10 top gifts for an environmentally friendly Christmas

By Tierney Smith

With just one weekend left for Christmas Shopping and the big day around the corner, many of you are probably panicking about what to get that aunt you have forgotten or thinking up last minute gifts for the wife or the kids.

Well RTCC is here to help. Getting in the Christmas Spirit and gearing up for the festivities I headed over to the Naturally Christmas Fare to dig out all of the best eco-gifts to please the whole family.

Here is my top ten list for an environmentally friendly holiday season.

1. Brighten up the home

Why not brighten up someone’s home with a pillow from Lettie Belle cushion. Made from organic cotton, eco-fi felt – made from waste plastic bottles and leathers scraps collected on her travels, Lettie produces fun cushions for the children’s bedroom – although they would look just a nice upon the sofa – using fun animal designs.

And if you have a little one to buy for why not try one of these play felt sets. Chose from a variety of designs including animals and ships and the children can do the rest creating as many fun scenes as they can come up with.

An average cushion will cost you £25 while a play set is £15, and the website is offering free delivery until Christmas. Head over to www.lettiebelle.com for more.

2. A little bit of Glitz

Add a little bit of glamour to your Christmas with a jewellery design from Snow Jewels. Handcrafted from jewels, stones and metals collected on designer Helen Morris-Clarke’s travels, you can have a design made to order especially for someone special. My favourite has to be these necklaces made from old fashioned silver hairbrushes – bring new life to something old.

One of these necklaces will cost around £55, but the full variety of designs can be found at www.snowjewels.co.uk

3. Clothes for the kids

Another one for the children now. Japanese influenced design made using a mix of organic cotton by a collective in India and those handmade in the UK from up-cycled fabrics, Kappuke Ki Kidswear collections offer a wide range of designs. All outfits are also made to be easy open for all those little accidents.

A mini pinni will set you back £22, or why not try the waistcoat for the boys at £16. For the UK designed puff ball dress and pant set the price is £40. All designs can be found at www.kappuke-ki-kidswear.co.uk

4. Comfort for the long winter nights

Back to the treats for the adults now. Panchachuli UK offers a wide selection of throws and scarves all hand woven by a women’s collective high in the Himalayas and close to the Tibetan border. The collections include fabrics such as pashmina, lambs wool, merino wool, and Himalayan nettle and a variety of colours are offered – all created from natural dyes.

While the Pashmina offers the softest touch – perfect for a scarf – the Himalayan Nettle design is something different.

Prices vary depending on size and colour, and all details, along with the full catalogue can be found at www.panchachuli.co.uk.

5. Perfect shopper

Now to devote a little time to everyone’s favourite – the bags. First up is the Bag Ladies, these Madagascan handcrafted Raffia Bags come in all shapes, sizes and patterns – perfect for your everyday shopping. All have a drawstring close inside to offer a little safety while out and about and each on is made using fair trade materials by a collective in Madagascar.

A medium sized shopper will cost £20. The full variety of bags, purses and scarves from projects across the world can be seen at www.thebag-ladies.co.uk.

6. Recycled wonder

Sticking with the bags, if you are interested in something which is going to stand out and turn heads, why not a bag made entirely from ring pulls. Bottle Top will offer you just that. A registered charity, Bottle Top works in Brazil and pays people living on the streets for the ring pulls and has trained a team from poor communities to weave the tops into beautifully designed bags, wallets and belts. Money is then put back into grassroots projects across Brazil, Africa and the UK.

This bright design was my favourite from the collection. The bags vary from around £100 to £300 while a purse will set you back on £12. Visit www.bottletop.org to find out more.

7. Perfect gift for an urban lifestyle

One final one for the bags. If bottle tops don’t take your fancy, how about a bag from tire inner tubing? Cyclus provides designs which recycle urban materials from South America – using inner tubing from truck and bus tires in Bogota, Columbia. The tubes are then washed – using rainwater and ecologically sound agents – and handcrafted into the designs. While all the designs are the same, each bag will be marked by the original markers of the tire.

While bags will cost between £30 and £50, these bright coloured wallets will cost around £15. Check out the website http://bagzontherun.myshopify.com.

8. Decortaions galore

Now we have had presents suitable for her, for him and for the kiddies, let’s turn to the little extras to add the finishing touch to your Christmas. Firstly, and easily the most popular product of the fare, the All in One Season Christmas wreaths. Using completely natural material Dutch Floral Designer, Alice Calcasola-van der List has a wreath for every household and every budget. And with the thought and the skill which has gone into these designs they can be used year on year.

Designs vary from around £15 up to £75. My favourite is this bright red design coming in at £17.50. To see all of the designs and find out about the workshops classes they have to offer visit the website www.allinoneseason.co.uk.

9. Make Christmas go off with a bang

Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without a cracker to pull. Founded in 2008, Green Ribbon aims at providing environmental friendly alternatives to all those additional bits and pieces involved in celebrating events like Christmas and Birthdays. Head to them for all your wrapping paper, present tags and cards. And also check out their fun cracker designs to have over the Christmas table.

Head over to www.greenribbon.org.uk for more.

10. A few yummy treats

For number 10 on the list I’m going to cheat and offer you two. For your snacks and treats for Christmas I met two companies who have got some goodies in store. First we have Handmade Treats for all of you who love your Christmas pudding. They have a variety of flavours from your traditional to chocolate and orange, chocolate rum and raisin and many more. There is even a gluten free one for people with a wheat allergy. All homemade and fully cooked – in the traditional manner over several days – they are ready to re-heat on Christmas day.

Head over to www.handmade-treats.co.uk to see all of the flavours, depending on the size these puddings range from £10.50 to £16.50.

And for those of you like me who are not a huge fan of the pudding Cupalicious has a variety of other treats and snacks to make your Christmas day a yummy one. From Christmas Cakes to Ginger bread stocking and trees the options are endless.

Head over to www.cupalicious.co.uk for all the options, prices vary from £1.75 to around £15.

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