Eco friendly Christmas gifts

Don’t shout at me for mentioning the festive season in October – it soon creeps up! I have already started buying and have been looking at some eco friendly Christmas gifts.

Christmas has felt like a bad consumer melt down for me in the past. Too many people buying too much stuff and spending way too much money. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I enjoy all of the opportunities it offers for people to get together, the giving and receiving,  the cooking and eating  of delicious food.

However, I dislike the general excess. People spending money they can’t afford, buying mounds of food that won’t get eaten, trashy, over the top decorations and the pressure folk feel to produce the perfect experience. I am already hearing parents stressing because they cannot get this year’s most popular toy and fighting for them when they arrive in the shops. Most of all, I hate spending money on trashy presents that won’t be appreciated.

Because of this, I try to make sure the recipients of any gifts I buy really want them. If that means taking away the surprise, then so be it. I also try to buy some items that are eco friendly. Usually small things for my daughters that will replace something that causes a lot of waste. With this in mind, here are my suggestions for inexpensive eco friendly Christmas gifts. I am dreaming of a green Christmas!

I am going for a frugal Christmas, so none of the suggestions below will break the bank.

Eco friendly Christmas gifts

For their stocking fillers, I have bought my daughters some stainless steel reusable straws. Plastic straws are thrown away after one use which is incredibly wasteful. I have ordered them from Lakeland, at £5.99 for 8 straws with a cleaning brush.

I hope they don’t read this, as I have also bought them some reusable Magic Makeup Removing Cloths from Amazon. You can remove all makeup with just water. The reviews suggest they really work, so I am excited about these. I have ordered myself some too.

If you have a nature loving friend or family member, Friends of the Earth have a cute bird feeder in their shop. You can stick it to your kitchen window and watch the birds feeding as you do the washing up! Love this! At £13.99 it won’t break the bank.

I know this isn’t a glamorous gift, but I would be happy to receive these Ecoegg Re-Usable Bamboo Towels. You can wash and reuse rather than buying kitchen towels.

I have never tried these, but my lodger has one – how about a Bamboo Toothbrush? She is very happy with hers. It remains to be seen how long it will last, but you are supposed to change them every three months so it should do that.

I have various plastic lunchboxes that I take to work, but maybe a stainless steel one would be a better option. Ideally, it should be air tight so that you don’t have to use plastic wrap as well. There are lots of different options online, but some of them are horrendously expensive. One was over £80!! Not on my budget…. Many were under £10 but looked cheap with poor reviews. This one seems a decent mid priced one and has excellent reviews.

For the kids, how about some recycled colouring pencils made from rolled up newspapers? I found these on eBay. Pencils and recycled paper crafts make great eco friendly Christmas gifts.

When I was at the SHOMO Awards recently, I met Zoe from Eco Thrify Living. She had bought her own reusable coffee cup with her, which I thought was such a sensible idea. I have found a similar one from Evolution Organics that I will be putting on my Christmas wish list. I have several china ones but they aren’t really practical for carrying around with you.

Buy an experience

Regular readers will know we had a lot of experiences given to Mr Shoestring for his 50th. My favourites were the afternoon teas. Who wouldn’t enjoy a big plate of cake? Of course, there are all types of experiences you can purchase and you can find some of them at I think these are a good idea for people who already have too much stuff.

Buying books

I also like buying books as these will tend to be read and passed on – not just binned. Coffee table type books are pretty but I avoid them as they tend to be leafed through and forgotten. I only buy books for people I know well or where someone has requested a book they really like. If you are considering books as presents, check out the Book People first. They have collections that are so cheap and fantastic for presents. When my children were smaller, I would buy the collections of kids books and separate them up to give in a party bag rather than loads of plastic rubbish. I also buy second hand books for stocking fillers.

Gift vouchers

If you don’t know what to buy, don’t buy anything. Rather than spend on something that might not be appreciated, choose a gift voucher instead. The other advantage of gift cards is that they don’t involved loads of packaging and gift wrapping. You can buy discounted cards from Zeek, so you can save money too. If you use my promo code you will get £3 for free. I generally use my gift cards, but if you have some you know you won’t get around to spending, you can sell on Zeek too. It’s a genius idea.

Does the waste and excess at Christmas leave you cold too? Will you be exploring some eco friendly Christmas gifts instead this year?


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16 thoughts on “Eco friendly Christmas gifts

  1. Some great ideas here. The SS straws are just what I’ve been looking for so I’ll purchase some of those. It’s so lovely to know that someone else has the same ideas about Christmas as I do. My family and friends think I’m an oddball as I’d rather give cash to people so they can buy whatever they need rather than receive a gift that will probably end up in the charity shop!

  2. Some interesting ideas there but we use kitchen roll as tissues for wiping noses – wouldn’t want to wash and re-use them!!
    Sue at The cottage at the end of the lane blog

      • I tell you what I use a hankie for … and I mean a proper gentleman’s large hankie! I always keep one in my bag or in my jeans’ pocket as I like them to dry my hands on when I’ve washed them in the loo of a restaurant or café. The hand dryer just doesn’t get them really dry and I’ve heard that they simply waft germs around, and I don’t like paper towels to dry my hands on, especially those which come out of a tiny aperture and are really thin and just roll up into a sodden lump. So a large, laundered hankie is ideal for a quick wipe. I then pop it into a corner of my bag and pop it into the washing machine when I get home.
        Margaret P
        PS I also have a small packet of wet wipes in my bag, but a hankie is really useful for drying after washing in a public place.

      • We have bought those LED pen-style torches for people for presents, they are really useful. Husband has one by the bed, if he drops one of his pills under the bed, he can locate it with this – the beam is really powerful!
        Margaret P

  3. I have started making my own whipped body butter ( chocolate orange flavour ) it’s lovely so my friends and Mum and Sister will be getting some for Christmas, in little kilner jars so hey can reuse them. We are cutting back big time this year, I was given a money box last year which I have been saving £2 coins in, this morning it was opened as I too start early and I have £126 which should be enough for gifts and sons will have a little cash too! Also I have been buying Co-op £1 savings stamps all year ,only 3 to go for a full card and £52 which should buy our ” special foody stuff “. I shall do this again next year..We no longer send cards and instead make a donation to Dogs Trust.I would love to find an eco way of wrapping gifts!

    • You sound very organised! I have kept and carefully folded wrapping paper in the past and reused it the following year

    • Try using brown paper as an eco friendly wrapping paper. Cheapest place I’ve found it is Wilko. Add a spring of Ivy and hey presto, a posh looking present!

  4. I might be over the hill and rolling down t’other side, but why do you buy straws? I’m not being facetious, this is a serious question? I can’t ever remember buying straws in my life, once I learned to drink from a cup or a glass. It would never cross my mind to buy them.
    Margaret P

      • I’d start to wean them off them, Jane, ha ha! Like no dummies after the age of two! Only joking. I think straws are a fashion thing, like ripped jeans. I saw some straws in the supermarket the other day when searching (fruitlessly, as it happened) for those little pots of UHT milk to put in our guest bedroom with the kettle, tea and coffee, and the straws had a flavour in them, so if you sucked up milk through them, the milk became flavoured (well, I think that was the idea). I suppose that is the next best thing to a real milk shake!

  5. I give gifts of cash – not much – but that way they can buy what they want where they want. I don’t live close to my immediate family so cash is easy to send and spends well! For my friends (and we all don’t need one more thing!) we take time and eat out together during the Christmas season or after! Your ideas sound great! Thanks for sharing.

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