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Think eco friendly gift ideas and what springs to mind?
If you thought dull, uninspiring, worthy choices then think again. Today's range of sustainable presents can easily match their non eco friendly gifts alternatives when it comes to the fun stakes and outsmart them for their ethical credentials too.
While Christmas is a time for giving it's also a time of great waste. And we're not just talking about the wrapping. Come November shops will be full of brightly coloured plastic toys vying for attention, but these make for anything but a sustainable Christmas. Instead, make the festive season a more sustainable one by seeking out environmentally friendly gifts such as a water bottle free from plastic, clothes or accessories made from organic cotton or zero waste gifts that keep on giving back.
When searching for your eco friendly Christmas gifts or gifts for eco warriors you need to keep key principles at the front of your search. Has its production harmed the environment? Does it use natural, organic or recycled materials? Does it have people and the environment at the heart of its production? Sustainable gifts are those that can provide social, environmental and economic benefits while at the same time protecting the environment for their entire life span – from raw materials through to their disposal.
If you're ready to do an ethical shop then take a look at our sustainable gift guide, we've got ideas for the perfect gift for kids and teens all with a touch of green about them. Whether you're buying for a budding Greta Thunberg or want to introduce the idea of being more environmentally conscious while they're young we've got the gift for you. As well as the ideas below for eco-friendly presents picks you could also consider shopping for the best vegan presents around.
Don't forget, once you've got your present buying sorted you can turn your attention to other matters – like where to buy the best ethical Christmas crackers for your dining table.
Our Top Choice
Zero Waste Starter Kit - WAKEcup
Here's a great way to get someone started on a more environmentally friendly path. This gift set contains a vegan rucksack, a bamboo water bottle, a bamboo coffee cup and two bamboo straws, everything you need to make small changes to your lifestyle. This starter kit is a great way to encourage kids to cut back on their single use plastic and move towards a zero waste lifestyle. Plus it's a super stylish gift for image conscious teens.
- Price: £55
- Donation to the Marine Conservation Society with every purchase
- Reduces single use plastic
Best For Small World Play
Space Station Play Set - Playpress
Ethical presents for younger kids can be hard to find but we love this no plastic play set which will encourage kids to use their imagination, develop their motor skills and get involved in problem solving. It's produced in the UK using play board made from wood from sustainable forests and includes onboard lab, detachable capsule, fully opposable arm and two astronauts. Plus it comes flat packed so it's ideal if you need a present you can easily post.
- Price: £14.99
- Age: 6+
- Great for posting
- Sustainable gift
Best For Make Believe Play
Cotton Toy Baking + Cake Set – Weaving Hope
We adore just how cute this baking set is. This creative gift is made from fair-trade cotton by craftspeople who are paid a fair wage and work with traditional wooden looms. And the dyes are eco-friendly and non toxic too. There are six pieces within this set including a mixing bowl, baking tray, whisk, spatula and spoon and measuring jug. Your child will have hours of enjoyment making their own 'cakes' and serving them up to you.
- Price: £59
- Age: 3+
- Machine washable
- Fair Trade Toy
Best For Outdoor Fun
Eco Saucer Flying Disc - Green Toys
Not only is there hours of fun to be had in the park or garden with this gift but as eco friendly gifts go this one has great credentials. It's made entirely from plastic that's 100 per cent recycled, doesn't contain BPA, PVC or phthalates and uses mineral-based colouring. Even its packaging is eco friendly with soy inks and recyclable cardboard. Although it's not an awesome flying object just right for sharing with friends and family, kids will be stunned to learn that in a former life it used to be milk jugs!
- Price: £7.50
- Age: 5+
- Made from recycled plastic
- Recyclable packaging
Best For Teaching Sustainability
Tin Can Robot - 4M
There are toys that wear their eco credentials on their sleeve and then there are toys that actively teach the next generation about the importance of recycling. This kit comes with full instructions for turning an old drinks can into either a silly robot or a motorised robot. The STEM activity will encourage budding engineers as well as showing how fun reusing discarded items can be. We think it's a great way to demonstrate the need to think about our waste footprint and is sure to keep kids occupied for a few hours on Christmas morning.
- Price: £19.76
- Age: 8+
- Includes all the tools and pieces you need
- Recycle your cans into toys
Best For A Stocking Filler
100% Pure Beeswax Crayons - Honeysticks
It is possible to find plastic free gifts as stocking fillers, as this pack of crayons proves. These are handmade from pure beeswax with no paraffin wax whatsoever, unlike in many traditional crayons. The beeswax used in these jumbo sized crayons is a natural byproduct of the honey production process so it has minimal impact on the environment. The larger sized crayons will last for ages so are great for prolific artists. There are six different colours in this set and they smell just like honey.
- Price: £14.99
- Age: 3+
- Non toxic pigments
- Natural byproduct
Best For Older Teens
Smile Jamaica In-Ear Headphones - House Of Marley
Finding ethical gifts for older kids can be tricky but these in-ear headphones will be much appreciated once they're opened. Not only is all the technical wizardry there (9.2mm dynamic drivers for full sound plus noise isolating tech), but they're made from sustainable materials, in this case, FSC certified wood and recyclable aluminium. Fans rave about the level of comfort they give too. It sure beats handing over a gift voucher.
- Price: £14.99
- Age: 12+
- Made from sustainable materials
- Impressive sound quality
Best For Budding Artists
Watercolour Paint Set - Okonorm
These paints are a great ethical alternative to mainstream paints. There's made using highly concentrated plant extracts as well as food colouring and while they may look a little duller than their chemically derived counterparts once they're splashed on the page they're just as vibrant. The tin contains 12 watercolour disks, and the size means they're probably best for older kids who have more paintbrush control. It's possible to also buy refill disks when needed, so your tin can last indefinitely.
- Price: £16.95
- Age: 3+
- Plant-based paints
Best For Fashion Lovers
V-10 Trainers - VEJA
Looking good doesn't have to mean compromising your ethics – as these trainers demonstrate. They're made from organic cotton and recyclable materials and the company has sustainability and ethics right at the heart of everything they do. This is recycled gifts that you can guarantee won't disappoint kids come Christmas morning. These have a sporty look to them and simple good looks with lace-up fastening, coloured detailing and rubber sole.
- Price: £115
- Age: Size starts from adult size 3
- Organic cotton and recycled materials
- Ethical company
Best For The Bath
Green Toys Submarine Blue
If plastic bath toys make you shudder then you're going to love this submarine. This one is made from recycled plastic and is free from BPA, PVC, phthalates and has no external coatings that could be harmful. It's just right to keep kids occupied in the bath but can just as easily be taken in the paddling pool in the warmer months. There's a spinning propeller as well as a wide mouth for plenty of scoop and pour action.
- Price: £11.99
- Age: 6 months
- Made from recycled plastic
- Non toxic
Best For Teenagers
IPhone Case - Pela
You can't go far wrong with a new case for their mobile, however, this is a phone case with principles. The Pela phone cases are the world's first compostable cases. Made from plants they meet the necessary standards for compostability, so when it's time for a new case it can go on the compost heap or be returned to the company who'll do the composting for you. Despite this, it offers fantastic protection for phones, with flax acting as a natural shock absorber, and it's a sleek, lightweight design.
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top products for families of all ages. If you enjoyed our suggestions for the top sustainable Christmas gifts then take a look at our top wooden baby toys to buy or check out more festive essentials with these Christmas toy soldiers.
- Price: £26.40
- Age: 12+
- Compostable when you're finished
- Plastic-free packaging
The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.