A Christmas Gift Guide For The Ethically Conscious

A socially and environmentally responsible silly season? Yes pls.

Choosing the perfect Chrissy gift for your friends and family can be super tough. A lot of us tend to spend for the sake of it, in that mad last-minute scramble to avoid disappointed faces around the tree on Christmas morning. And it tends to be stuff swathed in plastic or made in questionable factories and sweatshops. But fear not, this year we have compiled a list of ethical alternatives to those run of the mill gifts that your conscience/wallet/gift recipient will seriously thank you for.

Think Second Hand

Chrissy presents don’t have to be brand new! Op shops are a great place to browse for second hand goodies that can be gifted and you can be super creative with it. If Mum loves indoor plants, have a look for a funky pot or even piece of vintage crockery to pop a spider plant in. If Dad loves his record player, you’ll be spoiled for choice in the record sections at secondhand shops. Salvos, Vinnies, Red Cross Shops, Noffs, vintage stores… there are so many places to choose from. (If you need some tips, check out my op shop guide here). Set aside a bit of time and get your creative cap on – the other relos will want a slice of your innovative gifts. #MerryThriftmas.

If you want to get real creative, you could even try a lil bit of upcycling. There are so many funky patterned clothes that are too big, too small or don’t fit quite right, but could be turned into awesome scrunchies or head scarves with even the most basic of sewing skills. And that’s just one idea.


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Story time: one of my favourite Christmas presents ever was the secondhand swing set my Dad found at the re-use centre where useful things are saved from landfill. That place was chock full of bikes, trampolines, pogo sticks – legit anything an 8 year old kid would die to have. Proof of it’s longevity you ask? After my sis and I grew out of swingin, Mum repurposed it for the veggie patch and now grows snow peas on it. Win win!

Make A Donation On Their Behalf

Everyone loves getting prezzies on Christmas Day, but if, like my Mum, your parents always tell you they don’t want anything, this is an excellent option. There are so many awesome places your money can go to support people and charities changing the world for the better. These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling, but this gift could easily be tailored to a cause or charity that your recipient is passionate about.

Drought Angels – These legends know how tough living on the land can be, particularly the toll it takes on people’s mental health in areas suffering through extensive drought. They’ve built personal relationships with the families they support, with donations going towards prepaid Visa cards, food hampers and care packs.

Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery – The horrendous bushfires we’ve seen have taken a huge toll on the lives of people who have lost their homes and even relatives. Red Cross provides mental health support, information services and shelter among other things to assist those who have suffered in the fires.


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WWF Adopt a Koala – Our beloved fuzzy national icon is seriously dwindling in numbers, and the catastrophic fires in NSW and Queensland have only made it worse. The monthly donation goes towards providing medical supplies and rehabilitation for injured koalas, among other conservation efforts.

Get Them An Audible Subscription

There’s no better way to kill time commuting or have a bit of relaxing me time like listening to an awesome podcast or best-selling book. A subscription to Audible is the perfect ethical gift – you already have all the stuff you need to use it! The app is free to download for mobile devices and can be used literally anywhere.


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Forget print books – audiobooks is where it’s at people. There are also a tonne of subscription plans available to suit your budget.

Consider A Keepsake That Will Last Forever

Our ancestors had the right idea passing down family heirlooms and I reckon it’s time to bring that tradition back in a big way. Look past cheaply made jewellery or clothing items that won’t last beyond one season. Invest a lil more time and money into finding something they’ll really love and be able to cherish for the rest of their lives, and even pass on to their kiddies. Here are a few places that make awesome gifts that have been ethically made and will stand the test of time.

Holly Ryan Jewellery


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Did someone say beautifully hand-crafted jewellery made from recycled materials? If you’re after a timeless piece that won’t hurt the planet and will last, look no further. There are a number of fabulous pieces to browse through on her website, but the talented designer is also able to create bespoke jewellery for your someone special.

Beekeeper Parade


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The geniuses behind this brand found a great way to keep awesome excess fabric from ending up in landfill as well as supporting education in Cambodia. The bags they produce are made from donated designer fabrics and crafted into very limited collections – which means you won’t be seeing hundreds of other people with the same bag. Beekeeper Parade have social and environmental values at the core of their business model and make some really cute stuff.

Buy From Small Local Businesses

The internet offers a huge variety of things to buy that we can have at our doorsteps in a matter of hours. But this involves a whole lot of plastic packaging, greenhouse gas emissions and often exploitative production processes that we don’t really see. Buying from small businesses in your local area is a great way to boost the livelihoods of local people and find really unique gifts. Our article on Buy From The Bush is a great place to start for unique gift ideas that support rural businesses in this horrendous drought.


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