Christmas gift guide: Christmas with a conscience
Friday 02 December 2011
Celebrate the season of peace and goodwill by choosing from these eco-friendly, fairly traded but stylish presents
From The Natural Store, a treasure trove of products for the home and all the family, comes this beautiful advent calendar that you can use every year. The Natural Store deals only with suppliers who operate on a Fair Trade basis, have high ethical values and minimise their impact on the environment. The calendar, on an organic cotton backing with wooden supports, is hand-embroidered with elephants, leaves and floral motifs in organic thread. It's made by a women's craft group in Calcutta, originally founded by Mother Teresa for destitute women. Fill the pockets with little chocolates or treats.
How much: £47.50
Where from: www.thenaturalstore.co.uk
Oxygene Silver Bracelet
Silver Chilli is an ethical and Fair Trade company run by a trio of Brits and a Mexican. They pump their profits back into small jewellery cooperatives in Mexico who make these beautiful pieces. Spoil your eco woman this year with the gift of a hand-made bracelet crafted from reclaimed silver with interlocking small and large loops. There is a matching set of earrings and a pendant, too, if you're feeling really generous – and your money will help to buy things like reading glasses for the talented silversmiths who make the jewellery, and to pay for their children to go to school.
How much: £37.50
Where from: www.silverchilli.com
Fairwind is a company driven by a passion for fair trading terms for all partners, plus concern for the environment. They believe in trade, not aid, and that ethical shopping can make lives better for millions of skilled artisans around the world. This colourful, geometric rug is inspired by Kandinsky, and its random shapes in muted shades of blue, mustard and green give it a modern style. It is made by a Fair Trade project in Kashmir that uses woollen threads hand-stitched onto a canvas backing; the profits help support its community. It can also be used as a wall decoration.
How much: £199.50
Where from: www.fairwindonline.com
Each of these bright and colourful animals – a crocodile, a tiger, a panda and a giraffe – is made from three jigsaw pieces which even tiny babies will love to look at. These Fair Trade toys are made by Traidcraft, a charity that has been fighting poverty through trade since 1979. Ethical Superstore offers a range of their food and drink, clothing, jewellery and crafts.
How much: £14.95
Where from: www.ethicalsuperstore.com
Keep your man stylish and support his eco credentials this Christmas with a beautifully made "man bag", which is big enough to take a laptop and more. Made from soft brown faux leather with faux suede details, it has a striped adjustable strap, a large inner compartment with an inner zipped pocket, a phone pocket, an external zipped pocket and soft textile lining.
How much: £50
Where from: www.bboheme.com
From fairly traded lingerie and interiors to organic skincare, recycled toys and handmade gifts, Love Eco searches for the best eco-friendly gifts for you and all the family. Mr & Mrs Birdee are a lovely pair of bird boxes designed to encourage small birds to nest in your garden, improving biodiversity and allowing you and your family to watch the robins, tits and wrens as they bring nestlings into the world. Made in the UK using wood from sustainably managed forests.
How much: £24.99
Where from: www.love-eco.co.uk
Pink Brenda the Chicken Doorstop
Buying vintage products for your home is an ethical choice and one which will make your home brighter, if you choose from ethical companies such as Love Eco. Brenda is a quirky chicken doorstop made in the UK from reclaimed vintage fabrics. Brenda arrives empty, so all you need to do is to fill her up with rice (organic of course) and you've got a practical doorstop. Each one is slightly different and you can also choose her friends Chrissy, George and Milly, as well as Purple Brenda. Why not give a home to a whole flock?
How much: £13
Where from: www.love-eco.co.uk
People Tree nightware
The Natural Collection brings together ethical, green and eco-friendly products in a huge range of categories including clothing, home and garden, electricals, groceries and beauty products. This set of pink polka dot nightware from People Tree is made with 100 per cent organic and Fair Trade certified cotton. With adjustable straps, bow detailing, and its own reusable matching drawstring bag, it makes a fantastic gift.
How much: £28
Where from: www.naturalcollection.com
Kids will be able to play at being fearless ice-fishers in the winter and keep cool on hot summer days inside this igloo kids' playhouse made in the UK from recycled cardboard. It is available in brown or white and can be decorated by the kids with paint, crayons or stickers, or left au naturel. It's suitable for indoors and out, and folds flat for storage. Ecocentric makes beautiful, ethical and eco-friendly products and its aims are to inform and offer you ethically sourced and well designed products.
How much: £42
Where from: www.crafts4kids.co.uk
Solar Transforming Robot
For boys of all ages, this cool robot is a three-in-one toy that needs no batteries – just the power of the sun. This sci-fi inspired toy gives a definite nod to an iconic 1980s cartoon and can be "transformed" from robot mode into a tank or a scorpion. Great for teaching how solar power works, it makes a fun, educational toy for anyone over eight. Nigel has been bringing practical, geeky and inspiring eco-friendly products to the UK for many years now and this friendly website is a great place to start making your life much greener.
How much: £12.95
Where from: www.nigelsecostore.com
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