Gift-Giving Guide: An Ethical Christmas


The holiday season is upon us! Hot chocolate, warm clothes, Christmas tunes, and festive decorations are a few of its many highlights, but the stressful frenzy around gift-giving, culminating in a mess of wrapping paper and plastic packaging, may put a damper on this time of year. Don’t worry! After reading this article, you will have sustainable, eco-friendly and budget-friendly gift ideas that will please friends and family alike.


Cruelty-Free Cosmetics and Skincare

Searching for relatively inexpensive, cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare can be a challenge. Fortunately, these brands are proudly cruelty-free and do not test on animals.

  1. Soap & Glory: With delicious smelling bath products, skincare, makeup, and fragrances, Soap & Glory is a crowd pleaser. Surprise your friends with the Naughty but Spice duo (£5), a limited-edition set including body wash and body butter, or the lime-fresh Absolute Zest (£14), which features a body wash, buttercream, body spray and scrub.
  2. The Body Shop: One of the pioneering eco-friendly skincare brands, and an established contender in the gift-giving sphere, the Body Shop will not disappoint. The 25% off student discount and various other deals throughout the year make this a great gift choice! For something festive, the House of Peppermint Candy Cane Delights (£9) is ideal. The shower gel and body butter come in peppermint flavours, and the set includes a lily-green sponge. Alternatively, the Mango Treats gift set (£6) smells heavenly.

Thrift Shopping

In Durham, there is no shortage of charity shops, especially along North Road. A charity shop is a treasure trove, and you will find clothes and accessories for virtually every occasion. Warm, woolly items of clothing in winter, such as distinctive, eye-catching jumpers or comfortable scarves might just be the perfect gift!

A charity shop is a treasure trove, and you will find clothes and accessories for virtually every occasion

Second-Hand Book Stores

Oxfam’s second-hand book section is ideal for students – I bought 2 books on my course for a fraction of the original retail price. From well-worn classics to books on every niche subject under the sun, the selection is a crowd-pleaser. Does your friend or family member have a favourite author or genre? Chances are, the book for them is right here.

Food, glorious food!

Can you whip up delicious home-made baked goods for your friends and family? If so, contact me! Jokes aside, the love and labour that goes into home-baking is difficult to find elsewhere, and it is difficult to resist the power of cakes and biscuits. If you, like myself, woefully lack culinary skills, the Divine Milk Fairtrade chocolate advent calendar (£4) is likely to please everyone. No sweet tooth? Fairtrade tea and coffee, which is easy to find and delicious to drink, is always a welcome gift. Try festive flavours such as Vanilla Chai, or something with orange or cinnamon notes.

the love and labour that goes into home-baking is difficult to find elsewhere

I hope this article helps to quell the stress surrounding gift-giving. Remember that ’tis the season to be jolly!


Photograph by Kat via Flickr and Creative Commons

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