November 17th, 2023

7 eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas for family, friends, and partners

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you have not already bought this year’s gifts, now is the time to start.

Although gift-giving is a lovely gesture, we don’t always think about the environmental impact of all the items we purchase at Christmas – and sadly, excessive buying of new products can have a detrimental impact on the environment.

For instance, the Guardian reports that nearly half a billion electrical items are dumped in landfill sites every year in the UK. This astonishing figure is just one example of how much we throw away as a nation.

So, if you’re searching for thoughtful gifts that don’t have as much of a negative impact on the Earth, keep reading to learn seven eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas that could suit your friends, family, or partner.

1. Consider gifting a vintage item

When you hear the phrase “second-hand”, you might immediately assume that the item wouldn’t be suitable for a Christmas gift. Yet there are plenty of preloved items that could make great Christmas gifts, with the added bonus that they’re eco-friendly too.

Some second-hand items that could be gifted to someone special include:

  • Vintage jewellery, clothing, and accessories
  • First-edition books
  • Antique household objects.

Each of these could make a truly unique gift that doesn’t require any production using new materials, making them an eco-friendly way to say “I love you” at Christmas.

2. Use eco-friendly packaging

According to Business Waste, around 227,000 miles of Christmas wrapping paper is thrown away every year – a similar distance between the Earth and the moon.

While the act of wrapping Christmas gifts is good fun, disposable wrapping paper is not particularly eco-friendly, as much of it is made with plastic that does not biodegrade.

So, as an alternative to using wrapping paper, why not purchase a stylish cloth wrap and use that to cover the gift? You can purchase wraps with a range of designs on sites like Etsy, and these can not only be kept by the recipient, but passed forward with the next gift they give someone else.

3. Support a local business

One aspect of sustainability that is often overlooked is the miles the product has travelled to reach your doorstep. Some products, like popular children’s toys, are made overseas and shipped thousands of miles to the UK – all of which contributes to the burning of fossil fuels.

If you’d like to reduce the carbon footprint of your gift giving this Christmas, shopping at local businesses could do the trick. Searching online for businesses in your area that supply the type of gift you want to give might reveal lovely local companies you never knew existed.

Plus, shopping locally not only reduces the environmental impact of the gift, but it also helps support UK entrepreneurs who may find it hard to compete with global corporations.

4. Buy Fair Trade food and drink

Giving food and drink is a very common pastime at Christmas – who doesn’t love a hamper full of cheeses, chutneys, and perhaps a bottle of wine?

If you have a foodie in the family who would love something like this, buying Fair Trade could make the whole gift more sustainable. Some companies, like UK Hampers, even sell these eco-friendly hampers as a pre-made bundle, so there’s no need to hunt around for individual products.

This could be the ideal way to treat someone to a delicious smorgasbord of Christmas treats while supporting fair wages, ethical farming practices, and sustainable ingredients.

5. Adopt an animal on the recipient’s behalf

If you know an animal-lover who would jump at the chance to support either UK or overseas wildlife initiatives, “adopting” an animal on their behalf could be a great sustainable Christmas gift.

Of course, this doesn’t literally mean adopting the animal – instead, you pay a donation to a wildlife charity that supports a specific species, and the person receives a certificate of thanks for helping them.

You can adopt a number of species through the UK Wildlife Trusts, including:

  • Otters
  • Beavers
  • Red squirrels
  • Hedgehogs
  • Grazing animals
  • Seals

In some cases, the adopter even receives a cuddly toy of their animal as a note of thanks!

6. Book an experience day

Shockingly, research from the GWP Group found that the UK discards around £42 million in unwanted Christmas gifts each year. Not only does this make some gifts a waste of money, but it also means many new products end up in landfill almost as soon as they’re bought.

So, rather than giving a “thing” to a loved one this Christmas, you could consider booking an experience for both of you to enjoy.

Some fun experiences that could be booked as a Christmas gift include:

  • Afternoon tea at a stately home
  • A trip to an art exhibition
  • Eating out at a Michelin Star restaurant
  • A wildlife experience day, such as alpaca walking or visiting a falconry centre
  • A spa day for two.

This type of gift could help avoid the landfill fate that many Christmas presents meet, and will create truly special memories that you’ll cherish forever.

7. Make a financial gift

Sometimes the simplest offerings are the most appreciated, and especially during the cost of living crisis, money could be at the top of your loved ones’ Christmas lists.

If you have adult children who are at university, starting out in their careers, or raising their own families, they may appreciate a little help during the festive season. Plus, making a financial gift is an eco-friendly act, as it simply requires the online transfer of funds, or writing out a cheque.

Depending on the amount you’d like to give, speaking with a financial planner about transferring funds to family members could be wise. We can help if you’d like to offer a large injection of capital to a loved one.

Get in touch

If you’d like guidance on making large financial gifts in the festive season, or any other financial matter, email or request a callback from one of our advisers.

Please note

This article is no substitute for financial advice and should not be treated as such. To determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances, please contact us.

More stories


June 20th, 2024

Are your clients following “finfluencers”? Here’s why a qualified approach could be safer

Read more


June 20th, 2024

Your June 2024 company update – The Three Peaks Challenge is complete!

Read more

Contact us