Struggling to think of gift ideas for a friend or loved one? A special birthday coming up and they literally have everything? An Eco conscious friend your nervous to buy for? Look no further my list of top eight genres with lots of thoughtful ideas that keep on giving and don’t cost the earth in more ways than one in the process!
- Planet Friendly Ethical Fashion
- Gifts Including Memories
- Gifts For The Gardener
- Gifts That Support Someone Else
- Experience Gifts
- Practical And Personal
- The Gift That Gives Elsewhere
- The World Of Words
Planet Friendly Ethical Fashion
There is something about wearing natural fibres, that have been ethically and fairly made that puts a spring in your step. Whether an actual clothing item or a gift card, you can’t go wrong with a sustainable ethical clothing brand. Items produced in organic cotton, bamboo and hemp, not only bring a great talking point, they are a delight to wear, allowing your skin to breath and they last.
I love bamboo clothing, I came across the fact that you could make clothes with bamboo several years ago, which at the time to me, just seemed bizarre. I was intrigued and so I ordered some clothes. To speak in a very British way when my package arrived.. I wasn’t disappointed! For the not so British let’s go with awesome!
There are now multiple brands from Lucy & Yak to Noctu. The brand I have personally used for several years is Thought. Once delivered, I was amazed to open something that wasn’t full of plastic. (Even the outer bag was beautifully designed, paper and encouraged you to reuse). From the first feel of the softness and quality of that bamboo top and the cosy bamboo socks that snuggled around my toes, I was sold!
Since that time they have added more lines, with home, make-up, jewellery and accessories. As a company that has an ethos of responsible sourcing and caring about people and nature its a brand worth considering.
I have since purchased plenty of bamboo socks amongst other things as gifts!
For a link to the wearthought.com website click here.
Gifts including memories
Gifts that link memories are a wonderful way of showing your love, remembering someone or valuing a relationship. I was given the gift of a pillow created with a shirt previously owned by my late father. It was suggested first, and I think it may have been a shock to have opened otherwise. But I love the cushion it sits in my bedroom, I frequently look at it, touch it when I am walking by, and when I am missing my dad, it gets a great big hug!
Of course a bereavement cushion may not be for everyone. A cushion could be made whilst the person is alive or because you like something that no longer fits? You send the item of clothing to the producer. (For greater Eco friendliness you could even send a cushion to reuse. Mine was purchased through a seller on Etsy. For a list of creators on Etsy click here.
Using photographs is a great way of creating a meaningful gift. I love the handmade giftbox surprise made with paper and a beautiful unique way of creating a special photo album.
There are plenty of memory/ photo based ideas on Etsy I also particularly like a memory keepsake blanket created with old baby clothes.
For a list of keepsake blanket creators on Etsy click here
Gifts For The Gardener
So once you’ve given gardening gloves, trowel, books, possibly seeds you may have moved onto plants, which can be difficult, if you are unsure what they already have, want or need. Garden centre vouchers are always useful of course, perhaps a subscription to a garden magazine, personalised garden diaries, planners and notebooks are always helpful. Huge numbers on Etsy as well as elsewhere. I did find a planting ruler which could be personalised, looked rather nice and a little bit different, as well as a super looking wild bird restaurant! Beautifully handcrafted wooden feeders, stands and seed sets to naturally enhance any garden or even balcony and support the wild birds at the same time.
Most gardeners tend to have a compost bin, but if they don’t and you are thinking outside of the box…there’s an idea! They can be found at garden centres, DIY stores and even amazon. Many make their own often made out of something like an old dustbin or pallets, so if you’re handy with a drill you could make one and even personalise it?
Not every gardener however, has a wormery! The compost it produces is highly concentrated. The great news is you don’t need special food as once settled the worms will happily munch their way through kitchen scraps, paper and cardboard. So for the Eco conscious and/or gardener it is an ideal way of reducing your waste and providing amazing compost and fertiliser for your garden.
Again, people do make their own. I had wanted one for a while, and when my mum kept requesting Christmas ideas. A wormery was my suggestion. She did look a little horrified! But once I assured her I would source and organise it, she was happy. You can purchase them with and without the worms. Without the worms initially is best allowing for the delay of perhaps wrapping and giving the gift (All arrived in one nice big square box).
