Forgo the usual gifts this year. We’ve rounded up 10 eco-friendly and socially conscious gift ideas that will make meaningful gifts to both the people and the causes you care about.
1. For the friend who’s always hangry
Boxgreen, the online snack delivery service has got you covered. Their recently launched Limited Edition Christmas Box is available online or at Tangs Orchard Department Store. Each Christmas gift box comes with six creative spins on Christmas favourites featuring superfood ingredients! Our favourite is the Lemony Moringa Christmas Cake, a twist on the classic fruitcake.
Did we also mention that the snacks are nutritionist-approved, natural, and free of artificial flavours and colouring? Completely guilt-free! If you use the DBSXMAS promo code before 11:59 pm on 17 December 2018, you’ll get $5 off when you buy two boxes or $10 when you get three boxes. The promo code is only valid for the Limited Edition Christmas Gift Boxes bought on the boxgreen shop site, while stocks last.
We should also mention that Boxgreen is B Corp certified, a certification given to enterprises that are a force for good. Apart from sourcing sustainable ingredients and using recyclable packaging material, Boxgreen provides employment opportunities to socially disadvantaged individuals and donates one per cent of their proceeds to providing meals for the less privileged. That’s a cause you can stand behind year-round.
2. For the sweet tooth foodie
If it’s the discerning sweet tooth friend you’re looking to please, Beans to Bars is your answer. Importing only artisan chocolates, Beans to Bars has a careful selection process. Chocolates must be sustainable and handmade, using only premium cocoa. A large part of Beans to Bars is also its commitment to sourcing ethical and sustainable chocolates. Chocolatiers are only selected if they have purchased ethically sourced cocoa, directly from the farmer.
Of the many brands they carry, they import Krakakoa, an Indonesian small batch chocolate producer. Apart from sourcing their beans from small environmentally-friendly farms across the archipelago, all Krakakoa’s partner farmers must complete an 8 – 16-week workshop on good agricultural practices and sustainable farming methods. Act fast – if you buy them here before 16 December, you’ll get 20% off. We won’t tell!
3. For the coffee fuelled
If you’re shopping for a coffee lover, chances are they’re a bean nut. Working directly with micro-lot coffee farms, The Maks’ Coffee have ensured that the beans are sustainably sourced. With a strict focus on quality rather than quantity, their farmers only hand-pick ripe coffee cherries instead of machine harvesting.
For Christmas, The Maks Coffee have combined three flavours of coffee with three flavours of chocolate and put them into a beautiful Around the World Mini Christmas Hamper – perfect for gifting. Coffee beans originate from Papua New Guinea, El Salvador and Ethiopia. The Papuan beans are of particular interest as it shares similar attributes to Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans, one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. If three is too small a sample for your coffee guzzling friend, consider upsizing to six coffee beans!
4. For that workaholic friend
Yep. We all have one of those. The friend who’s constantly working or constantly thinking about work. The refreshing scent of the Uplifting Christmas Gift Set from Hush Candle is a foolproof gift for the workaholic. The unmistakable smell of lemongrass – clean, citrusy, refreshing – is perfect for slowing down and relaxing. All Uplifting Christmas sets include the Uplifting roll-on, a refreshing, zesty and herbaceous blend of Rosemary, Bergamot and Sweet orange for a quick boost on the go.
Apart from the Uplifting Christmas Gift Set, Hush Candle has Comforting, Detoxifying, and Awakening Gift sets, among other Christmas gifts. These environmentally friendly candles only use natural soy wax and essential oils, as opposed to paraffin wax and artificial scents. Unlike paraffin, soy is an environmentally cleaner alternative because it’s all natural. In fact, all Hush Candle products are 100% natural, with no chemicals or synthetics. Even their wicks are lead-free!
5. For the jet-setter in your life
The worst part of flying is arriving at your destination dehydrated. Completely travel-friendly, nothing from the Utama Spice Weekend Travel Set is more than 100ml in size. The Weekend Travel Set includes a hydrating seaweed gel-based body mist to spritz on before you board, the Supa Dupa multi-purpose cleaning and fragrancing spray to freshen up the plane seat, and the virgin coconut oil to sloth off your make up before the flight.
Utama Spice’s entire beauty range is 100% natural. Going back to basics, their ingredients list for most of their products is concise and without the nasty stuff like parabens, sulphates, chemical binding agents, artificial fragrances or colourings. Made in Bali, Utama Spice is made according to Tri Hita Karana practices.
