Christmas, it can be a difficult celebration for those of us that try to be conscious of our environmental impact. Let’s face it, overindulgence and consumption are pretty much obligatory and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the festive period was practically sponsored by plastic!
Whilst I can’t promise to fix the aforementioned consumer model and rid the world of unnecessary plastic this Christmas, I can share with you some inspiration for gift items that have a little less plastic compared to what you might find on the high street.
The majority of the items in this post I have purchased as gifts and stocking fillers. Anything that I have purchased has been done so with my own money.
All good things come with a caveat; this post contains affiliate links. If you would like a little more info about how that works, then please jump to the end of the post.
The products I’ve included in this post are all available on Etsy, this is partly because I really don’t enjoy overcrowded shopping experiences and partly because I like to support independent makers and businesses where I can.
Even if you don’t want to order all your gifts online, hopefully this post will still give you an idea of the sorts of items you can find that are alternatives to more plastic heavy options.
Handmade Haven Soaps
Soap samples can make a nice little stocking filler item. If you choose them carefully, they can be zero-waste, plastic-free or at least have minimal packaging. I actually bought a couple of these vegan soap samples from the scented range but the unscented ones sound just as lovely. Handmade Haven Soaps also have some really lovely gift sets if you want to purchase somebody some bath related treats. They post their items in plastic-free packaging too.
Soul and Soap
Solid shampoo is probably one of the easiest ways to begin reducing your plastic consumption. If you know someone that is starting out at reducing plastic, or that just loves pocket-sized toiletries, there are so many choices when it comes to solid shampoo these days (and lots of lovely scents to try out aswell).
If you’ve read my post on how to reduce plastic waste in the bathroom, you’ll know I’ve been using the Beauty Kubes solid shampoo (which I love) but in the spirit of good journalism, I’ve ordered a solid shampoo from Soul and Soap to try out because they are a slightly cheaper option.
I really like that you can choose to purchase their solid shampoos in a tin as this is the best way to store them when you’re not using them. If like me, you only have a shower cubicle in your bathroom, you’ll most likely find that you get through solid shampoos and bars of soap very quickly if you leave them in the shower unit. This is quite simply because they will dissolve if you don’t store them somewhere that you can let them dry out between uses. I already have a few tins that I keep my solid toiletries in when I’m not using them (pro tip: I cut them up into smaler pieces and take them into the shower with me when I need them. I also store them without the lid on to let them dry out as much as possible.
Soul and Soap post with plastic-free packaging, my order arrived packaged with cornstarch ‘peanuts’ to stop it being bashed about during shipping.
Glasgow Soap Company
Another great stocking filler or Secret Santa gift idea is a tin of handmade lip balm, with a boozey flavour of course. Unfortunately, these ones are posted in padded envelopes but when I contacted the seller they said they are considering a plastic-free alternative once the current stock of packaging has been used up.
The Soul Scent
I have previously purchased from the soul scent for a gift for my mum (which she really loved). I think there is some plastic in the product packaging (such as in the lids or roller balls) but the bottles for their face oils are glass, the boxes they post their items in are made of recycled cardboard and filled with dried chamomile flowers to keep your item safe during shipping (apparently the flowers can be reused as potpourri or even tea). I can confirm that everything I ordered smelled incredible!
Their bespoke pulse point perfumes also make great gifts because they can be completely tailored to the mood or scent preference of the person you’re purchasing for (and the seller offers a gift message option too).
The Bath Tray Company
Unfortunately, we don’t currently have a bath at our place but if we do manage to have one put in I would love to have a caddy made out of a lovely piece of wood.
These wooden bath caddies are made from reclaimed wood. Wood is obviously a natural and degradable material but if it’s not sourced sustainably this can also be problematic for the environment. As these trays are made from reclaimed wood, hopefully this makes them a little more sustainable as a gift choice (it also makes them quite affordable compared to other caddies I have seen for sale).
I contacted the seller to check whether there is any plastic in their shipping packaging and they’ve told me that the only plastic is in the postage label and the tape used to seal the parcel up.
A few tips for sustainable gift wrap
Don’t forget that if you’re trying to lower your plastic footprint this Christmas, gift wrap can be a major plastic culprit too. Many of the glitzy, shiny rolls of wrapping paper are either doused in tiny bits of plastic glitter or often laminated with a plastic coating to give them their lustre (not to mention the plastic film they are packaged in). The plastic elements, and even the foiling on some of the metallic designs, means that it’s unlikely that the wrap is going to be recyclable. On top of this, gift wrap is almost always a single-use item; even for those savvy enough to save and reuse it, it’s likely to only have one more use before being binned.
So, how on earth are you supposed to avoid this nightmare?
I’m not going to lie, this is a tricky one. Wrapping paper and/ or gift bags are a major part of the gift-giving process. If you already have rolls of lovely, shiny wrapping paper, you may decide that using them up is better than throwing them away and wasting them – it’s likely they’re going to end up in the same place anyway.
Personally, I will be wrapping my gifts this year in a mix of papers that I already own. I’ve got some wrapping paper that needs using up, recycled brown parcel paper that I can decorate with stamps and washi tape and also some coloured tissue paper.
To avoid the need for sellotape you could try using brown paper gift bags, tying your presents up with jute string or using paper tape (like washi tape or paper parcel tape).
* Please note, this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and make a purchase, then I will make a small commission from that purchase (at no extra cost to you or the individual seller). Out of the products featured in this article, those that I have purchased myself have been purchased with my own money and I have not received any sponsorship to create this post. I have selected the items in the post myself, with the intention of offering gift inspiration for items that are a little bit lower in plastic.