Xmas Gift Guide



Last updated: November 2017



Your Alternative Christmas Shopping List


Shopping ethically can be tough at the best times, never mind with the pressure and rush around Christmas. The gift ideas below will make your task that little bit easier, saving you time, money and helping the environment.


Buying Books

Books are a real favourite at Christmas. It's always best to try and buy second-hand books saving you money and trees.  We would recommend that you use Oxfam or Better World Books, where book sales go to charity. Or use your local second-hand bookshop.


Image: Books


For new books we would urge people to use radical bookshops or your local independent bookshops. For online bookshops, use Better World Books, Books etc or Hive*. 

Find out more in out guide to bookshops.

Wherever you decide to buy your books from it's always best to avoid Amazon, AbeBooks and the Book Depository. Find out why >



Perfume and Aftershave

It's easier than you think to avoid all the dodgy chemicals and animal tested fragrances. Our Best Buys for perfume and aftershave are Dolma, Fairypants, Neal’s Yard*, Florame and Pacifica. They are all vegan and cruelty-free (not tested on animals).

Image: perfume


Find out more in our guide to perfume and aftershave.



Christmas Clothing


If you are in need of a new garishly coloured woolly jumper or a new party outfit there are lots of great ethical options. 

We recommend Know the Origin, MUD, Thought Clothing and People Tree*.

Image: Know The Origin

Image: Know the Origin 


We have just updated our dedicated guide to Underwear to help you find the most ethical pair of socks or undies. Check out Pico and PACT brands. 



Buying new electronics is often a bit of an ethical minefield and we therefore recommend that you buy a second-hand or refurbished equipment wherever possible.

Image: Mobiles

For new devices try: 



Toy Retailers

Buying for kids doesn’t have to mean mountains of packaging and plastic. Orchard Toys (a best buy recommendation) sell own-brand board games made of recycled materials through their website.


Image: Toy Retailer

Other Best Buys that that stock a wider variety of toys are Babi Pur and Traidcraft*.

Find out more about ethical toy retailers in our guide



Re-fillable Water Bottles


As discussed in our recent guide to Bottled Water, a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, many of these plastic bottles are ending up on landfill or in the ocean. 

Ditch the plastic and instead buy a bottle for life. 


Image: Jerry Bottle


Jerry Bottle is a not-for-profit social enterprise selling reusable water bottles. 100% of profits go to its Waterfall Charity to fund water projects around the world. They sell stainless steel and BPA-free plastic bottles. 

Refill.org sell stainless steel bottles. £1 from each sale will be donated to City to Sea anti-plastic campaign and £1 will be donated to WaterAid.

Give Me Tap sell stainless steel bottles. Each bottle sold helps give a person in Africa clean drinking water for five years. 




Chocolate Boxes


Treating friends or family to some delicious chocolates is a great option for Christmas.


Image: Chocolate box

Best Buys in our guide to boxes of chocolates include the Fairtrade and/or organic certified products from Booja Booja*, Cocoa Loco, Divine and Montezuma.

Find out more about ethical chocolate in our guide




Creative Christmas Hamper

If you can't think of a particular gift, why not put together a hamper full of ethical goodies. Make your own jam or buy some palm-oil free biscuits. 

Image: Cookies


See the following guides for inspiration:


Places to Buy

There are lots of ethical online retailers, from large retailers like John Lewis to smaller retailers such as The Ethical Shop. Ethical Consumer subscribers qualify for a discount at the Ethical Shop. Sign in and visit the subscriber area for more details.

Shop The Ethical Shop now > *

Shop John Lewis now > *



*We have an affiliate deal with this shop. Ethical Consumer makes a small amount of money from your purchase. This goes to fund our research and campaigning. We ethically screen all the sites we link to.






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