Whether she’s 25 or 75, your mum is a special person in your life, and if she’s an eco-conscious mum, what better than a green gift to make her Yuletide extra special this year?
We’ve considered the normal female favourites like relaxing beauty treatments and luxurious chocolates, but we’ve also included some items that are a bit more unique and unusual too.
Chocolate is a treat for most people, and there are plenty of ethical options to choose from, including gift boxes of chocolates, chocolate selection boxes and individual bars you could use to make your own chocolate hamper. Whether you want locally sourced ingredients, British made, organic, fair trade or recycled packaging, you’re sure to find something to your taste.
Green and Black’s is probably the best known organic chocolate brand in the UK, available readily from smaller retailers and supermarkets alike. If you don’t want their classic bars of chocolate for your gift this Christmas, you can choose a tasting box with mini bars or their ‘Conversations’ box of mixed chocolates which has small chunks of dark, milk, white and butterscotch chocolate to enjoy alone or with friends.
Another organic chocolatier who began in Brighton is Montezuma’s. They don’t have fair trade certification but choose high quality chocolate that gives a higher return for producers, use organic ingredients and are committed to keeping packaging as sustainable as possible. Their range includes girlie boxes of truffles to floral flavoured chocolate gift boxes and bags of strawberry champagne truffles, giving you a choice of luxurious treats to put a smile on your mum’s face on Christmas morning.
If you need a dairy free, gluten free or vegan option, Booja-booja based in Norfolk make organic truffles by hand. From flavours like Banoffee Toffee to Hazelnut crunch, or a box of one of their collections, these could be an ideal way to wish your mum Happy Christmas.
Gift sets containing moisturisers, hand creams and body butters can be a lovely treat for a mother, especially as they’re often so busy looking after everybody else that they rarely get time to pamper themselves. From bath bombs and skin treatments from Lush, who never test on animals and use natural ingredients such as organic ingredients in their products, perfumes from L’Occitane who pride themselves on using high quality natural ingredients and respecting the environment and people they work with, or Neal’s Yard whose organic skin care products include a ‘Mother and Baby’ section, there are lots of options. Keep an eye on our reviews section for other items you might like to put together to create your own Christmas Beauty Hamper.
Top things to look out for when buying eco beauty products is organic oils and fragrances for a natural product; natural ingredients without parabens or chemical additives; recycled and/or recyclable packaging, preferably made from a sustainable source in the first place; no animal testing.
Candles come in all shapes, sizes, colours and scents and make excellent gifts. There are some steps you can take though to ensure you get an ethical candle that doesn’t have a huge carbon footprint. Some aspects to consider are the type of wick, such as ensuring that it is lead free, wax type – even though some candles are made from soy wax or palm oil the raw materials can be grown unsustainably, and the packaging the candles come in.
Kokoro in America and M&J based in London are two good companies to consider. M&J work with the World Land Trust and donate money from sales of their products to Eaves, a women’s charity based in London, as well as using 100% rainforest safe soya wax to make their candles. The glass jars their candles are made in also use recycled glass and can be used as drinks glasses after use.
If your mum has plenty of candles already, a pretty candle holder could be a good alternative. Many independent shops and crafts people make holders for candles using recycled, upcycled or sustainably sourced natural products. From glass to slate, old plates to candles made in old tea cups, browsing a vintage shop, market or craft fair can uncover all sorts of unique decorative gifts.
There are many treatments available that you could choose to give your mum some pampering time. Whether she spends a lot of time on her feet and could benefit from a pedicure, foot massage or reflexology, or would enjoy an Indian Head massage or session in an infra red cabin, gift vouchers are available from many independent beauty practitioners.
By supporting local independent beauticians and therapists, your gift is also helping keep small businesses going. Every customer makes a difference to an individual business person, and many people feel the personal service you receive can be more enjoyable too.
Independent craftspeople make all sorts of gifts made from all sorts of materials, so for an individual hand picked gift, browsing craft stalls, farmers markets and gift shops in the villages and towns around the UK can turn up some beautiful bespoke gifts. The hand made nature of many of these items also means no two are the same so you really can get a special something for your mum.
Wall hangings can be a pretty alternative to photographs and paintings in dining rooms, living rooms or bedrooms, and can be made from patchwork fabric or on canvas or metal backgrounds with inspirational quotes. Strings of pretty lights, wooden hearts, fabric bunting or stuffed animals can add a natural or rustic feel to a room, whilst local ceramicists can offer vases, bowls or small tokens that can be hung on a nail, pinned to the back of a bookcase or front of a shelf or tied to a cupboard door handle.
Creating memories can be a lovely alternative to a physical gift, and many mums appreciate having days out with the family. A lot of UK destinations offer vouchers and gift membership and you can often use gift aid too giving an extra donation if your chosen venue is a charity.
The National Trust offers gift membership and has places to visit all over the UK, including castles, gardens and stately homes, whilst independently run gardens and visitor attractions often have gift vouchers you can purchase and give to a loved one in a gift card or handmade card.
If your mum is a wildlife lover, you could choose something for her garden that helps encourage wildlife. Whether it’s a bird or bug house or home for a hedgehog (choose FSC or recycled wood products where possible for optimum eco points!), a bird feeder and tasty treats for garden birds or an IOU or seeds to enable her to plant flowers to attract butterflies, there are many options to help wildlife and create a more diverse garden to enjoy.
Most mums enjoy something sparkly and pretty for their jewellery box, and there are many types of accessories to choose from. To add an eco edge to your gift, choose fairly traded items available new from shops like Oxfam, who also have second hand jewellery available online, or through Traidcraft, who also sell bags and other excellent gift items.
Colourful ear rings, bracelets and necklaces can be found made from recycled materials such as glass and metal that has been melted down and formed into beautiful new items.
Another option is choosing a hand felted or recycled fabric corsage or bag charm which can be found in various independent shops and can be used to dress up a coat, jacket or bag.
Whether you’re at home in the kitchen or crafty with a needle and thread, most mums would agree that having a handmade gift is an extra special present to receive.
You could choose to make some chutney or special preserves in a pretty Kilner jar tied with Christmas themed ribbon; collect damsons or sloe berries and make your own flavoured spirits such as sloe gin or damson vodka; make a Christmas cake or biscuits such as Xmas themed shortbread or gingerbread in a hand decorated box or little bag, or even try your hand at some truffles or chocolates. Be sure to use free range eggs and the best ingredients you can find, such as organic flour and fair trade cocoa powder for a better flavour and more ethical bake.
If you prefer to be crafty, you could make your own gift from recycled fabrics, such as a cushion or sewing bag. Perhaps you have lots of photographs and want to make a memory book or scrap book showcasing a special event in the past year or want to create a photo book your mum can fill in with her own favourite photographs. Another option if you’re handy with knitting needles or can crochet is making a hat, scarf, handy bag or other item for her bedroom or living room. Let your creativity go wild!