Everybody knows that Christmas is the season of goodwill and charity – but that doesn’t always extend to the way we shop for our Christmas presents. Recent studies reveal that over 21 million people receive at least one unwanted gift each Christmas, and a percentage of those gifts (around 5%) will simply be thrown away.
If you’re looking to shop and spend a bit more thoughtfully this year, look no further. The sustainable gifts in this guide are guaranteed to be cherished by their recipients, but will also help support some excellent charities, local projects and indie businesses at the same time. Warm and fuzzies all ’round.
The Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide (2022)
1. The Indie Christmas Card: Home Alone, I Am Sam Printshop (£13 for 5)
Made from thick recycled card, these beauties are the work of independent, Cardiff design studio, I Am Sam Creative. If you know anyone who loves Home Alone as much as my husband does, delight them with one of these, and you’ll be supporting a small, family-run business at the same time.
2. The Refillable Booze: Wye Valley Gin Duo, Silver Circle Distillery (£62)
This sustainable duo includes a 70cl bottle of Silver Circle’s award-winning Wye Valley Gin, along with a 50cl refill can to top it up with when it’s finished – turning the beautiful glass bottle into a bottle for life! Wye Valley Gin is handcrafted using botanicals that grow wild throughout the local area. Sweet Woodruff, Elderflower, Blackberry leaf, Mugwort, Scots Pine and Linden flowers combine with Juniper, Grapefruit, Coriander and crystal clear Welsh water; the result is a fresh, crisp gin, full of leafy forest flavours, tangy citrus and delicate floral notes.
3. The Christmas Coffee: 1kg Coffi, Jenipher’s Coffi (£20)
A collective of committed organisations and individuals in Wales and Uganda have come together to make Jenipher’s Coffi a reality – named after Jenipher Wettaka, vice-chair of the cooperative of farmers who work together on the slopes of Mt Elgon. Grown from fertile volcanic soil, this high-quality, Arabica coffee, is produced organically and to Fairtrade standards. What’s more, the farmers who produce Jenipher’s Coffi also aim to plant 25 million trees by 2025.
4. The Packed Lunch Kit: Bottle + Food Pot, Chilly’s (£38)
Loads of us are ditching wasteful bottled water and switching to reusable bottles (check out the Refill app to find places where you can get yours topped up on the go, for free). This gift set pairs a royal blue, insulated water bottle with a matching food pot to keep summer salads cold, and winter soups and stews toasty hot.
5. The Local Cheeseboard: Festive Selection, The Welsh Cheese Co (£42.60)
Help support local farmers and cheesemakers with this artisan selection of brilliant cheeses made in Wales. Each box includes seven varieties; Ruby Mist, Black Bomber, Angiddy, Golden Cenarth, Mon Las, Y Fenni, and Pant Ys Gawn.
6. The Good Read: Welsh Food Stories, Carwyn Graves (£14.99)
Author Carwyn Graves explores more than two thousand years of history and uncovers the rich heritage of foods like oysters, cider, salted butter and salt-marsh lamb. Despite centuries of industry, ancient traditions have survived among farmers, bakers, brewers and growers; Carwyn’s book highlights those championing sustainability whilst taking Welsh food back to its roots.
7. The Winter Warmer: Blancot Hot Water Bottle, Oasis (£18)
This cute hot water bottle cover (each comes with a bottle inside) is made from off-cuts and fabric waste from sustainable local tailors, Blancot, in collaboration with Oasis Cardiff. Oasis is a local charity helping refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into the local community.
8. The Party Jewellery: Crescent Charm Earrings, Crane (£60)
These brass crescent and recycled silver charm hoops are handmade in Cardiff by the lovely Jodie. The hoop has a stud back and it’s easy to slide the charms on and off. I have a couple of pieces from Crane and they are always really well-made, light and comfortable to wear. You can also purchase the charms as singles, so you can mix and match as you please.
9. Something To Look Forward To: Gift Voucher, Cardiff Wine Passport (£25)
Earlier this year, the Cardiff Wine Passport helped hundreds of Cardiff locals discover new and independent places to eat and drink in the city centre (find out more here). This Christmas, treat your loved one to a CWP gift voucher which they can use to purchase the next edition of the passport; there will be two dates to choose from in 2023 – one in the new year, and one in late summer.
10. The Alternative Xmas Tree: Native Tree Sapling, My Tree Our Forest (FREE)
Every household in Wales has a chance to collect a native broadleaf tree sapling, free of charge, as part of an ambitious Welsh Government giveaway to tackle the climate and nature emergencies called My Tree Our Forest. But you can also pick up a tree on behalf of a friend or family member, and it would keep until Christmas morning in a decent-sized, well-watered pot – just be sure to get it planted in the garden come the new year. You can find your local collection hub & opening times by using this interactive map.