One thing I really don’t like about Stockholm (or any other big city) is the stressed out mentality. People are always running (never walking), they’re always on their phones talking to someone or catching up on the emails, they’re always in a hurry and they are always working. This is why we live outside the city, so that we don’t have to deal with all this every day. But, once in a while you have to go into town to run some errands, have meetings or like now, buy a couple of Christmas gifts. When you visit Stockholm city a couple of weeks before Christmas, it’s even more stressful than usual. People are running around like crazy, shopping like there’s no tomorrow and all I want to do is go back home.
I’m not a big fan of presents, but I love to give things to people I love. Things I know they’ll appreciate or things I know they need, like a new perfume or a great body lotion. Whenever possible, I try to support small brands that are sustainable and make products of great quality. Since I’m addicted to planning and writing lists, I start my gift planning early. It has happened that I’ve had a gift idea ready in July. Just saying. Whenever I hear someone say they like something or they need something, I write it down and when Christmas is coming I have a few ideas to pick from. By doing this I don’t have to be stressed out two weeks before Christmas because I have no idea what to give. Planning your gifts in advance also makes it possible to avoid buying useless stuff for the sake of ”just having something to give”. I rather don’t give anything at all than give something that has no thought behind it.
Let’s be honest here, most of us have everything that we need. In fact, we have a lot more than we need. It’s not that we need more stuff. Meanwhile, people are suffering, animals are suffering and the entire planet is suffering. Consumption only make these problems worse, so buying stuff we and others don’t need is just completely insane. I’m not saying that we should stop consuming, but everyone can take more responsibility, think their purchases through and stop buying things they don’t need. I also believe that we all can make more sustainable choices when we decide to buy something. We can buy vintage, or choose sustainable materials. We can stop supporting fast fashion, products containing harmful ingredients and we can support local businesses that don’t exploit people, animals or destroy the planet with their greenhouse gas emissions.
So, for a stress-free, more sustainable, and happier Christmas, I’ve put together a little gift guide with a few brands and products that I think make great gifts. I’m not being sponsored by any of these companies, I just genuinely love them and what they do. So, merry sustainable Christmas to all of you, and remember to spend time with friends and family - it’s so much more important than spending money on things.
Candles from The Happy Whale
My dear fellow vegan food blogger and friend Maggie, aka Maggies Skafferi, runs her own little candle shop. The candles smell amazing and I just love the bossy text messages on them. The candles are made from sustainable, 100 % natural wax and are non-toxic, hand-crafted and vegan. Love them! You can find the candles in her shop, The Happy Whale.
Recycled Jewelry from Wild & Arrow
I guess everyone appreciates a nice piece of jewelry every now and then. Wild & Arrow makes the most wonderful jewelry and also sells bags, prints and other stuff. I love the simple design and the fact that they use recycled materials for their products. Lots of great gifts can be found here.
Beauty products are among my favorite things to give. Give someone a lovely shampoo, a face mask, makeup, nail polishes or a wonderful body lotion. Some of my favorite organic/natural brands are Bruns for hair care, RMS Beauty for makeup, Little Ondine, Lacqua and Kure Bazaar for non-toxic nail polish, Hynt Beauty for makeup, Estelle & Thild for beauty products, Herbivore Botanicals for skincare products, and Washologi for wonderful laundry products (yes, it’s a nice gift).
A book is always a nice gift and I always give away at least one book for Christmas. I usually also get a few books myself and since I’m a real foodie I love to both give away and receive cook books. On my wish list this year is the new vegan cookbook by Therese Elgquist - The New Green Protein. If you don’t want to give away cookbooks, maybe a biography about an inspiring person, a creepy thriller or a chick-lit could do the trick? On my wish list this year is also the new biography by Michelle Obama.
Sustainable Phone cases
I’m planning on giving one of these phone cases to myself for Christmas. They are 100% compostable and totally eco-friendly. The company, Pela, also donates money to organizations working to save the planet, which I think is awesome. You can find the cases here.
Give away something edible! Make it yourself or buy a nice salt, pepper, spices or maybe some tasty sauces or spreads - or candy? Just make sure it’s great quality and make sure it’s a nice packaging (we’re not talking about food from your local supermarket here). Last year we put a nice salt + cloves in a gift and it was indeed much appreciated. It’s usable and not yet another meaningless thingy that you don’t want.
For some DIY edible gifts, my favorite fellow blogger Linda Lomelino has a recipe for flavored sugar, edible gifts in jars, and home made chai concentrate. I’m gonna share a recipe for Christmas granola this week, which also works as an edible gift, so stay tuned for that.
Support an organization
Instead of giving away things, help someone else. There are so many great organizations out there that you can support. Buy someone a membership, or why not buy a book, bracelet or a print that is sold by an organization and help support their work? We’ve been doing this several times, and it’s always an appreciated gift. One of my favorites is 4Ocean, an organization that cleans the oceans from plastic. By buying one of their bracelets you’ll remove one pound of trash from the oceans. How great?
Online shops I love
Softskin.se - for vegan, natural and organic beauty products
Thrive Store - sustainable clothes and accessories
Lapland Ecostore - organic products for you and your home
Ecosphere - another organic shop with lots of lovely products