Thursday, 12 December 2013

Holiday gift ideas

I think I am a little late in writing this as the Christmas holiday is fast approaching - but time has gotten away from me and I wanted to share this list I've been making in my head over the past month or so.

I wanted to make this list because, as much as I love things (I really do), I also think that we as a society have gotten a little bit carried away when it comes to consuming. Cheap, disposable, products & the waste we accumulate is hurting our planet and it's animals, hurting our pockets, and hurting the people who make them. Heck - it's probably even hurting our souls because we're always wanting more instead of focusing on what we already have.

I know I would like to buy less and live more simply.

So in that spirit, here's some ideas for ethical/eco friendly gifts these holidays...

1. Donate to the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan relief appeal on behalf of a loved one: Oxfam & Red Cross have relief funds you can donate too and many others including Food For Life International who provide vegan food relief.

2. Book: 'The Gift of Kindness' by Pam Ahern full of inspiring quotes and true stories of rescued farm animals at Edgar's Mission. All proceeds from the book go to Edgar's Mission. In fact, books in general make great gifts don't they!

3. LUSH Handmade cosmetics: I don't normally like promoting or up-selling products of big companies - it feels, in the words of Enid from Ghost World, "pretty sleazy" - but I do like LUSH products because they are cruelty free and many of them are vegan. So I guess I'll sleaze about their good qualities. Some products I would recommend are:

4. Wilderness Cards: Give someone the gift of environmental protection by purchasing a Wilderness Card - a donation of $15-100 to the Wilderness Society. In return you receive a cute card to give to your loved one in recognition.

5. Fair-trade clothing: Etiko make fair-trade clothing and converse-style sneakers. They also sell gift vouchers if you would like to let your loved one choose.

6. Sponsor a rescued farm animal: You can do this via many animal sanctuaries including Edgar's Mission through their 'Best Buddy' program and Brightside Farm Sanctuary where you can virtually adopt and animal.

7. Donate to an Animal Shelter: Donate money to an animal shelter on behalf of a loved one and help animals in need. Some animal shelters & rescue groups you can support in Melbourne are:

8. Fair-trade chocolate and coffee: Oxfam sell fair-trade coffee & chocolate. Visit their website.

9. Charity calendars: Many charities bring out a calendar each year for their supporters to buy. The Wilderness Society have calenders as do Edgar's Mission, Ingrid's Haven and no doubt many others.

10. ZINES: Zines are cheap, unique and quirky. Gift zines to your loved ones and support DIY culture/art/writing. Sticky Institute in Melbourne sell zines. You can also buy zines on etsy and from online zine suppliers such as Pioneers Press. OR you could make a special zine just for them!

11. Eco Undies! Thunderpants sell eco friendly undies made in New Zealand.

12. Goodwill Wines: Purchase your festive wine stock through Goodwill Wines and give back to a charity of your choice. 50%-70% of profits go back to your chosen charity. Or you could buy charity wines all year round...!

13. Second hand books: Buy your loved one a second hand book through Brotherhood Books - where all the proceeds go towards helping people living in poverty. Or just buy them a second hand book from your local second hand bookseller - you'll be helping to reduce waste! Plus you can find some real gems in old bookstores.

14. WWF Animal Adoption: Adopt an endangered animal through WWF and help fight

15. WSPA Really Wild Gifts: Donate money to help improve the lives of bears, donkeys, dogs and other animals through WSPA's really wild gifts.

16. Sponsor a child: Unicef, Plan (who are secular) and World Vision offer child sponsorship. While The Smith Family allow you to sponsor disadvantaged children within Australia.

17. Handmade gifts: Make your loved ones handmade Christmas edibles like shortbread or cookies or craft them a gift like handmade decorations. You could also write them a poem or paint them a picture! I think there's something really beautiful about homemade gifts.

18. Second hand or vintage homewares: One of my personal favourites! They can make special, one of a kind gifts and help reduce waste!

And I'm sure there's more!
I have made a slightly different, more extensive list on my pinterest account if you're interested.

~ Happy holidays ~


  1. Excellent suggestions, Lizzy. It's awfully close to Christmas and I haven't shopped yet! Thanks for the help.

    1. Thanks Geo. I hope you find some nice gifts!


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