MM’s top 10… ethical Christmas gifts to buy this year

Whether you’re vegan, buying for a vegan, or you’re simply trying to live in a more environmentally friendly way, Christmas can be a hassle.

From shower gels at the sacrifice of rabbits to t-shirts and trainers from sweatshops, the majority of gifts that we buy this Christmas are not ethical, or eco-friendly.

Yet despite our current climate catastrophe, there aren’t many high-street shops that boast sustainability or ethics, so here we have shortlisted the best options for those looking to save the Earth.

1. Vegan Dock Boots, Will’s Vegan Shoes, £82

Will’s Vegan Shoes provide an ethical, eco-friendly alternative to the iconic leather Timberland boot with their tan-coloured Dock Boots.

The boots are made with Ecolabel certified Italian vegan suede, are breathable and water resistant, have durable outsoles, and cushioning insoles made with recycled rubber, and they’re available in both women’s and men’s. They’re also completely vegan, including the glue.

If that isn’t enough, they’re much cheaper than Timberland. They also come packaged in sustainable, non-treated paper and cardboard packaging, and are delivered through a plastic free, carbon neutral courier.

The boots are perfect for outdoor lovers who are also fashion conscious (ie. Millennials), and are priced very fairly compared to similar items of their quality. This is why they’ve secured top spot on our ethical Christmas list.

2. Oscar’s ‘Bee Kind” Kids Tee, Moon Child, £20

Moon Child is a children’s clothing company that aim to use 100% organic materials in their products. Strictly no sweatshops are involved in the making of the items, all of which are produced here in the UK, or in the USA. The company is also very cooperative and will try sort out out-of-stock sizes in many of their pieces.

This t-shirt was a winner of a competition that unintentionally markets itself well for Manchester, where the bee is the emblem. The t-shirt itself is made from 100% organic cotton, and is ethically made and comes in an array of sizes.

This is the perfect gift for any child you know because of its unisex design, and gives you the confidence that they may be learning a little bit about the environment with it.

Despite its pretty high price, it is well-worth the amount, as 20% of the sales from this tee will be donated to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust – an added bonus because bumble bees are unfortunately on the decline, and very important to our environment.

3. Ditsy Cloth, Dearest Fannie, £12.50

Dearest Fannie is a small company owned by two sisters who are saving the world a little at a time. Their main investment, the Ditsy Cloth, is essentially a reusable makeup wipe. By simply adding warm water, it can remove makeup easily and effectively and can be washed in your washing machine. The cloth is hypoallergenic, making it super soft for even the most sensitive of skin, and is also vegan.

This sustainable alternative to the earth-destroying single-use wipe is a perfect stocking filler and in the long run will save a fortune for any make-up lover.

4. Snow Fairy Naked Shower Gel, Lush, £7.95

Lush have been extremely influential in the cruelty-free beauty movement, and this year their Christmas collection does not disappoint. Snow Fairy anything is always a top-seller, and this year they have even decided to ditch the packaging for a ‘naked’ shower gel in the popular scent.

Lush sold over 5 million bottles of shower gel in 2016; if just half of those customers switch to the naked version, approximately 2.6 million less bottles would end up in landfill. Instead of buying the plastic-encased version, you could be one of the customers that are preventing plastic waste.

The solid shower gel is double the concentrate of the regular Snow Fairy liquid shower gel, so will last twice as long, making it much more cost effective. Everybody loves the smell of Snow Fairy, so you can’t go wrong with this as a gift or stocking filler, especially with the younger girls. You don’t have to face the over-enthusiastic employees or pungent smell of bath bombs by visiting the store; you can order straight to your door.

5. Soft Grey Hoodie, ETHCS, £40

ETHCS is a vegan clothing brand that focus on using sustainable materials, and providing employees safe and healthy working conditions. Made from 100% organic cotton and finished with subtle branding, this unisex garment is very stylish.

Unlike many high-street brands, this hoodie can be worn guilt-free and with confidence that it was made fairly and sustainably. Instead of buying from Nike or Adidas this year for your teen kids, buy them this ethical alternative for the same price, but costing the environment much less.

6. Mykonos Vegan Leather Watch, Hurtig Lane, £89

All of the watches and jewellery sold by Hurtig Lane is PETA-approved vegan, so the rights of animals are not being compromised. The company is based in Barcelona, but ships to the UK. All of the packaging that this company uses is made of 100% recycled cardboard and contains no plastic, making it a very environmentally friendly business.

This minimalist watch is perfect for the fashion-conscious animal lover, and can be worn everyday or for a fancier occasion. It’s hugely versatile, and would suit any age group.

The watchstrap looks leather, but is completely synthetic, and the watch is splash resistant, meaning it won’t get ruined by hand washing or some unexpected rain. There’s plenty of choice in colour of watchstrap, so you can tailor this product to your recipient very easily.

7. Bakewell Dreams Soy Candle, The Vegan Candle Company, £8.50

The Vegan Candle Company is exactly what it says on the tin, but not only is it vegan; it aims to use sustainable methods to produce the candles. The candles are made with cotton wicks, not lead, the soy wax used is ethically sourced, and the glass jars are recyclable. All of its products are also paraben and petroleum free.

When warmed up, this candle smells like freshly baked Bakewell tarts, which nobody would complain about.

This gift would be perfect for a sweet treat lover, or a candle lover, because they probably don’t have a Bakewell tart-scented one in their collection. To top it all off, you know that this won’t be harming the environment in any way.

8. 550ml Steel Vacuum Water Bottle, Jerry Bottle, £17.99

This year, single-use was officially named the word of the year, so what better time to buy a reusable water bottle? 100% of the profits from this company fund water projects in India and Tanzania, which sets this apart from most other reusable water bottles.

This is the greenest bottle that Jerry Bottle produces, in an all-metal design. The bottle keeps liquids cold for 24 hours and warm for 12 hours by the double walled vacuum. It’s easy to clean, and has an electropolished interior that doesn’t retain flavours.

This bottle would be perfect for kids to take to school, as its not too big and bulky like many metal water bottles and it’s a great start to teach the younger generation about sustainability.

9. Munich Rucksack, Matt & Nat, £130

Another ethical company to look out for is Matt & Nat, who use recycled and sustainable materials in all of their products, which are vegan too. This is more of a top-end option for those often drawn to the designer brands.

The rucksack is made from faux leather and 100% nylon lining and is functional and fashionable, perfect for wanting to carry both your laptop and your lipstick.  It features adjustable shoulder straps, a zipper pocket, and smartphone pocket and is logo-embossed, making it simple yet stylish.

It doesn’t look too dissimilar to lots of very popular Michael Kors rucksacks, but is a conscience-clear alternative at an equal, if not lesser cost. This gift would be ideal for a commuter who doesn’t want to sacrifice style for functionality, or for someone who is fed up of having aching arms from unpractical handbags.

10. Tolstoy Card Holder, Zessoo, £21

Zessoo is a hugely interesting brand, especially their wallets and purses made from fallen leaves. Each item is unique and dyed by hand, meaning that they can take up to six weeks to manufacture, so its best to order as soon as possible, as the end product is definitely worth the wait. The products from the company are all PETA-approved vegan, too.

Nowadays, not many people feel the need for a large wallet, as everything is done by card payments, so this product is ideal, especially because you know that no animals were harmed in the process. This makes the cardholder a perfect gift for the modern day nature lover.

This year for Christmas, why not make a difference and purchase eco-friendly gifts that will be well received, but without the environmental damage?

Don’t just buy the nearest gift set, do a little research on if the products are sustainable, so we can make sure that Earth is still around for plenty more Christmases.

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