19 ethical and eco-friendly Christmas gifts

If you're determined to ensure that this Christmas is your most ethical and environmentally friendly yet (and why wouldn't you?), our gift guide is here to help...

natural paper with ribbon by period living
(Image credit: Period Living)

Whether you're a hardcore eco-warrior or are buying for a friend who's into sustainable, ethical living, Christmas (and in particular Christmas gifts) can prove a challenge. This is where our eco gift guide comes into its own, proving that being conscious of your impact on the Earth doesn't have to mean gifting rubbish presents at Christmas.

Love this idea? Find more ways to have an eco-friendly, ethical Christmas.

Take the legwork out of your Christmas shopping by checking out the Real Homes team's top 50 Christmas gifts for 2018: we want them (and so will you and your friends and family). 

1. A handmade pouch with a brilliant back story

Available at Oxfam, this versatile pouch was made by Aspiration; a Fairtrade group that employs artisans to hand make products. In exchange for their craftsmanship, they are supported through a programme that aims to improve their welfare and draw them out of poverty. 

This Handmade Embroidered Pouch makes a great a makeup bag, a small clutch or tablet case. 

handmade pouch with floral print by oxfam

(Image credit: Oxfam)

Handmade Embroidered Pouch

Beautifully made by artisans in India who receive a fair wage in return for their work, this gorgeous pouch could be used as a makeup bag, tablet pouch or clutch bag. View Deal

2. Paraffin free candles that love the earth (and you) 

Christmas candles on your shopping list? Ensure you opt for natural soy candles which are naturally non-toxic and biodegradable. And, unlike some candles, they don't emit chemicals into the air. 

For a variety of earth-friendly candles consciously blended using fine fragrance oils, The Handmade Candle Company is a great starting point. More Christmas candles can be found in our dedicated gift guide.

soy based candle by handmade candle co

(Image credit: Handmade Candle Co.)

3. A vibrant rug handmade from recycled saris

A gorgeous gift for a home lover, this Recycled Sari Rug is hand-crafted, meaning each one is unique. Made by Asha Handicrafts in Mumbai for Oxfam, artisans are guaranteed to receive fair pay for their work, with profits used to assist social and community development. 

multicoloured rug made from recycled saris by oxfam

(Image credit: Oxfam)

4. Funky swimwear... that was once a plastic bottle

Made from 100 per cent recycled plastic, we're completely in love with this (very millennial) Banana Leaf Swimming Costume from Batoko. Certified by Global Recycle Standard, each piece was industrial, consumer and ocean plastic in a former life, making its story much more interesting.

Proving that sustainable fashion can be cool (and inclusive), costumes from Batoko are designed to flatter a whole range of body shapes – check out their Instagram for proof. 

banana leaf swimsuit made from recycled materials by batoko

(Image credit: Batoko)

Banana Leaf Swimsuit

Made entirely from Global Recycle Standard certified plastic, this gorgeous swimsuit demonstrates the power of recycling. View Deal

5. Luxurious bedding in 100 per cent organic cotton

Good quality bedding not only improves sleep, but also makes for a lovely gift. When it comes to making an eco-friendly and ethical choice, organic cotton is always your best bet. White & Green are an organic and ethical soft furnishings brand whose products are not only beautifully made, but responsibly sourced and sustainable. We love this Herringbone Cotton Throw and Waffle Bedspread.

grey and white herringbone throw by white and green

(Image credit: White and Green)

6. Pretty (and practical) cotton tote bags

Give a gorgeous gift (while encouraging reduced plastic bag use) with these striking African Print Tote Bags from Lola & Mawu. Made in Ghana by an all-female sewing co-operative, this reversible design offers two bags in one, genius.  

tote bags in bright prints by lola & mawu

(Image credit: Lola & Mawu)

7. A biodegradable yoga mat for earth-conscious yogis

The perfect option for an earth conscious yogi, or a friend determined to take up yoga, pilates or meditation in the New Year, we love this bio-degradable M-life Eco Luxury Yoga Mat from John Lewis. 

Lightweight, durable and stylishly designed, it's available in contrasting Rose and Black or Sage and Flint. Want to take up yoga and considering an M-life Yoga Mat as a gift to yourself? Check out Yoga for Adriene – a YouTube channel dedicated to making yoga accessible for all.

biodegradable yoga mat by John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

8. A gorgeous, reusable water bottle (bye, bye plastic)

If you're horrified by the fact that 13 billion plastic water bottles are purchased every year in the UK (only half of which are recycled), gifting a friend with a gorgeous reusable water bottle is a great step towards reducing this figure (and with it our impact on the environment).

We love the Liberty Floral Collection from S'well; their gorgeous prints making for a lovely gift. 

reusable waterbottle in kyoto print by s'well

(Image credit: S'well)

9. An eco-conscious stocking filler

Looking for an affordable gift that suits a zero-waste lifestyle? Eddington's Bee's Wrap Honeycomb Reusable Sandwich Wrap may sound like a peculiar present, but we're certain it'll make for a handy stocking filler.

Made from organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin, it's 100 per cent biodegradable and a great option for eco-conscious sarnie lovers.

reusable food wrap bags by John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

10. A chopping board crafted from off-cuts

In a bid to reduce waste, Bristol based Konk produce these handcrafted Klip Oval Chopping Boards from off-cuts of wood left over in their studio. 

With each piece made to order, you can be sure of receiving a unique gift that's perfect for foodies. Find these stand-out pieces at Wearth London (or better still, shop below).

By the way... we have lots more foodie Christmas gifts for you to browse... 

wooden chopping board by wearth london

(Image credit: Wearth)

11. Know a take-away coffee addict? Help them to help the Earth

We all have that friend who can't function without their morning Starbucks/Costa/hipster coffee, but do you know how much damage all those take-away coffee cups are doing to the earth? (We think you do, it's been all over the news, so you'll love this...)