The company I used Wormcity UK also sell through Amazon uk. Click here for the Amazon website. Wormcity offered a voucher system for the worms, allowing time for the receiver to have the gift and wait until they were ready to setup then relinquish the voucher to then receive the worms. (There is a time limit on how long the worms will survive in their delivery packaging)
Gifts That Support Someone Else
Many years ago a friend of mine took a volunteering trip to India and returned with as many items that she could fit in her suitcase to sell here to friends. The organisation she had seen at work, supported girls and women out of prostitution and off the streets to the safer environment in learning a skill (hand stitching) and being able to support themselves.
They reused old saris to create blankets/throws bags etc. I purchased a beautiful throw. I love the different colours and delicately stitched hems where a different material has been added. My throw has been well utilised over sofas, beds, wrapped around me, even as part of temporary indoor tent making!
I love the fact that it has helped someone gain confidence and change their lives, they even sew their name into the item. Whenever I use my throw, I often think about her and hope that she is thriving.
Experience gifts are a great way of showing someone that you care, particularly if they really do have everything they need, or time doing something with you or someone else would be preferential. This could be as simple as dining out, a picnic, or tickets to your local cinema or show.
If they are not in your location, and you are not visiting, this can be a little more difficult, but that’s where experience gift sites can be useful, even if its just for ideas.
I had a problem last Christmas, close friends of ours live literally the other end of the country. Due to the Covid pandemic we hadn’t seen each other since the previous year, and we were unlikely to be able to see see them any time soon, even now. Added to this, they had just sold their house everything had gone into storage apart from essentials whilst they temporarily lived with family. It was pretty clear that the best solution was going to be an experience gift rather than more items they would need to store somewhere.
I found the perfect solution via buy me a gift. I thought they would probably appreciate a day out, so I picked a boat trip on a loch that included a cream tea. It was close enough to be a day trip, but far away enough that they could be out for most of the day. It had also been extended to be used up to 20 months, giving chance for our countries restrictions due to Covid, and winter to have passed. They loved it!
Practical and Personal
I have to be honest I love a gift that is both practical and personal. Its lovely to be using something frequently that’s been thoughtfully personalised or thought out.
I was delighted with a gift of personalised wooden ring binder recipe book, which had beautiful carving into the wood and a very pretty and practical paper design for the recipes. Being ring binder of course means ease of changing and replacing pages and it is well utilised. This was purchased for me from Etsy as was a very pretty personalised wellness journal, the headings are great, and really helpful for days when your struggling to write.
With journaling being popular whether bullet, art, dream, or gratitude journaling to name but a few, special notepads and journals make a timeless gift.
Also not forgetting a beautiful pen to write in these stunning journals. For an ultimate greener version how about a bamboo fountain pen with a bottle of ink? The person would never need to buy another pen again!
The gift that gives elsewhere
For that selfless person, that would appreciate a gift going to a cause they feel passionately about. It could be that they already have a just give account and are already busy raising, or you know that they have a charity that they support. Most charities will be able to respond even if its just with an email to send on.
I have used World Vision several times. I like that you are able to purchase a specific gift, enabling you to choose something that is of interest on who’s behalf you are purchasing. From chickens and goats to footballs and books as well as a whole host of health and self supporting options.
A friend of mine used her child’s christening instead of gifts to support a child vaccination project in Africa. You can sponsor a child that needs financial support to be able to attend school instead of work. You can toilet twin, this is a lovely present as you buy a toilet for a poor community and you receive a certificate with a photo and the coordinates with whom you have helped to hang above your loo. There are multiple clean water and well building projects that offer gift options.
Link References for Charitable Giving and Gifting
For a list of water & well based charities click here
- Toilet Twinning
- World Vision Gifts
- World Vision Sponsor A Child
- Compassion Sponsor a child
- Just Giving
The World Of Words
So my final area is words! The magazine and newspaper industry offer subscription services both online and in print form, often lasting a year. This a great way of buying someone a subscription for something they already like or perhaps a new hobby or interest with an end date so they can either re-subscribe or try something else.
You can go direct to the magazine of your choice, use a magazine subscription service like magazine.co.uk there are several digital options like Apple Texture & Readly. You can even order magazine subscriptions via Amazon digitally – kindle unlimited offers 6, 12 & 24 month subscriptions click here to link to Amazon Kindle, and click Amazon Magazines for print versions.
If you have got this far, then thank you. I do hope that I have helped with your search for a special gift that will go on giving in many different ways, long after you’ve delivered it!