Christmas is such a lovely, wonderful time, and I love gifting things to my my family and friends, and I find I get inspiration from so many places, which is why I wanted to create a gift guide for Christmas 2019. Unfortunately, Christmas also creates a lot of waste - in the UK alone, we produce nearly 100 million tonnes of waste, including enough wrapping paper to go round the equator 9 times! So, I thought I'd use my platform to create an eco-friendly version of your usual gift guide, to encourage environmentally friendly buying through independent retailers. It's important to remember this time of year that shopping independent is helping to support families and businesses all over the UK - by shopping independent, you're not fuelling the pocket of a CEO of a huge corporation, you're helping to fund a family's Christmas dinner and presents, and their ability to close their business for a couple of days to visit their families.

There are various places that you can buy cruelty-free and sustainable beauty and skincare. If you're looking for something on the high street, Lush and the Body Shop are good options as they're both cruelty free and vegan, and they both also participate in recycling schemes, which help the environment. In terms of indepdendent shops and businesses, Soap Daze Devon sell lovely, vegan, sustainable gift sets with face cloths, soaps, deodorants and other nice bits with beautiful scents such as frankincense, patchouli, oatmylk, lavender and mandarin and ginger. Scence skin care sell individual items and gift boxes with lip balms, moisturisers and hand balms with decent pricing, and they're very eco friendly, use reusable packaging, are vegan and paraben, aluminium and plastic free. I also have these reuseable face pads from etsy and I would recommend them to anyone as a gift; they're great quality, and a very good price and you can even choose what fabric they're made of and they come in a little bag!

Day-to-day reusables make great gifts as they're often something they don't think to buy themselves and they do a little bit to help the environment! This elephant lunchbox is perfect for meals on the go, and works perfectly with this reusable cutlery set, which even comes in a perfect little carrier. I have this Built NY thermos (I generally don't support amazon, but Built NYs website doesn't currently work) and would highly recommend as it can be used to keep drinks hot or cold! I've had it since August 2018, and use it at least once a week and it still looks great and works perfectly. An alternative might a keep cup, I've never owned one, but I've heard nothing but great things about them, and they're a great idea for keeping coffees, teas and various other hot substances warm on the morning commute - I LOVE this pink colour, but they do a variety, and you can even design your own!

Through WWF's website, you can adopt an animal for yourself, or on behalf of another for as little as £3 a month. My boyfriend (Sam you better not be reading this) is absolutely aquatic animal obsessed, and so I've adopted a turtle on his behalf for Christmas this year. I'm currently a very poor uni student, and so I'd prefer to make my money go further by paying for something monthly, whilst still doing some good for the world, and for the price equivalent it would barely buy m a tiny little something that he probably wouldn't even look at. In the welcome kit, you get a cuddly toy (although this is optional if you want your donation to go further) and a fact pack, and you'll get regular updates about your adopted animal. What's happening to our planet and the animals in it is so concerning, so why not spend your money on something that'll make a difference to the planet this Christmas?

If you can't think of something material that you would want to give to someone, or it's for a friend that you don't see that often, it may be a better idea to go for a meal or do an experience with them. These are great ways to spend quality time with your friends and loved ones and reduce the amount of material waste you create. Going to the cinema and for some food is one idea, or if you live in a city, an air bnb experience (like this one of learning to make an authentic sourdough pizza) or other similar kind of thing is a great idea! It could be cocktail making or pottery or an art tour, and can easily be tailored around your common interests!

I think one of the most eco friendly things to do is just to buy your family or friends what they ask for, or something you know they'll definitely use! In my opinion, it reduces the risk of your present being thrown away. You may think they'll love anything you buy them, but if you're worried, its much easier to know that they'll actually use and enjoy whatever you get them, rather than it just sitting gathering dust in a cupboard or being thrown away. A good example might be nice tea/ coffee/ hot chocolate that you know they'll drink but wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves, a book they've had their eye on or if you're looking for something to spend slightly more money on a coat/ pair of shoes they've been dreaming about.

What will you be getting your friends and family this year to try and have an eco-friendly Christmas?

All my love,

Em x

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