Made using tempered glass and featuring a sustainably-sourced natural cork grip, Keep Cup is leading the backlash against single-use waste and we couldn't love their trendy design any more than we already do.

keep cuo with glass cup and cork section from john lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

12. A jute bag that proves sustainable can be stylish

Made from handwoven jute, this Ochre Bag from The Future Kept is perfect for days when you need to bring ALL your belongings with you.

A Fairtrade product made from 100 per cent jute, the ethics of this gorgeous bag are just as delightful as its design. 

eco friendly jute bag from the future kept

(Image credit: The Future Kept)

13. A hand thrown bowl for industrial style lovers

Lovingly hand thrown using techniques inspired by traditional Korean pottery to create unique, cloud like brush strokes, this Cloud Ceramic Bowl from The Future Kept makes a beautiful gift for eco-conscious home-lovers; particularly those with a more stripped back, industrial and ultimately contemporary style.

hand thrown ceramic bowl from the future kept

(Image credit: The Future Kept)

14. A handwoven grass basket that empowers women

Handwoven by women in remote Swaziland, this gorgeous Lavumisa Woven Grass Basket from Traidcraft takes a traditional craft and gives it a contemporary edge, all while empowering women through local project Gone Rural.

Perfect for storing fruit or other bits and bobs, this gorgeous basket makes a lovely addition to a modern home, and supports a powerful, community-focused project.

handwoven jute bowl by traidcraft

(Image credit: Traidcraft)

15. Gorgeous and handcrafted coconut wood spoons 

Handcrafted from coconut trees that are no longer living, these gorgeous Coconut Spoons from Wearth make the perfect gift for eco-conscious home lovers with a taste for the rustic look, as well as for those in need of on-the-go cutlery.

coconut wood spoons by hearth

(Image credit: Wearth)

16. An inspiring and conscious recipe book (with a sustainable lunchbox to get them started)

If you're shopping for a foodie, it doesn't get much better than Sara Kiyo Popowa's Bento Power: Brilliantly Balanced Lunchbox Recipes, available from Amazon.

Offering abundant inspiration to those of us who bring lunches to work, Sara's book offers a balanced, nutritious and appealing (check out her Instagram) approach to food, while helping minimise food waste and the packaging that accompanies shop-bought lunches.

If you're looking for a lunchbox to get the recipient of your gift started, we love this Personalised Stainless Steel Lunchbox from Not On The High Street.

Celebration Bento! For what's in my boxes, see below :) Big love and thanks to everyone who I've met in person in the past couple of weeks, since the launch of my book baby Bento Power. I love my community, off- and online! Some tagged in pic (and some sources tagged too). . I haven't posted much for a couple of weeks but I'm building up to it again – I simply needed a little time off to catch my breath, replenish my sleep and have some time for friends and family. It's been pretty non-stop otherwise for the past months! I always get over-exhausted after a big event/project. Managing one's own energy is a life-long learning curve isn't it ... . In my boxes are dishes I've cooked the past weeks, for my launch party and for a couple of recipe-tastings in collab with @atla.is, (a newly launched travel-inspired sustainable fashion and lifestyle brand): . Gradient rice (Bento Power page 34): 2/3 white sushi rice, 1/3 black venus rice, washed 3 times then cooked together, seasoned Korean-style; sesame oil, #gochugaru korean pepper, ginger juice, rice vinegar, natural salt. Cheatin' #Gochujang Sauce (page 48) Black beans in Cheatin' Gochujang Sauce (page 48) Spicy quick-pickle carrot (page 84) Cubed smoked tofu and tomato Watercress Radicchio Pomegranate seeds Red shiso flowers . Much love! Sara x #shisodelicious . . . . #bentopowerbook #blackrice #asianfusion #healthyfood #rainbowfood #spectrum #foodgradients #eatrainbow #eattherainbow #kidskonserve #bentobox #bento #lunchbox #packedlunch #plantpowered #mealprep #bestofvegan #feedfeed #veganmeaprep #bentopower #bentoparty @bentoparty #mushroomtrain #veganjapanese #japanesefood #koreanfood #poweredbyplants Sara Kiyo Popowa

A photo posted by @shisodelicious on Oct 8, 2018 at 8:51am PDT

17. Unwind with the help of these zero-waste goodies

What beats gorgeous bath and body products for the friend who loves to unwind after a stressful day? Answer: gorgeous and ethical bath and body products that come in zero-waste packaging. 

We're pining after this De-Stress and Balance Gift Set from The Future Kept – particularly the calm and conditioning almond oil – and love the idea of gifting it to our nearest and dearest.

(p.s. just a warning that this one can't be gifted to pregnant women.)

eco friendly bath and body kit from the future kept

(Image credit: The Future Kept)

18. A gorgeous (eco-friendly) watch with a recycled strap

Having firmly established themselves as a go-to for stylish (and affordable) watches, Olivia Burton have been a favourite of ours for a long time. 

So, we were over the moon to hear about the release of the Olivia Burton OB16VE09, which comes with an eco-friendly, 100 per cent recycled strap.

olivia burton watch with recycled strap from john lewis and partners

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

19. Encourage an eco-conscious 2019

Know someone who's keen to be more earth conscious in 2019? Inspire them to make positive life changes with this handy and pretty practical book – Sustainable Home – written by sustainable lifestyle blogger Christine Liu.

Feeling extra generous? Have a flick through the book and pick out one or two things that will get them started on their journey towards sustainability. 

sustainable home book from amazon

(Image credit: Amazon)

Looking for more Christmas gifts? We've got the best...