6. For the friend who’s always tired
We spend one-third of our life asleep. So, it’s probably a good idea to get good sheets to tuck yourself into. And SOJAO definitely delivers. Their luxurious bedsheets go beyond the 300 single-ply thread count. They also last longer than the regular stuff you buy. Their sheets use long-staple cotton, which means it will fray less and wrinkle less than shorter-staple counterparts.
If that hasn’t convinced you, then the velvety soft organic cotton sheets will. They are 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton grown from non-GMO seeds without the use of synthetic pesticides. The GOTS certification also means that SOJAO adopts fair trade practices throughout the entire supply chain, so you know that there is no labour exploitation – no child labour, fair wages and a safe workplace. Now you can truly sleep in peace!
7. For the well-groomed man
All men – young and old – do this on a frequent basis, so if you’re after a gift for your boyfriend, husband, dad or grandpa, a solid razor is both thoughtful and functional. Available exclusively to The Social Space, a socially conscious multi-concept store, the Duck Saves Earth eco-friendly double-edge safety razor is a great alternative to the plastic disposable razors they may be currently using.
Shockingly, over 2 billion disposable razors are tossed out every year. Made with sustainable materials, the Duck Saves Earth double-edge safety razor has a bamboo handle and stainless-steel parts. Even though this is probably the most old-school way of shaving, its double-edge blades last longer than the regular disposables. When you buy it at The Social Space, you might as well grab a Spice Chai the Tea Bar & Café, a fair-trade retail area, or get your nails done by The Nail Social, a socially conscious salon.
8. For the little one
We didn’t forget the little bubs and tots! Shopping for the little one can be just as socially conscious too. Inspired by tropical Singapore, Hunter+Boo produces beautiful, playful, ethically-made kids wear. While the designs are created in Singapore, the pieces are made in Sri Lanka. Like SOJAO, Hunter+Boo’s clothing is also 100% GOTS certified. Additionally, their manufacturing partner carries the Garments Without Guilt (GWG) accreditation – a benchmark that ensures that all their products adhere to ethical and sustainable principles.
The stylish cotton v-neck short rompers feature an unexpected crossover design at the back. Apart from being fashion forward, Hunter+Boo rompers have kept in mind the difficulties of dressing a child. With gently elasticated bands and baby-friendly fastenings at the crotch, the romper is designed to be put on and taken off a wriggling child with ease.
The romper comes in several prints, including the brand’s best-selling Palawan print and is available in seven sizes from newborn to two-year-olds. If the romper does not tickle your fancy, Hunter+Boo also makes bibs, tops, dresses, shorts, jumpsuits, pants, and sleepsuits.
9. For the gardener
There is a new way of sending flowers. left-handesign, an ethical stationery and giftware store, recently launched their “plantable” series. Yes, you heard right. When the stationery has reached the end of its life, it can be planted in a pot of soil. The seeds grow into tomato, chilli, marigold, tulsi (Indian basil), spinach or okra. The series include pencils, pens and notebooks. Their notebooks are designed in Singapore and printed on biodegradable eco-paper, which composts as the seeds grow.
A portion of the proceeds from left-handesign’s plantable series supports Evolve Foundation, a social enterprise in North India. It benefits organic farmers and rural women, with part of the proceeds going to the village school. Interestingly, if you make a minimum purchase of $30 at left-handesign, a tree will be planted in your name. You even get a nifty E-Tree Certificate with all the details of your tree. What’s better than a gift that has a lasting impact on the environment long after you’re gone?
10. For the hostess with the mostest
A Christmas toast is hardly a toast without Champagne. If you’re looking to bring a bottle to a Christmas party, Sparkle stocks organic wines and Champagnes. Of special mention is the Quintessence 2005 Premier Cru from Lelarge-Pugeot, an eighth-generation winery in the Champagne village of Vrigny. The award-winning Champagne has been aged for eight years in the traditional underground cellars of the estate and described to have elegant, flowery and yellow fruits notes.
Like Lelarge-Pugeot, most of the wines and Champagnes that Sparkle imports to Asia are made organically or biodynamically, and carry Demeter and ECOCERT accreditations, a label given to wineries who follow strict environmental requirements. Who knew you can be kind to the environment by drinking Champagne?
For more stories on the small yet significant ways in which you can live kinder, click here.