planet!

  1. Second Hand

This year after epic chats with my mom about the importance of cutting out fast fashion, minimising what we send to landfill and supporting companies that are making a diff environmentally (phew thats a mouthful!) we agreed to include second hand in our gifting. So we gave each other a list of items we’d like (e.g. woolly jumpers in blue, pale pink, light purple etc) so that we have enough scope to get something the person wants without being too stressed out scouring the thrift shops for something obscure. This means not only a more unique piece but also the ability to get really high quality (I found a Coach coat in her size for a tiny percentage of what it would be new).

Mamasita rocking her thrifted Coach jacket, plus her handmade knitted hat (see point 2 below)

Mamasita rocking her thrifted Coach jacket, plus her handmade knitted hat (see point 2 below)

2. Handmade

If you’ve a particular crafty skill embrace it! One friend who’s amazing at woodwork once made me a wooden spoon from an off cut of a tree in my garden and its honestly one of my favourite pieces in my kitchen. For my I’m pretty competent at knitting and sewing so family put in requests early for scarves, hats etc. ahead of Christmas - not only does it mean they get unique designs but it also means I can choose great quality wool and also I know the craftswoman (me) had great working conditions - lots of tea and watching Netflix, instead of having no idea where in the world the piece came from.

Handmade hat for my granny using a wool that matches one of her favourite jumpers

Handmade hat for my granny using a wool that matches one of her favourite jumpers

3. Experiences vs Material

I have a granny who has a house full of beautiful things, who has the most enviable wardrobe and has a plethora of other family members buying her gorgeous food and drinks. What do you get for the person who has anything? A few years back we decided to just do experiencial gifts. Since then we’ve been to amazing one off exhibitions, the best theatrical Wuthering Heights I’ve ever heard of and we always top it off with a lovely lunch. Lately a bunch of friends all went to Sing Along Social as part of one of my best friends Graduation celebrations and it was honestly one of the best Christmassy nights ever!

Myseld and my girl Lou right before we went skydiving together. This jump might be an expensive example, but anything a meal, a trip, a surf lesson. Sharing a wonderful experience together, no matter how corny it sounds, can last so much longer then just getting a thing.

Myseld and my girl Lou right before we went skydiving together. This jump might be an expensive example, but anything a meal, a trip, a surf lesson. Sharing a wonderful experience together, no matter how corny it sounds, can last so much longer then just getting a thing.

4. Natural Products

I love this new oil from Trilogy, one of the really cool things about these guys (ladies actually) is that all the packing has minimal plastic, but any plastic is recyclable. For one of the girls who’s getting super into going plastic free I’ve got her a safety razor, an amazing switch that can cut out so much single use plastic from your bathroom shelf!

I love this new oil from Trilogy, one of the really cool things about these guys (ladies actually) is that all the packing has minimal plastic, but any plastic is recyclable. For one of the girls who’s getting super into going plastic free I’ve got her a safety razor, an amazing switch that can cut out so much single use plastic from your bathroom shelf!

You could go one of two ways on this. For some friends and family now that I do a bit of work with Trilogy products they’ve all become just as obsessed with the products as me. But this could equally mean making little batches of your own natural product and putting it in beautiful jars/containers. Check out my recipes for lipbalm and lavender calming balm here.





5. Sustainable Starter Kits

This can be such a thoughtful gift for any friends or family that you know might be keen to getting a little more sustainable in their daily lives but maybe are a bit lost on where to start. Great little boxes that could be good would be;

Dining kit - steel straw, bamboo cutlery, cloth napkin, steel water bottle, reusable coffee cup, beeswax wraps to replace clingfilm/tinfoil (make it yourself from my recipe here).

Pop these together in your own little hamper (even the basket is great for using for other things too).

Pop these together in your own little hamper (even the basket is great for using for other things too).

Natural Cleaning - Safix scrubber or loofah, recycled fibre sponges, wooden veg brush, wooden dish brush, natural dish soap/dishwasher tabs/spray cleaner

Skincare - Shampoo bar in a tin, natural conditioner, coconut oil jar, plastic-free natural deodorant (Pit Putty ones area amazing and smell delish) natural skin cream or oil, my homemade lip balm recipes.

Single-use-plastic free bathroom kit (deluxe addition including plastic free tanning and natural teeth whitener!

Single-use-plastic free bathroom kit (deluxe addition including plastic free tanning and natural teeth whitener!

One of my go to travel kits including homemade dry shampoo (2tbsp of cornstarch mixed with a few drops of your favourite essential oil)

One of my go to travel kits including homemade dry shampoo (2tbsp of cornstarch mixed with a few drops of your favourite essential oil)

6. Support Local

Its been so great since Buoys and Gulls opened in Bundoran. It os an amazing spot to be able to pick up local art but also crafty and sustainable pieces too @buoysandgulls Wherever you are in the country you can check out your own local Market. If you’re in the Sligo area the Strandhill People’s Market or in Dublin The Dublin Flea is a great one if you're in that area, but every town will usually have some markets running up to Christmas. I also think if you’re on a budget maybe bigger pieces wont suit but small things like homemade jams/preserves and handmade decorations add such a unique spin on a gift, without eating too much into your present budget. I’ll tag a bunch of my favourite makers/artists and sustainable brands in the photo for this article on my Instagram.

7. Vouchers

Though I’ve heard it said that something mad like 30% of vouchers never get used, I still truely believe they are a great option if you’ve put some thought behind it. Generally speaking most are made of paper or card - so tick for plastic free, but also it means you’re not buying material items that maybe the person might not want. From personal experience I have LOVED when people got me vouchers for say things like lovely restaurants or maybe for things that you might never splurge to buy for yourself (my dad often gets me vouchers for places like wellness centres for massage, yoga classes etc). It can be a great way of getting someone an experience they’ll really enjoy or something they would never treat themselves too.

All wrapped up.

Last but not least an enormous amount of wrapping paper that goes on presents never gets recycled or is difficult to recycle (due to combos of paper plus plastic etc) so why not try some simple alternatives? I’ve seen one friend wrap presents in vintage silk-style scarves that she bought in bulk and uses to wrap presents. A beautiful gift to unwrap, but also doubles as a present itself (hello headscarf heaven).

Wrapping presents up in a vintage/thrifted scarf is a great double gifting idea

Wrapping presents up in a vintage/thrifted scarf is a great double gifting idea

I’m a big fan of using things like newspaper if you dress it up nice e.g. with twine and maybe a bit of dyhdrated orange and cinnamon sticks.

Brown paper is great too if you don't like newspaper or are worried that the print might rub off on the present.

Wasi tape and masking tape are great alternatives to celotape as they’re plastic free and can biodegrade.

I like using pages from back issues of my favourite surf magazines for wrapping smaller gifts (and then the poor chopped up remains can just be recycled but at least that gives the magazine several lives).

BONUS Track! Why not make Christmas a little mores sustainable and affordable for you too? I picked up this top in my local SVP for just €2 and the skirt in the Sligo Oxfam for just €10 - supporting good causes, keeping clothes from landfill and looking damn swish while doing it!

BONUS Track! Why not make Christmas a little mores sustainable and affordable for you too? I picked up this top in my local SVP for just €2 and the skirt in the Sligo Oxfam for just €10 - supporting good causes, keeping clothes from landfill and looking damn swish while doing it!

Guys I’d love to see what you guys try or what kind of things you buy/make or find so please tag me on insta so I can see!

Finn Ni Fhaolain